Tag Archive: advocacy


For those of you that have not heard or are confused MENC is in Round 2 of voting in the Chase Community Giving Campaign!! Thanks to you MENC was one of the top 100 charities in round 1 and won $25,000. Now they moved on to the 2nd round. At the end of the voting the charity with the top number of votes will win $500,000. In order to make this happen, this is where YOU come in.

How You Can Help

In order for MENC to win you must vote. It is extremely easy and takes less than 30 seconds of your time. Whether or not you have voted in the 1st round PLEASE VOTE!!! All you have to do is

  • Click on this link
  • Like Chase Community Giving (if you haven’t already)
  • Vote for MENC
Now, that was simple, but can have a HUGE impact on music education worldwide. If you want more information on the campaign or would like to follow the campaign on Twitter check out the links below.

Why Should I Vote?

In order to move on to the second round of voting each charity had to have a “Big Idea” explaining how they would spend the $500,000. MENC has some wonderful ideas on how they will help music education with the money. Here are MENC’s Big Ideas:
“Creativity, discipline, teamwork – just a few of the life-long benefits of music study. But kids across the country are losing access to music as school programs are cut back or eliminated. The most affected are those who need it most – kids in underserved communities. Your vote can make a difference for millions of kids. MENC will use $150,000 to provide 100 grants of $1000 -$2500 to school music programs in underserved areas to help students achieve success through music. We will use $150,000 to develop resources and to provide training to help teachers build music programs with strong foundations and to help those whose programs are facing budget cuts. We will use $200,000 for a national web/social media campaign to encourage kids to study music and others to support school music programs – featuring stories of teachers and students in programs that have received grants- to show what is at risk and what stands to be gained. Our BIG IDEA: The study and making of music by all!”
MENC’s mission is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making music by all. Wining this campaign would help them to continue to fulfill this mission.

Help Make the Campaign Go Viral!!

Taking the time to vote is the first step, but to help MENC win the campaign we need to make it go VIRAL! This is where the real challenge begins. After you have voted, get at least 10 or 15 of your Facebook friends to vote in the Chase Community Giving Campaign!! 
  • Post about the campaign on yours and your friends walls
  • Message your friends and tell them why to vote for MENC
  • Invite all of your friends and challenge them to invite their friends to the Facebook event Vote for MENC in the Chase Community Giving Project
Also share this video that MENC created about their “Big Idea” with all of your friends.

Do Your Part and Help Music Education

Please don’t wait, get involved in the MENC Chase Giveaway RIGHT NOW!! It only takes one click and a few seconds to help music education! With over 70,000 MENC members getting enough votes to win should not be a problem. Please help spread the word. Right now MENC is in 41st place with less than 900 votes (the first place charity has over 6,00 votes!!!). In order for MENC to have a chance at winning they need YOU to vote and spread the word. Write a blog post, share it on Facebook and Twitter. DO whatever it takes to help make this go viral. Even non music educators can still vote and help music education. We all know the state of music education in our country is grim, so please help spread the word and win one for music education!!
Check out these other blog posts for more information:
MusTech.net-Dr. Joseph Pisano
FutureMusicEducators– Andrew Ritenour
MusicEdMajor– Andy Zweibel and Andrew Ritenour

“Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.”- Orrin Hatch

Where have the past 4 years gone? It seems like just yesterday I started college and began my journey towards becoming a music educator and now just a few days ago I walked across the stage and received my Bachelors of music degree. Now after a short four years I am finally ready to do what I truly have a passion for; teaching music. While the past four years have definitely been a challenge I have learned and grown more as future educator than I ever could have imagined. When I began this journey I never thought I would get to the point I am at now. Also, I never realized the opportunities that I would be given as an undergraduate especially at a small college. Through this journey I have found that whatever you put into your four years as an undergraduate is what you will get out of it. Over the past few days I have reflected upon my undergraduate experience and what I have learned throughout the past four years of my life. Below is some advice I would give to all music education undergraduates, regardless of your year, to help you make the most out of the college experience.

