Arts Advocacy and Awareness
Statement from our Forum Chair
I am honored to serve as the Arts Advocacy and Awareness Forum Chair. I believe the health of the arts depends upon some form of active advocacy engagement by each and every one of us. This page contains materials that can help you in your efforts to advocate for the performing arts. I encourage you to peruse this resource section – it may inspire you to become more active and effective as an arts advocate.
- Provide arts advocacy and awareness materials as a resource for our membership to learn from and use in their promotion and support of the performing arts
- Promote diversity, equality, accessibility, and empowerment in all arts advocacy and awareness initiatives
- Maintain and further develop the list of arts advocacy materials found on this NCMTA website
- Develop a list of arts advocacy activities or projects our members are creating or involved in throughout our state — it may help inspire and engage others
- Maintain an arts advocacy and awareness presence at our state conferences by way of presentations and materials
- Encourage active membership participation and initiatives to help expand this site through the sharing of ideas, discussion, and materials
Questions and Answers
- As music teachers and performers, how might we become more effective advocates of the arts? You might start by making a goal of specifically advocating for your profession (no matter how) perhaps once a week or whenever an occasion may call for it.
- Are your students developing an awareness of the importance of and reasons for arts advocacy? You could introduce them to the idea of music advocacy in their lessons. You might ask them to apply the benefits of linking good music practice habits to good study habits in school or to consider transferring problem-solving skills learned through music study to non-music applications. And then continue by telling them that those kinds of beneficial interconnections make powerful arguments for the study of music in any music advocacy discussion.
- How might we involve ourselves and our students in an arts advocacy project? Perhaps by creating a recital format in which students not only perform their pieces, but speak briefly about how studying and performing music may have helped them develop skills which they now consciously and constructively use in other areas of life.
I. Books Which Support Arts Advocacy and Awareness
- Arts Awareness: A Fieldbook for Awakening Creative Consciousness in Everyday Life. Patricia Hoy, GIA Publications, 2015. This book explores how to apply the tools of arts professionals – imagination, practice, focus, point of view, expression, and more – to all areas of the arts and to daily life. The music advocate will find much of value in this book.
- The Transposed Musician: Teaching Universal Skills to Improve Performance and Benefit Life. Dylan Savage, GIA Publications, 2020. This is the first book to provide a systematic and comprehensive method for teaching universal skills within the context of the music lesson. It strongly supports the mission of arts advocacy by making clear that the performing arts are a highly effective platform for deep-learning universal skills. Universal skills are critical to perform at one’s best, no matter what the application.
- Beyond the Conservatory Model: Reimagining Classical Music Performance Training in Higher Music Education. Michael Stepniak and Peter Sirotin, Routledge, 2020. The authors examine ways in which music performance training in higher education could be reimagined to better anticipate and shape the future. Numerous nationally-known thought leaders in music were interviewed and quoted. If we are to become effective music advocates, books such as this one can help push us to think and imagine more broadly to that end.
- Everything We Needed to Know About Business We Learned Playing Music. Craig M. Cortello, La Dolce Vita Publishing, 2009. Thirty-two business professionals write personal accounts of how the study of music in their early years played a significant role in their success later in life. These well-written and heartfelt testimonials make for a powerful music advocacy resource.
- Making Music and Enriching Lives: A Guide for All Music Teachers. Bonnie Blanchard and Cynthia Blanchard Acree, Indiana University Press, 2007. The Blanchard sisters write about their practice of infusing life lessons in the music lesson. It’s a great book to keep in mind while helping parents understand and appreciate more fully the importance of and need for music lessons in the overall development and education of their children.
- Play It from the Heart: What You Learn from Music about Success in Life. J. Steven Moore, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2011. Moore links the study of music to success in life. This is another book showing the music–life connection and a fine resource for the music advocate wishing to bolster their platform.
II. Arts Advocacy Websites, Reports, Materials, etc.
- Americans for the Arts (www.artsusa.org / www.americansforthearts.org). This fifty year old arts organization is focused upon advancing the arts and arts education in the U.S. and perhaps one of the best, most comprehensive sites for arts advocacy and awareness. Their site is a treasure trove of information on all things arts advocacy.
- National Arts Education Association Advocacy (www.naea-reston.org). Ten major resources are provided to help you advocate for arts education with accompanying links.
- Association of Performing Arts Professionals (www.apap365.org). This is the national service, advocacy, and membership organization for performing arts presenting, booking, and touring. As teachers, we prepare students for lives as performers and teachers. This site is a valuable resource in which to gain insights into the current world of music professionals working in the performing arts. Herein, a broad array of topics may be found such as: Navigating Uncertain Futures with Scenario Planning and The Black-Indigenous/Afro-Indigenous Experience.
- National Association for Music Education (www.nafme.org). This organization is a major force in music education, filled with research, resources, and ideas. Of special interest in this site, see: Twenty Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools. They also offer many advocacy resources including an email address dedicated to answering arts advocacy questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
- National Arts Advocacy Campaigns: Overview of Case Studies and Good Practice
(media.ifacca.org/files/Dart16advocacy.pdf). This comprehensive report is filled with some 60-plus pages of information, including: key findings on arts advocacy campaigns, good campaign practices, case studies, communication and advertising materials, etc.
- The Performing Arts Alliance (www.theperformingartsalliance.org). If you wish to become seriously involved in arts advocacy where you are informing elected officials, the public, and the media about the importance of the performing arts, the information on this site is highly recommended. You will find topics such as: Advocacy 101: Lobbying Demystified; Building a Case; Get Involved: Individuals and Organizations, etc.
