Mar 07 2017

National Music Council Letter to the New Congress for Arts Advocacy Day 2017

The members of the National Music Council, who together represent some one million individuals, are unified in a commitment to support music education because 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:

• Complete the Appropriations Process for Fiscal Year 2017: If another stopgap spending measure is applied to finish the remainder of the Fiscal Year, Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) first year of implementation would be severely hampered

• Follow ESSA’s congressional intent, and ensure states, districts, charters, and local schools have the most flexibility to spend their federal dollars where needed. Robust funding for all well-rounded programs, including Title IV, Part A, must be a priority to protect this flexibility.

• Support Access to Music Education for the Most Disadvantaged Students by Fully Funding Title I, Part A

• Support Professional Development for Music Educators by Fully Funding Title I, Part A, Title II, Part A and Title IV, Parts A and F

• Support Access to Music Education as Part of a “Well Rounded Education” by fully funding Title IV, Part A

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 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.

Mar 07 2017

Music Education Roundtable Message to the New Administration

The National Music Council is a member of the Music Education Roundtable, whose constituents believe that all children, regardless of circumstance, should have access to high-quality in-school music programs. Intertwined with our great society, music is central to America’s history and how we share that history and tradition with our nation’s children.

Music education provides a variety of assets for our students, improving quality of life, and creating impactful and successful citizens within our society. We sincerely hope to work with the Trump administration to develop policies that support and enrich these essential school music programs.

The following are policy proposals the Music Education Policy Roundtable hopes the Trump administration takes into consideration on behalf of advancing music education in
America’s schools:

Support and Continue the Proper Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Last year, the passage of ESSA marked a historic moment for public education. Through bipartisan support, the law includes a specific mention of “music” as a part of a “Well- Rounded Education, ”providing opportunities to increase access to music education for all students. We hope to see continued support for the law, and encourage active communication between the administration and authorizing congressional committees to ensure guidance and regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education reflect congressional intent, increasing state and local voices in decision-making regarding public schooling.

Maintain Equitable Access to a Well-Rounded Education for All Students One of the integral missions of the Music Education Policy Roundtable is promoting the study and making of music by all, regardless of circumstance or background. Today’s educational culture emphasizes the great need for 21st century skillsets and by incorporating a well-rounded curriculum that includes music, we provide the essential professional skills students need to succeed in not only academics, but also in the workforce. Unfortunately, the access to a music education is not available in every American public school, be it district or charter, or for every child.

  • Access to Music Education within Minority Populations According to the National Endowment for the Arts(NEA), Fewer than 30 percent of both Hispanic and African American students reported receiving any arts education, in comparison to 59 percent of white students. Crafting effective and inclusive policies will create pathways to lifelong achievement for all students.

  • Access to Music Education within Charter Schools Studies from Arizona and California show that students within charter schools have substantially less access to music and arts education than students enrolled in district schools. As affirmed in ESSA, music education is an essential component to a well-rounded education, which should be embraced and made available to all students in all schools -charter and district.

  • Collecting Accurate Data on Access to Music and Arts Education within our Nation’s Schools. Every decade, the U.S. Department of Education collects survey data on access to music and arts education through the Fast Response Survey System (FRSS). The next FRSS arts survey should be administered in the 2019-2020 school year. We look forward to continuing this important data collection tradition to help us better understand access to music and arts education and how we as partners with the U.S. Department of Education can grow access to music and arts for all students.

  • Collecting Accurate Data on student performance in music and arts education through the Nation’s Report Card, NAEP. This April, the U.S. Department of Education will partner with the National Assessment Governing Board to release the findings on the 2015-2016 NAEP Arts Assessment. This is an excellent opportunity for the administration to broadcast its support for a well-rounded education, including music and arts. In addition, the administration can work with the Governing Board and arts partners including the Roundtable to insure the continuation of the NAEP Arts Assessment next scheduled for 2024.

Increase State and District Flexibility by Supporting Funding in Critical Well-Rounded Areas The inclusion of “music” as part of a “Well-Rounded Education” provides a significant number of opportunities for increasing access to music education for students at the state and local levels. The specific enumeration of music in statute further articulates music’s eligibility for Title I-A, Title II-A, and Title IV-A funding. In order to make these opportunities a reality for students, the Trump administration must follow ESSA’s congressional intent, and ensure states, districts, charters, and local schools have the most flexibility to spend their federal dollars where needed.

