Mike Blakeslee, NAfME
Every member of the National Music Council knows that the health of our musical culture depends on many factors: the distribution of published and recorded music, the manufacture and sales of instruments, accessories, and technologies, and more. But every area of activity in music is based on a strong, ongoing system for providing an education in music to all.
While education can take many forms and show up in many places, the most important – and most nearly universal – venue for music education is in our nation’s schools. And those schools collectively form a system that is truly enormous, serving nearly 75 million students.
As in all large systems, there can be a daunting set of policies that drive and direct our schools. At the Federal level, the controlling legislation is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a rare bipartisan success passed in 2015 and listing music for the first time specifically as a part of a “well-rounded” education. Other legislation, including the Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act, plays a part. And every year, Washington DC goes through a process to determine to what extent those Acts get funded.
That process can get pretty specific: one of the most important parts of ESSA funding, for example, has to do with Title IV, Part A of that act, which includes a fund for delivering a well-rounded education. But as we delve down into the details, one thing becomes uniformly obvious – the most important actions to support music education take place at the state and local levels. Those ESSA dollars are granted by the Feds, but distributed by the states to meet the goals and standards of those states and their local education agencies. You can find lots of information at this link.
Fortunately, 30 states and the Department of Defense Dependents Schools have adopted or adapted the National Standards for music that were disseminated in 2014. That fact gives us a common language for discussing what is needed in a good school program.
So, what can an individual or association connected with the Council do? There are three basic components:
- Educate yourself on the Standards (which can be found at nafme.org/standards; take a good look at the “Opportunity to Learn” standards while you’re there to see what resources are expected in a standards-based education).
- Keep tuned to news about changes in Federal legislation and appropriations. The Higher Education Act has been queued up for some time, and may move forward any time. A good source for keeping up is the Advocacy section of NAfME.org.
- Most important of all, remember that all education is local. More than ninety percent of funding for education comes from the state and local level – and arguably, more than ninety percent of the relevant decisions reside there, as well. Take a look at the Civic Action Field Guide, or visit the NAMM Foundation web site at nammfoundation.org for ideas.
But mostly, get involved in your local community and particularly in doing what you can to help in communities in your state that may not offer a credible music education to students. We have a basically strong system of music education – but all too many students are simply shut out.
As a member of the NMC, you and your colleagues are devoted to music. As citizens and leaders, you are involved in your local and state communities, and often your reach extends far beyond that. Let decision-makers know that!
The National Music Council mourns the loss of country music legend Roy Clark. A master musician, extraordinary entertainer, and inspiration to generations of young artists, Roy was honored with the National Music Council’s American Eagle Award for lifetime contribution to American Musical Culture in 1999. Safe journey, Roy, and thank you for all the music you brought to our lives!
June 28, 2018 Nashville – The National Music Council honored jazz legends Chick Corea and The Manhattan Transfer at the organization’s 35th annual American Eagle Awards on Thursday, June 28 at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville. The honors are presented each year in recognition of long-term contributions to American musical culture and heritage, the importance of music education and inspiration for all children, and the need to protect creators’ rights both locally and globally.
NMC Director Dr. David Sanders hosted the event, and praised the honorees for setting an extraordinary standard for ongoing contribution to American musical culture and heritage, and for serving as mentors and role models to aspiring jazz artists. The evening opened with a performance by the Nashville School of the Arts jazz ensemble Swing Thing under the direction of James Satterwhite, who reminded the audience of why access to music education for all students is so vital.
Nashville Singer/Songwriter Dianne Davidson performed an emotional musical tribute to The Manhattan Transfer before presenting TMT members Janis Siegel, Alan Paul, and Cheryl Bentyne with the first award. Davidson was responsible for introducing late Manhattan Transfer founder Tim Hauser to Janis Siegel, forming the iteration of the group that created their great success and earned them ten Grammy Awards. Hauser died in 2014.
Internationally renowned flutist Hubert Laws presented Chick Corea’s award, citing Corea’s great contribution to the art of improvisation and an inspiration to himself and musicians all over the world. In accepting the award, Corea expressed the joy he gets from inspiring young musicians, before stepping over to the piano and performing a solo rendition of Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Corea then surprised the large audience by calling the up The Manhattan Transfer and Hubert Laws to join him for a spontaneous, improvised rendition of Gershwin’s “Summertime”, which brought down the house.