Advice for a Successful Undergraduate Career

  1. Take Advantage of Every Opportunity- I have found that it is extremely important to take advantage of every single opportunity that is given to you whether large or small. You never know when an opportunity could turn into something big. Also these opportunities help you to begin building your résumé and experiences. For example last year I was given the opportunity to be one of 15 Grove City College students to participate in the second ever #MusEdChat. I took advantage of this opportunity and because of that have gotten highly involved in the music professional learning network and the twitter network. Also without this opportunity I would have never started this blog. Taking advantage of these types of opportunities will help to shape you into the music educator that you want to become.
  2. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute-Many times I hear undergraduates pass up opportunities or don’t go to workshops because they say “I have time I am only an underclassman.” One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is to get involved now. Don’t wait until your junior and senior year to start getting involved and taking advantage of opportunities because then it may be too late. It is never to early to start getting involved and start learning. One of my advisors always says “This is your profession (music education) so why wouldn’t you want to get involved from the start.” This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take advantage of opportunities towards the end of your undergraduate career, but you don’t have to wait until then to start.
  3. Enjoy Every Moment-  Enjoy every moment of this journey because it will fly by and be over before you can imagine. Being a music education major is very hard and challenging in many ways, but it is also an amazing experience. There will be days where you won’t enjoy everything you are doing, but make the most out of every moment and realize that each challenge you are face with is helping you to become a better educator. Enjoy every moment and take advantage of all the opportunities given to you during your undergraduate career, but don’t see this as the end. So many people have told me not to look forward to graduation because after that you just enter the ‘real world’.  Instead, I can’t wait to begin teaching so I can put to use what I have all ready learned and continue to learn more.
  4. Cherish Your Friendships-I know this sounds cheesy, but I honestly can say that the friendships you will make during your 4 years in college will be life-long friendships. The friendships I have made mean so much to me and I am so thankful for them. Also friends are great to go to for advice and pointers. There were countless times throughout my undergraduate career where I would go to my friends to ask them their opinion, seek advice, ask questions, or even just to talk. As I said being a music education major is a challenge so it is very important to have a strong group of friends that you can go to when times get rough.
  5. Get a Diversity of Experiences- We all have preferences of what we would like to teach when we finally graduate, but as music educators we are certified K-12. I have heard many music education undergraduates say ” I want to be a band director so choral conducting doesn’t apply to me” or something similar. I get very annoyed when I hear this because I believe we should learn as much about our profession as possible so we can be a well-rounded music educator. For example if you are an instrumentalist you should also be in a choir, observe general music classes, learn piano, and get comfortable singing. We never know where we may end up or what we may end up teaching. I have heard many stories of educators getting their first job in the area they wanted to teach the least. If we get as much experience as possible in all areas now it will make our transition into teaching easier. I also believe it is important for current educators to stay informed in the areas they aren’t teaching because you never know when your district may change your position. See my past posts Importance of Learning Secondary Instruments and I don’t Sing I am a band Director to read more of my ideas on this subject.
  6. Don’t View Anything as Pointless- Many times I have heard music undergraduates say the phrase “this is pointless” or “I am never going to use this information again.” I will admit I often caught myself saying the same things. I know there are many non-major classes we are required to take are many times pointless, but I have heard these phrases said for music classes such as solfeggio, guitar, piano, or education classes such as educational psychology. I have now learned that classes like these are not pointless and will once come in handy even if it doesn’t seem like it now. For example last year at one of my observation the teacher I observed talked about and asked me a lot of theorists such as Gardner and Vygotsky. She also asked me to play warm-ups for her elementary choir on the spot. This is when I realized that no music or education courses are pointless, it just make take a while till you need to use them.
  7. Your GPA Isn’t Everything–  Grades are important and you need to always try to do your best, but I believe it is necessary for all undergraduates to realize that there other things that are also important. Just because we get one bad grade or have a bad semester doesn’t mean that we can’t be a good teacher. Instead of putting so much focus on our grades we need to put emphasis on doing our best and taking advantage of every opportunity we are given to help us become the best teacher possible.
  8. Always Have the Eyes of a Teacher- Throughout your undergraduate experience start to try and look at everything with the eye of a teacher instead of the eye of a student. It is important to begin changing your viewpoint as this will help to make your transition into student teaching much easier. For example when sitting in an ensemble rehearsal pay more attention to what the director does and how they handle different situations. Also begin to think how you would handle the situation if you were in the directors shoes.
  9. Soak Up Everything- The field of music education has so much information and as I said before a lot of it at times seems useless. As music education undergraduates we need to be sponges and absorb all the information we can so that one day when we need it we have it to reference. We can soak up all the information that is given to us daily by being attentive, taking notes, keeping handouts for future reference, and being an active participant not just an observer. The more information we acquire now as an undergraduate will help to make the transition from student to teacher a little easier.
  10. Professional Development- Even as an undergraduate it is never too early to start attending professional development events and workshops. Professional development events help undergraduates learn more information to help them become better educators. Joining organizations such as MENC and PMEA and attending events such as state workshops, Music Education Week, and the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic are some great examples of professional development. Many of the organizations and events also have workshops specifically geared for music education undergraduates which can help you better prepare for student teaching and your first teaching job.
  11. Save Everything- If you are like me throughout your undergraduate career you will receive so many papers and think that you will never need them again, but then one day 4 years done the road you will remember that a certain professor gave you a specific handout and you wish you could find it. I recommend to save anything that is pertinent to music education because you never know when it may be helpful. There were many times during student teaching where I pulled resources from many of my classes and was very glad that I saved them. My suggestion is to find a way of organizing that works for you and file all of your college papers into categories for quick reference in the future.
  12. Networking- All music education majors should begin to create a professional learning network during their undergraduate career. Network and collaboration are great way to gain knowledge and ask for advice from current educators. In today’s society networking is made simple through means such as Twitter,#MusEdChat, and MPLN.
  13. Advocacy- As undergraduates we don’t really see ourselves as advocates, but I believe that it is never too early to being advocating for music education, especially in today’s society. As music educators we will all have to be advocates at one point or another so we might as well start now. Even just learning about advocacy or spreading the word about the importance of music education is a great way to start. Check out my advocacy page for some great resources of how to get started.
  14. Make Mistakes- Teaching music is a very challenging job and there are is a lot for us to learn. I have learned that making mistakes is a good thing and that we should not be afraid to make them. Making mistakes helps us learn and shows us what we need to work to improve. I believe that some of the best educators are ones that aren’t afraid to make mistakes and then work towards fixing those mistakes.
  15. Never Stop Learning- I believe that as a teacher we should never stop learning even after we get our undergraduate degree. With the profession of education there is something that we can always be learning and trying in our classrooms. Use your undergraduate career to set you up for life long learning. One of my music professors always says “The day that we quit learning we should get out of the profession of education. As teachers we should be learning something new every single day.”