Robust funding for all well-rounded programs, including Title IV, Part A, must be a priority to protect this flexibility. Reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA)& the Student Debt Crisis Throughout the recent election cycle, candidates have recognized the prevalent student loan crisis within the United States. With ESSA the law of the land, the long overdue reauthorization of HEA represents the next step in reforming federal Education policy, through a thorough examination of the post-secondary education landscape. The Roundtable is devoted to serving the future of the music education profession. In light of ESSA’s commitment to providing all students with access to a well-rounded education, we hope HEA is reauthorized to support music and well-rounded educators through teacher preparation programs, teacher recruitment and retention opportunities, and student loan forgiveness eligibility.

Reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act As education and economic needs change in the 21st century, the educational environment must be prepared to adapt and incorporate innovative programs to fulfill those demands. We hope that the next reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act integrates a well-Rounded curriculum, so that schools can pioneer innovative courses, such as music technology and recording arts. Through revising this legislation, we give students the opportunity for success in non-traditional careers that consist of high-skill and high-wage occupations.

Support Military Readiness of Armed Forces One of our nation’s most important assets are our servicemen and women. Unfortunately, in recent years, our public education system has failed to sufficiently prepare young Americans for military service. According to The Education Trust, more than 1 in 5 high school graduates aspiring to join the Army could not score high enough on the military entrance exam to enlist. Studies have shown that schools with music programs demonstrate significantly higher graduation and class retention rates than those without such programs. By delivering robust funding to key well-rounded programs, like music, we strengthen our nation’s national security through providing educated, able, and qualified personnel.

Support U.S. Military Music Ensembles With dedication and integrity, U.S. military music ensembles connect American citizens of all generations through our country’s musical heritage. These service-men and women set one of the highest examples of musical achievement, pride in nation, and further the aspirations of all citizens, including young American music students across the nation. In addition, members of these ensembles uphold a significant role in music education by contributing countless hours of service each year, through special student outreach in a variety of demonstrations, clinics, and students. As ambassadors for the Armed Forces to students, citizens, and other countries, we ask that the Trump administration continue to support funding for U.S. military music ensembles.

Mar 07 2017

Arts Advocacy Day 2017 March 20-21 Washington, D.C.

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.

For more information on attending Congressional visits with the NMC, please contact NMC Director David Sanders by March 10th.

Oct 02 2016

NMC/MPA Announce 2016 Student Video Scholarship Winners

The NMC and Music Publishers Association are pleased to announce the winners of our 2016 Copyright Awareness Scholarship!

First prize went to Tara Troiano for her simple and heartfelt message about the difficulty of building a future as a musician when people are illegally downloading content online. Tara is a sophomore at Frisco High School in Frisco, Texas, and hopes to attend college to study film, music, and business.

Second prize went to Kathryn Keller for her concise video comparing online theft to stealing money directly from a busker. Kathryn is a student at Columbia College Chicago where she studies television writing and producing.

Third prize went to Lexus Jackson for her submission Working for Free which poses the question to the viewer: if you wouldn’t work for free, why would you expect the same from artists and musicians? Lexus is a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University in Lansing studying business and entrepreneurship.

With so many exceptional submissions this year it was hard to select just three winners. The National Music Council and the Music Publishers Association would like to extend an honorable mention to finalists Jules Iradukunda and Blake Derksen.

We are certain that each and every one of these students have a bright future in whatever field they chose.

And to all of the students who took the time to tell us why copyright and intellectual property are important, we commend them! We know how much work goes into these projects and look forward to viewing the creative and fantastic things that come from the minds of our applicants. Our goal in having this scholarship opportunity available is not only to provide a few students with a little assistance for their studies, but also to educate students of all ages about the importance of protecting intellectual property and the myriad of diverse industries that are affected when copyright laws aren’t respected.

The Copyright Awareness Scholarship was created in 2010 by the Music Publishers Association to help students learn more about intellectual property and copyright. The MPA has since joined with the National Music Council to help cast a wider net and reach a larger audience of students.