The 2018 American Eagle honorees join a “who’s – who” list of cultural giants including Stephen Sondheim, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Clive Davis, Van Cliburn, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Morton Gould, Dave Brubeck, Marian Anderson, Max Roach, Lena Horne, Roy Clark, Elliott Carter, Ervin Drake, Theo Bikel, Roberta Peters, Odetta, Leonard Slatkin, Sesame Street, Hard Rock Café, and VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. In 2017, the NMC also recognized the indelible contributions of songwriter/poet, Patti Smith, country legend Crystal Gale, and comedian, musician and actor, Harry Shearer at the Nashville Summer NAMM Show.
Chick Corea; The Manhattan Transfer and Hubert Laws perform on stage during the National Music Council American Eagle Awards Dinner honoring Chick Corea and The Manhattan Transfer at Music City Center on June 28, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for NAMM)
The National Music Council celebrates these great artists in part to highlight the importance of the 5 Musical Rights developed and enumerated in cooperation with the International Music Council. These rights are that all children and adults must have the freedom and ability to: (1) express themselves musically; (2) learn musical language and skills; (3) have access to musical performances both as participants and listeners; (4) have reasonable access to communicate their musical artistry to the public including through electronic media, and (5) receive accurate attribution, earned recognition and fair remuneration for the popularity of their musical works.
For photo and video highlights of the awards, visit https://www.musiccouncil.org/2018-eagle-award-highlights/
As we move into March, NAfME will be holding its 33rd annual Music In Our Schools Month® celebration.
This year’s theme is “Music Connects Us.” We encourage you to show how music connects you by sharing videos and photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Be sure to use this year’s hashtags #MIOSM and #MusicConnectsUs in order to solidify our united “trending” voice, and tag @NAfME so that we can highlight your posts.
NASHVILLE – The National Music Council has announced that jazz legends Chick Corea, and The Manhattan Transfer will be honored at the organization’s 35th annual American Eagle Awards on Thursday, June 28 at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville. The honors are presented each year in recognition of long-term contributions to American musical culture and heritage, the importance of music education and inspiration for all children, and the need to protect creators’ rights both locally and globally.
“At this year’s event, we are honoring the artists who bring life and imagination to one of our country’s most revered and treasured genres of music – jazz,” said David Sanders, Director of the National Music Council. “The time has come to celebrate the enduring legacies and versatility of Chick Corea and all the members of The Manhattan Transfer. Each has set an extraordinary standard for ongoing contribution to American musical culture and heritage, and will rightly serve as a mentor or role model for aspiring jazz artists for years to come.”
Recognized as one of music’s most influential stylists, Chick Corea has reached iconic status as a keyboardist, composer and bandleader. Corea is a DownBeat Hall of Famer and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, as well as the fourth-most nominated artist in GRAMMY Awards history with 63 nods – and 22 wins, in addition to a number of Latin GRAMMYs. From straight-ahead to avant-garde, bebop to jazz-rock fusion, children’s songs to chamber and symphonic works, Corea has accessed an impressive repertoire of musical genres in the past fifty years since first performing with several Miles Davis bands in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Yet Corea has never been more productive than in the 21st century, whether playing acoustic piano or electric keyboards, leading multiple bands, performing solo or collaborating with a who’s who of music. Underscoring his long list of accomplishments, he was also named Artist of the Year three times this decade in the DownBeat Readers Poll. The Massachusetts-born musician remains a tireless creative spirit, continually reinventing himself through his art. As The New York Times noted, he is “a luminary, ebullient and eternally youthful.”
A cornerstone for great pop and jazz hits, The Manhattan Transfer has built a legacy that began at the time of their very first recording 43 years ago. The legendary quartet of Alan Paul, Cheryl Bentyne, Janis Siegel, and the late Tim Hauser, has been awarded 10 GRAMMY Awards of 20 nominations and has been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. With sold-out world tours and worldwide record sales in the millions, The Manhattan Transfer continues to bring unique and extraordinary melodic and jazz-infused vocals to new and established audiences that span generations. With the March 2018 release of The Junction, their extraordinary contribution to American popular music continues.
The new American Eagle honorees will join a “who’s – who” list of cultural giants including Stephen Sondheim, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Clive Davis, Van Cliburn, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Morton Gould, Dave Brubeck, Marian Anderson, Max Roach, Lena Horne, Roy Clark, Elliott Carter, Ervin Drake, Theo Bikel, Roberta Peters, Odetta, Leonard Slatkin, Sesame Street, Hard Rock Café, and VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. In 2017, the NMC also recognized the indelible contributions of songwriter/poet, Patti Smith, country legend Crystal Gale, and comedian, musician and actor, Harry Shearer at the Nashville Summer NAMM Show.