Being a music education major is definitely an amazing, but challenging experience just like the profession of teaching. My four years of college definitely changed my viewpoint on a lot of issues and helped me to find out who I am as an educator. I believe the biggest piece of advice I can give is to take advantage of every single opportunity that is given to you. This is the time to learn and grow as a future educator so don’t be afraid to take advantage of what you are given whether big or small because you never know where it may lead you in the future. While it may not seem like it now your undergraduate career will fly by and before you know it you will be like me, just graduated and reflecting on your undergraduate career. While I know everyone’s undergraduate experience is much different I hope the above tips and advice help you to have a wonderful undergraduate experience like mine. While I am writing this post as advice for undergraduates I also believe that a lot of the above ideas can be applied to other situations and can help music teachers of all ages. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions from your undergraduate experience or from your experience as an educator.

Every year in April I look forward to attending the PMEA State conference. This is my 5th year attending the conference either as a performer or future educator, and as always it did not disappoint. As usual the PMEA State conference which was held in Hersey PA from April 13th-16th was a success and provided attendees with countless amounts of invaluable information. I had an amazing time, learned a lot of information, and made a few connections with other music educators. Below is a review of some of the highlights from the event. Sorry that this review is coming so late, but with the end of student teaching everything got very hectic.

PMEA Live Blogs-

I was very honored to be a part of a five member team made up of Grove City College junior and senior education majors who live-blogged the conference. We live blogged a majority of the sessions that were offered at the conference and shared our experiences on Twitter. The live-blogs are currently in replay mode, so you can go back and read through our session notes for the sessions that interest you. You can find the live blogs on FutureMusicEucator.net. Overall, we felt the live-blogging was a great success and was a good way to help make the conference more web 2.0. It was a successful way to show how web 2.0 can be integrated into professional development. Again I want to thank Dr. Joseph Pisano and Grove City College for making this event possible!!

