March 15, 2016
March is Music in Our Schools Month across the United States. Music in Our Schools Month began with the New York (NYSSMA
) state music association in 1973 and has grown over the decades into a month-long celebration of school music across the U.S., culminating in 1985 with the first “World’s Largest Concert.” The World’s Largest Concert still occurs yearly but is now called “The Concert for Music in Our Schools Month.”
The New York Governor in 1973, Nelson Rockefeller, acknowledged the original Music in Our Schools Day with a proclamation that stated: “This observance is designed to bring about a more genuine recognition in New York State of the vital place of music in the educational process. ... Music is a powerful esthetic force. It brings spirit and joy into the life of every individual. It dignifies the realm of feeling by merging intellect and emotion in the search of a humane way of life. It strengthens international and racial bonds.”
The general purpose of Music in Our Schools Month is advocacy to raise awareness of the importance of music education and its benefits
for all children and to remind citizens that schools are where all children should have access to music.
During the MIOSM celebration, schools might offer special performances, lessons, sing-alongs and different activities to bring school music to the attention of administrators, parents, colleagues and communities.
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides music teachers with music advocacy
items to provide to their communities educating parents on the benefits of music education. The advocacy tools include a program insert that highlights the benefits research has recognized when students receive music in their education.
NAfME also provides a long list of activity ideas that any type of school could put to use, regardless of location, budget or musical offerings. Suggestions include:
- Teaching and singing any of the free Concert for Music in Our Schools Month music provided by Hal Leonard and NAfMe.
- Making a “Music Month” calendar, and suggesting that students dress for different eras of music.
- Planning an all school sing-along.
- Taking a field to hear a local college group, community chorus or orchestra, or invite a group to perform at your school.
There are many, many more ideas
on the NAfME website. You can also find MIOSM lesson plan ideas at ReadWriteThink.org. Amy Burns
has written an excellent blog post
on how to celebrate this month that is succinct and usable for every age group.
If you want more local information there are local chairpersons for each state. If you have questions, need ideas, or are simply curious of local events, you can find yours listed here