For more information please contact

In addition to the Copyright Awareness Scholarship, the NMC & MPA offer award winning curriculum ideas for the classroom to help students understand copyright and intellectual property and how imperative it is to support the creation of new work. For more information on that, including educational resources, please visit

Please contact David Sanders at NMC for graphics to post on your organization website:

Sep 28 2016

Music Education Roundtable: ACTION ALERT

After a usual long summer recess, Congress came back in session on Tuesday, September 6. With less than a month remaining until the fiscal deadline, Congress will more than likely pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to temporarily fund the government.

So how does this effect “Well-Rounded” programs within ESSA? Regardless of the CR’s duration, Congress will also begin negotiations for an Omnibus bill. Although none of the House and Senate appropriations bills made it beyond Committee approval, these serve as a touchstone for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees as they craft an Omnibus bill.

Neither the House nor Senate bill matches the authorized $1.65 billion level, but the most shocking variance is the $700 million difference for Title IV, Part A, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG). SSAEG was created and authorized in ESSA to provide supplemental funding to help states and school districts provide access to “Well-Rounded” education subjects, which now include music and the arts.

Voice the importance of music education to Congress by going to NAfME’s Grassroots Action Center and send a letter to your representatives, asking them to support music education and fully fund SSAEG at its $1.65 authorized level. For a quick refresher on the Government’s Appropriations Process, visit here.

Sep 28 2016

Dear Congress: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is Broken and No Longer Works for Creators.

Sep 28 2016


Remember watching the little orange AOL man walk across your screen as you waited to log on to the Internet? Hearing “You’ve Got Mail” upon entering the World Wide Web was a cultural phenomenon that excited everyone lucky enough to be granted access – until you were booted off when someone answered the phone. What a new and fickle technology the 1998 Internet was!

Naturally, this fickle technology has evolved tremendously in the past 18 years. And as we all know, so have the many ways in which music is distributed online. Unfortunately, a digital piracy law enacted by Congress way back in 1998 is still on the books today, but with the opposite intended effect. This antiquated law – called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) – places an undue burden on creators by forcing them to police the entire Internet for instances of theft while unfairly favoring technology companies and rogue pirate sites. Perhaps searching for and taking down links to illegal uploads was possible back in 1998 when getting online required a landline and a prayer, but not so for today’s sophisticated Internet (the musicFIRST coalition, a broad-based coalition of artist and industry groups, has its clever take on the issue here).

Further, the DMCA has propagated an unfair licensing regime where some of the biggest ad-supported music services like YouTube pay artists and musicians peanuts, all while music consumption on those platforms has skyrocketed. The stark disparity between the meager music revenues from these services and the enormous amount of music consumption on them has been dubbed “the value gap.” In short, the DMCA has effectively helped enrich big tech companies who distribute music at the expense of artists and creators who have tirelessly worked to bring that music to life.

That’s why this past summer an unprecedented coalition of more than 500 artists – from superstars to independent artists spanning across all genres and generations – and 20 music organizations and companies signed an open letter to Congress decrying a broken DMCA. The open letter was published as advertisements in major Washington D.C. political publications, coming at a critical time as U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte is reportedly planning to soon unveil reforms to U.S. copyright law. “As songwriters and artists who are a vital contributing force to the U.S. and to American exports around the world, we are writing to express our concern about the ability of the next generation of creators to earn a living,” reads the letter. “The DMCA simply doesn’t work…We ask you to enact sensible reform that balances the interests of creators with the interests of the companies who exploit music for their financial enrichment. It’s only then that consumers will truly benefit.”

As we all know, the music industry is relatively small compared to the weight of Silicon Valley who would prefer to keep the DMCA as is. But a unified music community lending its voice to ask for reforms sends a powerful message to policymakers. It’s important to stand together to strengthen the music economy and create a healthier, more stable ecosystem for the next generation of singers, songwriters, and musicians.

Aug 02 2016

National Music Council Presents 2016 American Eagle Awards to Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill and Grand Ole Opry At Summer NAMM

The National Music Council’s annual American Eagle Awards were presented at Summer NAMM in Nashville, TN for a second year in a row on Saturday, June 25. The highly prestigious Eagle Awards are presented each year in national celebration of an individual’s or an organization’s long term contribution to America’s musical culture and heritage. This year, music legends Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill were honored, along with the iconic Grand Ole Opry.