Informative Sessions-

As always there was a range of sessions offered at the conference. Everything from jazz, special education, band, orchestra, choir, general music, conducting, etc. was represented. As a future music teacher each year I try to attend as many sessions as  possible that cover a lot of areas so that I so that I receive a wealth of knowledge. My goal for PMEA every year is to be a sponge and soak up as much information as possible. Below are the sessions that I attend this year. Check out my live blog here to read about the sessions.

  • Selecting A Music Theory Textbook: A Guide for High School Teachers
  • Performance Practice in the Music Classroom
  • Beyond the Book: Making Music Visible
  • Jazz Workshop for Music Educators
  • Listening Journals in Middle School General Music
  • Orff Schulwerk: A Winning Way
  • Transfer of Learning: Students Can Perform the Sforzando Every Time
  • Quality Tried and Trued: Choral Repertoire for Singers of All Ages
  • Inclusion! Rethinking Success in the Music Classroom
  • Going Global: Google Earth as a Tool for Teaching World Music

Concerts-

There were also many impressive concerts for the attendees to listen to an learn from. Among them were jazz ensembles, saxophone quartets, wind ensembles etc. Unfortunately due to our rigorous live blogging schedule I was not able to attend many of the concerts, but I did attend the West Chester University Wind Ensemble directed by Andrew Yozviak, which was very impressive. Also Thursday evening of the conference I had the privilege to attend  a performance by “Pershing’s Own” US Army Band and the US Army Chorus. Excellent performers as well as entertainers these two service groups left the audience smiling the entire concert.

Advocacy-

One of the overarching themes this year at PMEA was advocacy due to all the budget cuts that are taking place. As music educators advocacy is a term we hear often, but we often don’t do anything about it. Now more than ever we need to be proactive and begin advocating for our programs and to save music education in schools. It is not enough to just talk about advocacy with other music educators. We know the importance of music education. It is our job to advocate to the people in charge such as administration, school boards, and the government and let them know how important music is to our students. We have to fight for what we love and know is invaluable, and we have to do it now.
While at PMEA I got the opportunity to participate in an amazing music advocacy event. As past, present and future musicians, PMEA 2011 attendees gathered to sing “The Awakening” to advocate for music education in our schools, This was one of the most emotional musical experiences that I have been apart of. Now it is our job to spread this video and help to raise awareness of the job cuts that are happening and to help save the music!! Please share this video wherever you can and HELP MUSIC LIVE!!! 

Final Thoughts

Every year I leave PMEA refreshed and even more excited about music and teaching. Being surrounded by hundreds of music educators, who truly have a passion for music for two days is an absolutely amazing experience. If you have never had the opportunity to attend PMEA State Conference I urge you to attend next year. It will  be a life-changing experience!! Stay tuned for more updates and recaps based off of the sessions that I attended at PMEA 2011!!

“From these considerations therefore it is plain that music has the power of producing a certain effect on the ethos of the soul, and if it has the power to do this, it is clear that the young must be directed to music and must be educated in it.” – Aristotle

Why the Need for Advocacy?

As teachers or future teachers we are all familiar with terms such as PSSA’s, Standardized Testing, No Child Left Behind, and Adequate Yearly Progress. Since there is such a strong push for standardized testing in today’s educational system, and music is not a tested subject, it often gets pushed to the side or even worse gets cut all together. As music educators we know the extreme importance of music education in schools so it is our duty and responsibility to begin being proactive and start advocating.  Even as undergraduates it is never too early to being advocating. We are going to have to deal with this issue of advocacy first-hand when we begin teaching so we should be learning about all the resources available to help advocate the importance of music education in schools now. As music educators we can’t just sit back and wait for other people to advocate for us. It is our job to advocate and show the necessity of music education. In a perfect world there would be no need for advocacy, but as we all know we are not in a perfect world so there is an extremely high need for music education advocacy. Advocacy has always been important and necessary, but I believe that with the state of today’s educational system is more necessary than ever before. Below are some websites and videos that music educators can use to help advocate the necessity of music education.

