Sample actions your orchestra might take
The most effective advocacy efforts are tailored to address a local community’s unique resources and opportunities, in partnership with local stakeholders. Your orchestra’s alignment in support of in-school music education helps your community. While there is a benefit to be gained for your orchestra, music education advocacy is a civic opportunity and a way to participate in broader community concerns. Below are examples of actions your orchestra might take to advocate for music education in your community:
• Review the Orchestras Support In-School Music Education with community partners and make plans to work together. Consider tailoring the statement for use in your community.
• Engage your orchestra’s ready-made advocates – trustees, musicians, volunteers, staff, and others that may already be well-acquainted with local education policymakers.
• Actively seek opportunities for key leaders of your orchestra (music director, musicians, executive director, and others) to speak on behalf of in-school music education in the local press, at school board meetings, and in other public settings.
• Survey your entire board for ‘who knows whom’ amongst mayor, city/county officials, board of education, etc. (Reassure board members that no communication is initiated or occurs in the board member’s name without express permission.)
• Participate in local, regional, and national advocacy networks.
• Get to know your state’s standards for music education and your statewide NAfME chapter.
• Understand the broader educational issues of concern in your community and the challenges and opportunities facing local schools and educators – and how your orchestra can help.
• Honor local music educators and supportive school administrators at a performance or other event.
• Create a discussion group among other arts organizations to coordinate advocacy activity.
• Advocate for the presence of a fine-arts coordinator in your school district.
• “Adopt” a first-year music teacher, providing encouragement as they begin the teaching profession.
• Invite school officials to a reception highlighting the benefits of music education.
• Get to know your community's school board members and other educational decision-makers, and share with them resources such as What School Leaders Can Do to Increase Arts Education, which offers three concrete actions that school principals can take with little-to-no cost to increase arts education in their schools in a variety of grade levels.
• Ask board of education candidates for their position on increased resources for music/arts education in the schools.
• Send information about benefits of arts education to legislators and school board members.
• Send letters to the editor – in response to articles about music/arts education to increase dialogue and visibility of the issue in the community.
Your orchestra’s alignment in support of in-school music education helps your community. While there is a benefit to be gained for your orchestra, music education advocacy is a civic opportunity and a way to participate in broader community concerns.