Largest Initiative Supporting School Music Launched in Response to School Budget Cuts Expected in 2003

New Web Tool Informs and Empowers Parents Facing School Music Program Funding Cuts

March 12, 2003

“SupportMusic,” the largest initiative of its kind dedicated to positively impacting community resolve and inspiring action to support music education in the United States, was launched today by the Music Education Coalition, an entity created by NAMM, the International Music Products Association and MENC, the National Association for Music Education. The new program was announced today by Steve West, Chairman of NAMM; and Dr. Willie Hill, President of MENC. They were joined by Congressional co-chairs Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA); as well as John Rzeznik, lead singer of Goo Goo Dolls, and Take 6, the six-man, multi-Grammy Award-winning a cappella group, who performed a few of their best-known songs to kick-off the Washington launch event.

A key component of the new initiative is a new Web site,, an easy-to-use resource offering information about how parents and community members can work to ensure that music is an integral part of a quality education for all children. The new site focuses on reaching parents and teachers who are facing massive school music program cuts while providing the tools and information needed to take action on behalf of their children’s education and future. also unites music, arts and youth-serving organizations who will contribute tools available at the Web site. For example, with the participation of the American Music Therapy Association, the Web site will expand to include information for parents of children with disabilities seeking to ensure that music and/or music therapy is part of their children's education. Other partner organizations, including the American Music Conference, an established nonprofit that promotes the benefits of music and music making, will help to continually improve the effectiveness of parents and advocates by adding tools and links on the site.

The initiative is being launched during March’s national “Music in Our Schools Month” in response to unprecedented education budget cuts. Noting that some areas of the nation already give students insufficient experience in the discipline of music education, the Music Education Coalition predicts that the current round of budget cuts will lead to curtailment of programs depriving as many as 30 million students (more than 60 percent of those enrolled in K-12) of an education that includes music. The key, according to the Coalition, is to energize local grassroots efforts with information and help them make the case for the essential role of music in every child’s development.

Music education, while significant in its own right and named as a “core academic subject” in the No Child Left Behind Act (the controlling federal education legislation), is an important contributor to the overall education of children and young adults. In that regard:

  • Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation.*
  • U.S. Department of Education data on more than 25,000 secondary school students, found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show “significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade12.”**
  • A study of 237 second-grade children who used piano keyboard training and newly designed math software showed a demonstrable improvement in math skills. The group scored 27 percent higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children who used only the math software.***

Congressional SupportMusic cosponsor Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) said of the initiative, “Music enriches all of our lives. We know that music education increases achievement in schools. Programs like equip teachers and parents with yet another tool as we work together to increase achievement for all children.”

Key to this initiative is the launch today of The innovative system simplifies the advocacy process for community members by allowing them to customize their campaigns in support of local music programs. This resource is offered for those who are interested in preserving music education for children, but who may not have the experience working with Boards of Education and other decision makers.

“So many parents and educators across the country have expressed pure frustration over the sizable cuts to school budgets that have had a direct negative impact on music education,” said West. “Continuing our support for music education, the Coalition felt compelled to aid in a fashion that could help stem the tide.”

Specifically, the “Build Your Case” resource featured on presents users with tailored information that addresses the specific challenges faced by music education in their communities. Visitors to the Web site can access information that will answer questions about the value of music in building intelligence, address the ways that budget cuts improperly target music programs and help combat the trend of eliminating music from schools’ curriculums.

“Our members have seen firsthand the positive impact of music on a child’s overall success in gaining a meaningful education,” said Hill. “While today’s difficult economic climate is a reality for school districts nationally, we do not believe the power of music should automatically be quieted by tight margins.” allows Web site visitors to explore information sources, better understand the research that supports the case for music education, and link to a variety of additional related sources and original materials. The Web site also features an interactive bulletin board where strategies can be shared and questions answered by advocacy advisers. All affiliate organizations and their resources can be linked from the site. Users can also secure information about how to model successful music advocacy efforts from around the nation. Additionally, provides tips for forming and registering local and regional music support groups and coalitions. Links of related associations providing other helpful resources are also available at the Web site. also features the creative genius of Tom Batiuk (rhymes with “attic”), the former high school teacher and creator of “Funky Winkerbean,” the celebrated comic strip distributed by King Features Syndicate to more than 400 newspapers nationwide and strong advocate for keeping music education in schools. The Web site will highlight several Batiuk comic strips focusing on communities in action supporting music.

"Music In Our Schools Month" will culminate on March 31 with the announcement of the “Best 100 Communities for Music Education in America,” based on a nationwide survey promoted by the American Music Conference. The survey highlights successful communities in action for music; communities working hard to assure that music is a vital part of education and to provide blueprints for parent and community advocates.

About MENC
The National Association for Music Education (, the world’s largest arts education organization, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. Nearly 90,000 members represent all levels of teaching from pre-school to graduate school. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC’s activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education.

About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.