The National Music Council celebrates these great artists in part to highlight the importance of the 5 Musical Rights developed and enumerated in cooperation with the International Music Council. These rights are that all children and adults must have the freedom and ability to: (1) express themselves musically; (2) learn musical language and skills; (3) have access to musical performances both as participants and listeners; (4) have reasonable access to communicate their musical artistry to the public including through electronic media, and receive accurate attribution, earned recognition and fair remuneration for the popularity of their musical works.
This year’s award ceremony will take place on the evening of Thursday, June 28 at Nashville’s Music City Center, and is open to industry members and Summer NAMM attendees. Tickets for this event are also available to the general public. For more information on schedule, location details, tickets, and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.musiccouncil.org or contact NMC Director David Sanders at email@example.com. Proceeds from the event support the National Music Council’s music education advocacy efforts.
The Summer NAMM Show is the mid-year global gathering of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and its many member companies, representing the global music products industry, including music instruments and pro audio products, music retailers and educators and house of worship professionals. The awards are presented with support from The NAMM Foundation, a non-profit which works to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan through scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.
About The National Music Council
The US Congressionally-chartered National Music Council is celebrating its 77th year as a forum for the free discussion of this country’s national music affairs and challenges. Founded in 1940 to act as a clearinghouse for the joint opinion and decision of its members and to work to strengthen the importance of music in our lives and culture, the Council’s initial membership of 13 has grown to almost 50 national music organizations, encompassing every important form of professional and commercial musical activity. Through the cooperative work of its member organizations, the National Music Council promotes and supports music and music education as an integral part of the curricula in the schools of our nation, and in the lives of its citizens. The Council provides for the exchange of information and coordination of efforts among its member organizations and speaks with one voice for the music community whenever an authoritative expression of opinion is desirable. www.musiccouncil.org
About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,300 members around the world. The NAMM Foundation works to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit http://www.nammfoundation.org.
Join the National Music Council on Capitol Hill as arts advocates from across the country convene in Washington, D.C. Arts Advocacy Day brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with more than 500 grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts.
NATIONAL MUSIC COUNCIL LETTER TO CONGRESS FOR ARTS ADVOCACY DAY 2018
The members of the National Music Council, who together represent some one million individuals, are unified in a commitment to support music education. We know how much a balanced, sequential education that includes music can bring to the development of our young people. We have all, individually and collectively, seen the impact that music education has on the social, physical, and intellectual growth of students. We have all watched with growing interest the explosion of research that backs up our long-held belief in the essential importance of music education.
Sadly, we have also seen the growth of forces that stand in the way of every child receiving the benefits of music education. Sometimes these forces are political; sometimes they are budgetary; and sometimes they are simply administrative. In all cases, however, they can be easily overcome with a simple commitment (reflected in legislation and in funding) to providing our children with the benefits of music education.
In light of this, we ask your commitment for the following legislative recommendations:
- Eliminate sequestration caps to improve the federal investment on education and allocate robust funding to key education initiatives from ESSA, including all “Well- Rounded Education” programs.
- Fully fund all aspects of ESSA through the appropriations process for both FY18 and FY19, including Title IV, Part A. In this funding and in all aspects of ESSA, maintain a focus on equity and access for every child in our diverse student populations to ensure that they receive a full and well-rounded education.
- Include grants and loan forgiveness provisions for teachers in any Higher Education Act reauthorization, and better align the law with ESSA’s commitment to a well-rounded education.
- Fund the Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) in music and arts education for the 2019-2020 school year. FRSS is the best tracking of student access and participation to music and arts education at the national level.
- Preserve and support the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency that provides supplemental funding in support of high quality arts programming, including programming that complements in- school music education provided by our nation’s music educators.
We will all benefit from these measures: the music industry, which contributes significantly to our national economy; professional performers, who add immeasurably to our communities; composers, arrangers, and publishers, who bring the riches of creation to our national life; and most of all, our children. We thank you for your consideration of these important goals, which will benefit not only our children, but will ultimately increase the creative output of American composers and musicians to the betterment of not only the social fabric of the United States, but also the economy.
Founded in 1940 and chartered by the 84th Congress in 1956, the National Music Council is in a unique position to assist in these matters. We offer our collective expertise in providing you with any documentation or information that might serve you, and our gratitude for your support.
