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Empowering Our Educators

Comprehensive Music Education Fosters Well-Rounded Students

Photos: Courtesy of Victoria Chamberlin and Event Coverage Nashville

Denise Odegaard

President, National Association for Music Education (NAfME)

Music can positively change the culture of a school, enrich a community and instill skills in students to become creative and innovative members of society.

Enriching the curriculum

The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 signaled a new era for education in which ensuring a “well-rounded education” for all students is critical. For the first time in history, “music” was enumerated as a stand-alone subject necessary for a well-rounded education.

At the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), we support music educators who — along with their colleagues in K-12 schools — work on behalf of all students to ensure they have the opportunity to express themselves creatively, collaborate with their peers, communicate with each other and audiences, and think critically.

Unearthing confidence

During my years as a music educator, I witnessed students grow in confidence to achieve more than they dreamed possible because of the skills learned through the processes of creating and performing music. The power of music to connect non-verbally to others; the need to problem-solve and adapt to others instantaneously during rehearsals and performances; and the grit practiced in perfecting a performance all preface the success of a student in the future. Students learn about the culture and humanity of our society through music-making and understand how music relates to other courses such as history, science, language arts and math.

Working together in their professional learning communities, music educators bring a valuable perspective on why creativity in education matters for preparing our students to be ready to take on challenges of the future about which we are not even yet aware.

The communities and school districts that recognize the importance of music education by providing standards-based, sequential music programs for all students are actively working to not only boost their students‘ success rates, but also their confidence.

Denese Odegaard, President, National Association for Music Education (NAfME), [email protected]

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