The awards featured performances by Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill, as well as special tributes to the honorees by Roy Clark, John Conlee, and Bill Cody. Proceeds from the event support the Council’s music education advocacy efforts. Click here for the photo high-lights of the event.

Emmylou Harris Accepts her 2016 American Eagle Award

Emmylou Harris is one of the most admired and respected female vocalists in music history. With 13 Grammy Awards and a trio of CMA trophies, her work has garnered admiration and praise from her peers. Beginning with her 1975 masterpiece Pieces Of The Sky, Harris began to carve out a reputation as one of the genre’s most progressive talents – though one with a clear reverence toward the history of the Country format. She made songs by The Louvin Brothers, Buck Owens, and Hank Snow hits again. She also teamed up with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt for the iconic Trio album in 1987. Harris was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1992, and into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

Whether it be Country, Rock, Bluegrass, or Gospel, there is no genre of music that Vince Gill hasn’t excelled in during his much-heralded career. Starting out playing in a Bluegrass band called Mountain Smoke when he was a teenager, he later joined Boone Creek – a band fronted by future Country star Ricky Skaggs. He spent three years as lead singer of the Pop / Rock group Pure Prairie League before moving to Nashville in the early 1980s. It took him a few years to find his artistic path, but he hit big in 1990 with “When I Call Your Name.” Future hits included “Liza Jane” and “Go Rest High On That Mountain.” Twenty Grammy Awards later, Gill stands as one of the most revered male artists of all time. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1991, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Vince Gill Performs at the 2016 American Eagle Awards

Musical artists have come from all over the world for a chance to perform on the stage that is the Grand Ole Opry. Starting as the WSM Barn Dance in the fall of 1925, the show has enchanted artists and fans alike ever since. Legends such as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline have dazzled with their talents there, as have modern-day hit-makers like Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. It’s been called the “home of American music” and “country’s most famous stage.” Every year, hundreds of thousands of people make pilgrimages across town or around the world to the Grand Ole Opry to see the show live. Millions more tune in to Opry broadcasts via a mobile app, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Nashville’s 650 AM WSM, and on and

WSM’s Bill Cody Presents the Award to Opry GM Pete Fisher

The Council also presented its annual Leadership in Music symposium prior to the awards.  The event included a conversation with the honorees hosted by NMC board member Charlie Sanders who was joined by SGA President Rick Carnes.  Also featured at the symposium was the Emmy Award winning animation created by the NMC and MPA as part of a primary school lesson plan that encourages kids to think about the ramifications of taking other people’s creative works without permission. NMC Director David Sanders frames the animated piece as “part of a world-wide effort by creators to change the narrative in terms of fostering an understanding that the online protection of creative works enhances freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas, rather than encroaching on them.”

The National Music Council continues to serve 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 life 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.

Past American Eagle Award recipients include Kris Kristofferson, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Clive Davis, Van Cliburn, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Morton Gould, Dave Brubeck, Marian Anderson, Lena Horne, Roy Clark, Roberta Peters, Odetta, Sherman Halsey, Stephen Sondheim, Sesame Street, Hard Rock Cafe, Music Makes Us, and VH-1 Save the Music Foundation. This year’s event in Nashville marks the 33rd year of formal presentations of the Awards.

Jul 17 2016

Music Education Advocacy Action Alert

To coincide with the House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY2017 Labor-HHS-Education bill markup, NAfME and the Music Education Roundtable has begun its grassroots advocacy push for Title IV, Part A funding. We urge you to contact your members of Congress and ask them to support music education by fully funding Title IV, Part A. Please take action by sending your Representatives and Senators a short letter via the NAfME Grassroots Action Center at Please share this action link with, colleagues, peers, and other supporters of music education. The action alert will stay active well into September.

Thank you for your continued support. Our collective advocacy helped us reach this point through the passage of ESSA; let us now make sure its programs are appropriately funded to make music education a priority!

Apr 26 2016

2016 Legislative Agenda

2016 Federal Appropriations Requests

Who We Are:

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is among the world’s largest arts education organizations, representing more than 60,000 music educators across the nation. Advocating at the federal, state, and local levels, the Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels, grades PreK-16, for more than a century.

