March 2021 Marks the 36th Annual NAfME Music In Our Schools Month®

music in our schools month

NAfME Music In Our Schools Month 2021 logo

Every day, in music programs across the United States, music educators dedicate themselves to reaching all students with life-changing musical experiences.

This March, music educators and music students will be celebrating music education in their school communities demonstrating how “Music. The Sound of My Heart” resonates with them. This is the theme of the 2021 observance of Music In Our Schools Month®. The impact of music education on the lives of students during this particular school year, unlike any other, is evident in how the social-emotional benefits have carried them through the pandemic and brought joy in their communities.

To kick off the celebratory month, on March 4 starting at 7:00 PM EST, the more than 550 students of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) 2020 All-National Honor Ensembles will perform in six virtual concerts, one for each honor ensemble: Concert Band, Mixed Choir, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, and Modern Band. Free registration is available. And on March 29 at 7:00 PM EDT, the Young Composers Concert will take place online, featuring the Akropolis Reed Quintet performing the work of winning student composers from the NAfME 2020 competition. Free registration is now available. All are invited to these special virtual events to celebrate the accomplishments of young musicians and composers from around the country.

Throughout the month of March, NAfME-affiliated state music education associations will be participating in a “Virtual Hill Month,” when advocates will meet online with elected officials on Capitol Hill and share why music education must continue to be funded and supported. A virtual congressional briefing on the social-emotional benefits of music education will take place on March 24 at 3:00 PM EDT with U.S. Senator Jon Tester (MT). For more information, contact advocacy@nafme.org.

NAfME recognizes March as the thirty-sixth annual Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM®). Since 1985, MIOSM has been observed as a yearly month-long celebration when schools and communities celebrate music in their local schools and the educators who dedicate themselves to bringing music into the lives of students every day. This year the NAfME Council for General Music Education has provided teachers resources to show the learning process throughout the whole school year. The “Music In Our Schools Month®: Process into Product” document explains this new direction, which began in 2018.

Every day, in music programs across the United States, music educators dedicate themselves to reaching all students with life-changing musical experiences. What parents, administrators, and the wider community have not always had the opportunity to observe, however, is the months of practice and rehearsals, and the process of learning that takes place in the music classroom—whether virtual or distanced in person.

Each school year provides an opportunity for music educators to show that process through “informances”—when students demonstrate various learning stages—before the performances at the end of that process. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to show their growth and learning in the music classroom—and for educators to share the incredible work they are doing in their music programs. NAfME also celebrates the music program leaders, superintendents, school boards, parents, and local businesses that support their local schools’ music programs and the difference music makes for all students.

NAfME encourages teachers and music education advocates to share on social media how their schools are celebrating music education, using the hashtags #MusicTheSoundOfMyHeart and #MIOSM and tagging “@NAfME”.

This year NAfME has provided MIOSM lesson plans for twenty-five songs, including resources from the Library of Congress, instructional goals and objectives, connections to the National Core Arts Standards learned in each lesson, worksheets, and more. Additionally, music educators can join in the “biggest school chorus in the world” (at home!) with American Young Voices, which has provided lesson plans, lyrics, vocal tracks, and more for the song “Sing From Your Heart.” And on June 15 at 11:00 AM EDT, Young Voices will come together for the “biggest sing” of the Bill Withers’ classic “Lovely Day.” NAfME has also provided classroom materials for MIOSM that teachers can share with their students as they celebrate how “Music. The Sound of My Heart” connects with students and communities. All of these items are available at nafme.org/MIOSM.

Music In Our Schools Month® and MIOSM® are trademarks of NAfME, and may not be used for fundraising or materials produced for profit.

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National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 60,000 members teaching millions of students nationwide, the organization is the national voice for music education in the United States.

Follow NAfME on Twitter (twitter.com/nafme) and on Facebook (facebook.com/nafme).
For additional information, contact Catherina Hurlburt at catherinah@nafme.org or 703-860-4000.

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