Advocacy Websites:

  1. MENC Advocacy PageThis is a great page filled with advocacy resources. MENC offers plenty of resources for music educators to help them advocate for music education. There are plenty of letters, posters, brochures etc. that can help us as music educators show why music education in schools is absolutely necessary.
  2. VH1 Save the MusicVH1 does a great service to music through their Save the Music Program. This page has a ton of resources for music educators including an advocacy toolkit, research about music education, how to be proactive instead of reactive, and 25 advocacy suggestions for teachers and community members.
  3. Support MusicA great advocacy resource by NAMM and MENC. Provides tools such as posters and brochures to help gain support for music education. Also includes some resources on retention and how to keep students in our ensembles, which is a part of advocacy.
  4. Music Education Online A great resource from the Children’s Music Workshop. Full of statistics, quotes, and an entire archive of great music education advocacy articles. These articles are great for showing administrators, school boards, parents, and community members when trying to advocate for music education in schools.
  5. School Music MattersA great resource center for music education advocacy. Includes facts and quotations about the importance of music education. Also includes many links to many other great music education advocacy sites.

Advocacy Videos

1. Why Music Matters- Jack Stamp

2. Teach Music and You Won’t Have to Sell it- Frank Battisti

3. Art and Music Education- Mike Huckabee

4. The Case for Music Education

5. Music Advocacy

Don’t Wait Until it’s too Late

Advocacy is something that we need to start putting more effort into before it is too late. Once music programs are cut or being phased away it is too late. Unfortunately once a program begins to diminish it is very hard to restore it to its original state. I have heard many music educators say “I will begin advocating when I see the need for it.” As I said unfortunately this is when it is already too late. We need to begin advocating now and be proactive in what we do. Even as music education undergraduates we can help advocate for music education and show why it is important and should be included in all schools. When advocating for music education it is crucial that we show why we are advocating. We are not advocating for music education to secure our jobs, but instead we are advocating because music is important and can make a difference in students lives. All students need to be exposed to music and it is our job as music educators to show why this is true. We know the importance and necessity of music education, so now it  is up to us to show this importance to the ones who are in charge of our schools, who are often the ones who don’t realize the importance of music education.

Taking the Next Step

Many times as music educators we are advocating to other music educators, but the problem is we already get it!! If we continually advocate to other music educators we are not going to see much of a difference. We must advocate to those that do not yet see the importance of music education. Now, it is our job to take advocacy a step further and begin advocating to those who don’t get it such as parents, community members, other teachers, administration, school boards, businessmen, governments etc. These are the people that we need to be advocating too so that music is not cut in our schools. I believe that it is crucial for us to being advocating outside of our circles and make everyone else aware of the importance of music education.

Ideas for Advocating Beyond Music Educators

  1. Advocate to other teachers-we need to get the other non-music teachers in our school on board and show them the importance of music education. One way to do this could be by showing them how music is cross-curricular. I believe getting other teachers on board is one of the first steps to successful advocacy.
  2. Have an Honor’s Group Play for the State Government– Many festival groups are composed of schools from all over the state so why not have them perform for the state. This one performance could have a huge impact on state legislators.
  3. Perform at School Board Meetings-Have a small ensemble or group of students perform at every school board meeting. This shows the school board that your students are active. Also you could have some of your students share what music has done for them or why it is important to them. This is another easy way to begin advocating for music education.
  4. Engage the Parents- It is crucial to involve your students parents and to get their support from the beginning. Concerts or other events can be a great teachable opportunity. These events are great places to show the parents and remind them and the community of the importance of music education in our schools.
  5. Music In Our Schools Month- March is quickly approaching and it is Music In Our Schools Month. This is a great time to begin advocating and show the importance of music education. Check out the MENC MIOSM page for ideas on activities you can do to help support the arts and music in schools.

Starting now we need to take music education advocacy a step further and begin advocating to those outside of music education. Instead of preaching to the choir and advocating to those that already know the importance of music education we need to be advocating to those that run our schools and do not yet get or see the importance of all students receiving music education in our schools.