NEW YORK, NY ― October 5, 2017 ― The BMI Foundation announced today that it is now accepting online applications for its 2018 scholarship season, open to young musicians and songwriters attending colleges and universities nationwide. The Foundation will administer seven distinct scholarship competitions aided by panelists of international musical acclaim. These annual programs include the BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship, BMI Student Composer Awards, John Lennon Scholarships, peermusic Latin Scholarship, Woody Guthrie Fellowship, Nashville Songwriting Scholarship and BMI Founders Award for Radio Broadcasting.
“We are delighted to once again have the opportunity to introduce the world to young, talented artists on the cusp of exciting careers in music,” said BMI Foundation President Deirdre Chadwick. “These scholarships are essential for continued musical education and development, and last year we were thrilled to receive a record number of applications.”
Program applications must be completed online no later than Thursday, February 1, 2018. For complete details and to apply, please visit bmifoundation.org/programs. Below is a complete list of BMI Foundation 2018 scholarship season opportunities.
BMI Founders Award for Radio Broadcasting
The third annual BMI Founders Award competition is open to radio broadcasting students age 17 – 24 nationwide. A $5,000 scholarship will be awarded for the best original essay response entry. The program was established in 2015 to recognize future innovators of broadcast radio, and commemorates the group of radio industry leaders who founded Broadcast Music, Inc. in 1939. bmifoundation.org/broadcast
BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship
The fourth annual BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship will award $5,000 to a rising jazz star pursuing a graduate degree in Jazz Studies, Jazz Performance, or related majors. The award was established in 2015 in honor of the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, a lifetime achievement recognition program of the National Endowment for the Arts. bmifoundation.org/jazzmaster
BMI Student Composer Awards
The 66th annual BMI Student Composer Awards will award $20,000 in prizes to young composers engaged in the study of classical music. Co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation, the competition is open to all composers studying classical music who are age 27 or younger and citizens of the Western Hemisphere. Classical music luminaries such as John Adams, Aaron Jay Kernis and Augusta Read Thomas received their earliest recognition through this program. bmifoundation.org/sca
John Lennon Scholarships
The 21st annual John Lennon Scholarships will award three prizes totaling $20,000 to U.S. college-student songwriters (age 17 to 24) for the best original songs submitted to the competition. Established in 1997 by Yoko Ono in conjunction with the BMI Foundation, this scholarship program honors the memory of one of the preeminent songwriters of the 20th century, John Lennon, and has become one of the nation’s most esteemed accolades for emerging artists. bmifoundation.org/lennon
Nashville Songwriting Scholarship
The third annual Nashville Songwriting Scholarship will award $5,000 for the best original song in any of the following genres: Americana, blues, bluegrass, contemporary Christian, country, folk, and roots. The contest is open to students between the ages of 17 and 24, who are enrolled in any college or university located in the United States. GRAMMY-winning recording artist and BMI songwriter Kacey Musgraves endorses the competition and serves as a final judge. bmifoundation.org/nashville
peermusic Latin Scholarship
Established by music publisher Ralph Peer II and generously funded by peermusic, the 15th annual peermusic Latin Scholarship competition will award a $5,000 scholarship for the best original song or instrumental composition in any Latin genre. The contest is open to students between the ages of 17 and 24, who are enrolled in any college or university located in the United States and Puerto Rico. Multi-platinum Latin artist and BMI songwriter Prince Royce serves as honorary spokesperson for the competition. bmifoundation.org/peer
Woody Guthrie Fellowship
The 13th annual Woody Guthrie Fellowship will award up to $5,000 for scholarly research at the extensive Woody Guthrie Archives, a paper-based research repository located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Applicants must have a research project that leads to the creation of an original scholarly publication or product and requires a minimum of two weeks of research at the Archives. Established in 2005 in cooperation with the Woody Guthrie Center, the Woody Guthrie Fellowship seeks to encourage unique exploration into the life and legacy of one of the most influential folk musicians in American history, Woody Guthrie. bmifoundation.org/guthrie
About the BMI Foundation
The BMI Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 to encourage the creation, performance, and study of American music. The Foundation’s programs include competitive scholarships for songwriters and composers, operating grants for nonprofit arts presenters, and support for innovative music education initiatives in schools and communities across the country. For more information about the work of the Foundation, please visit www.bmifoundation.org. For exclusive news and content, follow @bmifoundation on Instagram and Twitter, and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook at facebook.com/bmifoundation.