The Music Education Policy Roundtable (MEPR) is a coalition spearheaded by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), consisting of organizations such as the National Music Council who advocate for and support music education access for all children. MEPR believes that music education should be taught by certified music educators, delivering sequential, standards-based music education to all students across the nation, regardless of personal circumstance or background.

Overview of 2016 Requests:

With the recent passage and signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), NAfME and MEPR would like to take this time to thank Congress for passing this historic piece of legislation. The legislation’s enumeration of “music” as part of a “Well-Rounded Education” marks an unprecedented step forward for music education. As ESSA implementation gets under way, the most important request that our organizations can make is for Congress to fully fund this legislation. As such, the Roundtable has developed several specific appropriations requests, which we offer for consideration, as funding proposals begin to take shape in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives regarding the programs authorized within ESSA.

Roundtable Federal Legislative Recommendations:

APPROPRIATE FUNDING FOR ALL ‘WELL-ROUNDED’ PROGRAMS: The inclusion of “music” within the definition of a “Well-Rounded Education” in ESSA provides a significant number of opportunities for supporting access to music education at the state and local levels. The specific enumeration of music in statute further articulates music’s eligibility for Title I, Title II, and Title IV funding. In order to realize the vision of maximizing these new federal resources in support of music education, Congress must do all that it can to prioritize ESSA funding during the upcoming appropriations process. As such, we ask that Congress:

  • Support Access to Music Education for the Most Disadvantaged Students by Fully Funding Title I, Part A: Title I, Part A programs, both school-wide and targeted, are now available to provide supplemental funds for a well-rounded education, including music.
Funding History for Title I to LEAs (in millions)
FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 President’s Request FY 2017 NAfME
Roundtable Request
$14,409.80 $14,909.00 $15,359.80 $15,359.80
(Authorized Level)

Under the new ESSA, the School Improvement Grants (SIG) were eliminated and states are now required to reserve 7 percent of Title I, Part A funds to support school improvement in the place of this elimination. In order to ensure school districts do not see a decrease in Title I, Part A allocations due to this reservation, we ask Congress to fully fund for Title I, Part A at its authorized $15.36 billion level, which is the combined total Title I, Part A and SIG program funding in FY16.

  • Support Professional Development for Music Educators by Fully Funding Title I, Part A, Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A and F: These funds may be used to support professional development for music educators, as part of supporting a “Well-rounded Education.”
  • Supporting Effective Instruction, Title II, Part A (formerly, Teacher Quality Program)
Funding History (in millions)
FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 President’s Request FY 2017 NAfME
Roundtable Request
$2,349.83 $2,349.83 $2,250.00 $2,290.00
(Authorized Level)
  • Assistance for Arts Education (formerly, Arts in Education), Title IV, Part F
Funding History (in millions)
FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 President’s Request FY 2017 NAfME
Roundtable Request
$25.00 $27.00 $27.00 $30.00

Our music educators deliver an important role in enabling student success. Appropriate funding levels for these programs provide unique federal support for professional development for our educators and bolster the skills development they need to provide a high-quality music education for our nation’s students, part of Congress’ vision of a “Well-Rounded Education.”

  • Support Access to Music Education as Part of a Well-Rounded Education by Fully Funding Title IV, Part A:
    Under Title IV, Part A of ESSA, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG) provides a new and clear intent to support our nation’s schools through a “Well-Rounded Education.” As such, this new competitive block-grant may be used in part to improve access to music education, and in turn, to support not only student success, but also the promotion of constructive student engagement, problem solving, and conflict resolution. In addition, other funds may be utilized to offer a broad array of enriched educational experiences, such as providing music to underrepresented, disadvantaged, and minority student populations.

  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG), Title IV, Part A
Funding History (in millions)
ESSA Authorized Level FY 2017 President’s Request FY 2017 NAfME
Roundtable Request
$1,650.00 $500.00 $1,650.00
(Authorized Level)

Despite being the third largest authorized program within ESSA, the President’s FY17 Budget request only recommends $500 million for the grant, less than one-third of its authorized funding level, which Congress agreed upon in a bipartisan manner. By significantly underfunding this program, it undermines the greater flexibility that Congress had intended for states and districts, and would not allow schools to make meaningful investments in critical areas of need, such as school music programs.