Music education helps students to develop brain development, physical coordination and emotional regulation. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for the public to see this work in action.
Take over the school announcements with a fun music fact or song each day. Create a “Ways Music Effects Me” list that students can guess at – collect them in a coffee can or online.
What is MIOSM?
Music Education Month is an annual national celebration established by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) to showcase and celebrate students and teachers, as well as highlight the many benefits of a high-quality music education program. NAfME’s 52 federated state music education associations play an active role in the observance, securing governors’ proclamations and enlisting support from local elected officials and community organizations.
Empower your students by having them write about what music means to them and display the responses on a bulletin board. Alternatively, ask them to list ways in which music impacts their daily lives and compare their lists with each other.
Invite parents to your class and have them help with music education activities, such as leading warm-ups or songs. Having them participate gives them the opportunity to see what their children are learning in school and reinforces how music is part of all subjects, not just math and science. You could even have older music students lead their younger peers and create a student-led chorus or instrumental ensemble.
In schools throughout the United States and beyond, music educators and students are celebrating this year’s theme – “Music Changes Lives” – by demonstrating how their quality school music programs transform the lives of their students. From music education concerts in the classroom, community or even at the state capitol to visits with legislators and requests for funding, music educators are highlighting the value of their program through their communities.
For many students, parents, and community members, the impact of music education is not apparent through the months of practice and rehearsal that precede the performances in concert halls, schools, civic buildings, churches, libraries, parks and malls. MIOSM offers the perfect opportunity for music teachers to bring their programs to the attention of their schools and communities and display the wealth of extraordinary benefits that music education provides.
NAfME has developed a variety of free resources that music educators can use in their celebrations. This includes lesson plans, teaching aims and objectives, musical connections to the National Core Arts Standards, worksheets, and more for 20 songs.
Many music teachers use this month to offer special performances, lessons, sing-alongs, and activities designed to bring their music programs to the attention of administrators, parents, colleagues, and communities, and to display the positive benefits that school-based music education brings to students of all ages. NAfME provides special resources to support these efforts.
One idea is to have students list ways that music is a part of their lives. Then, have them compare lists with friends and family members.
Another great activity is to have older students mentor younger students. For example, 4th-grade students can lead a “song tale” for 1st-grade class, or 8th-graders could lead warm-ups with the 6th-grade band.
Also, it is a great time to host a community concert by local college groups or a community chorus or orchestra. This can be an opportunity to show students how talented they are, and to teach them concert etiquette. Some schools also present faculty with MIOSM buttons and ask them to wear them every day during March.
Music education advocates are essential to ensuring access to a quality music program for every child. Advocacy isn’t only about educating legislators and board of education members, but also involves proactively reaching out to community leaders and the media to promote the importance of music in schools.
Many music educators become advocates by regularly promoting their programs to administrators, parents, colleagues, and community groups and by offering special concerts and performances that display the benefits of a quality school music program. NAfME has a wealth of resources to help with your advocacy efforts, including press release templates, meeting presentations and sample advocacy letters that you can adapt to your local situation.
NAfME’s federated state music education associations play an important role in observing MIOSM by securing governor proclamations, enlisting support from chief state school officers and establishing organizational structures to reach individual music educators. Additionally, NAfME and its partners in the Congressional Caucus on Arts, Education and Youth (CCAEY) host a virtual MIOSM Hill Day that provides an opportunity to share why music education is important with federal representatives.