- National Endowment for the Arts (www.NEA.org). This federal agency funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of communities. It gives Americans funding, through grants, to participate in the arts and exercise their imaginations and creativity.
- Arts North Carolina (www.artsnc.org). This organization’s primary function is to provide advocacy training, organization, strategy, and events that create a dynamic, united, and powerful grassroots voice for the arts in North Carolina. You will find a comprehensive list of NC sponsors – important sources with whom you may wish to connect.
- National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (www.nasaa-arts.org). This is a valuable resource which provides contact information to all state arts agencies throughout the U.S.
- Arts and Science (www.artsandscience.org). This NC organization is based in Charlotte and funds many arts projects (of all kinds) each year.
- National Association of Music Merchants (www.NAMMfoundation.org). The NAMM Foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. It has an extensive section on “Why Music Matters” including specific research on the effects of music training – including on how music changes the brain by making tangible impacts on listening skills, learning, and cognition. It also is the leading conference
that showcases products used in the music industry (instruments, software, etc.). This site offers, among many things pertinent to music advocacy, a high quality color music advocacy brochure called Why Play Music?
- The Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (www.apaso.org). This is a membership group of organizations from around the world with a mission of providing services for arts organizations and artists, including best practices in: marketing, audience development, professional development, advocacy, and other support for artists and arts organizations.
- National Association of Music Parents (www.amparents.org). This is a wonderful site for tools to communicate the importance of music and the arts such as preconcert presentations on video and articles on how to educate a school board – just for starters.
- Music for All (www.musicforall.org). A quote from their site reads, “Music for All is committed to providing the most comprehensive resource center supporting the cause of music and arts education.” This site offers a tremendous array of up-to-date materials and videos on music advocacy.
- League of American Orchestras (www.americanorchestras.org). This organization is dedicated to helping policies that increase public access to orchestral music and includes links to “virtually every useful resource” to that end.
- International Society for Music Education (www.isme.org). This site offers a wide range of current resources, talks, research on music advocacy.
- Texas Music Educators Association (www.tmea.org). This site has a treasure trove of print-ready materials supporting the cause of music study which you may use for your studio.
- The Royal Conservatory of Music – Canada (www.rcmusic.ca). Their website presents a wide array
of information and studies in support of music education that is well worth a visit.
- Children’s Music Workshop (www.childrensmusicworkshop.com). This music advocacy site lists close to 90 articles and videos in support of music education.
- artradarjournal.com This site contains good ideas and strategies for how to create art awareness in society. Although the site’s material is geared more toward the visual arts, it can easily be adapted for use with the performing arts. Here, one will find a wide array of answers to arts awareness-related questions.
- mtna.org Don’t forget to check out the MTNA site’s Arts Awareness and Advocacy page – it’s a great source. To locate, click Explore MTNA on the main page and then click on the AA&A page.
- artseducators.org is the website of the National Arts Education Association which contains a treasure trove of arts advocacy tips and downloads.
- youngaudiences.org This site covers advocacy and policy and its integration
Taking it Further
The lists above includes some of the very best-known arts advocacy sites – however, it is far from comprehensive. The web is filled with arts awareness and advocacy resources, far too many to list here. Every state has many performing arts organizations whose sites are very much worth perusing. Do explore!
Ideas for teachers to use in their arts awareness and advocacy efforts
- If you haven’t already, place a list of benefits gained by the study of music (and their sources) on your
website and on any hardcopy materials that you use. Make sure to update the list and keep it relevant.
Please feel free to use any ideas and sources found on the NCMTA Arts Awareness and Advocacy page.
- Act in small, daily increments regarding your arts advocacy goals. One sentence here or a well-placed
statement there on the benefits of music study in the right moment is a far less daunting task than the
creation of some big arts advocacy project. This approach may help your efforts become more
achievable, effective, and long-term.
- Our students can become some of our best and most effective advocates for music. Here are
a few ideas for how they may contribute:
- Ask each of your students to give a short, verbal statement about how the study of
music has benefitted them in some aspect of their life before they play their piece in
one of your studio recitals. At the end of each recital, a roomful of parents, relatives,
and friends have heard 15 or 20 personal accounts on the benefits of music study. This
can be a powerful music advocacy event without ever naming it as such. Imagine this
addition taking place in every fall and spring studio recital across America and the
world! Could it contribute to a positive, seismic shift in the general perception of the
role of music in education?
- Encourage your students to prepare at least two informative statements which
clearly articulate the benefits of music study. Coach them on a good verbal delivery and help them identify instances where it would be appropriate and effective to interject them. In doing so, you will be helping your students to become effective and life-long music advocates
- Ask your students to consider making arts awareness and advocacy a topic for a school paper or an oral report. Ask to read a draft or two and consider giving suggestions to help your student make a more compelling argument for why music and all the arts are so important to an overall education.
- Ask each of your students to give a short, verbal statement about how the study of
- Most music teachers espouse the wide-ranging skill development inherent in learning an instrument
and its benefits to all of life. How might that philosophy play a bigger, more concrete role in the weekly
music lesson and how might it also contribute more toward the role and success of music advocacy?
- How might creating a music advocacy goal help to maintain freshness and excitement in your daily
teaching routine? Could it be done in such a way as to not become just another task?
Please contact me with your thoughts, ideas, and how I might add to or improve this site. I am available for talks, presentations, and demonstrations on a wide variety of arts advocacy and awareness topics.
Dylan Savage, DM
Professor of Piano
University of North Carolina at Charlotte