Arts and Advocacy
I am only one
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
Edward Everett Hale
A Note from TMTA for Students
We are pleased that you are choosing to participate in music lessons. Music lessons are a lifetime investment. Scientists have uncovered the first concrete evidence that playing music can significantly enhance the brain and sharpen hearing for all kinds of sounds, including speech. "Experience with music appears to help with many other things in life, potentially transferring to activities like reading or picking up nuances in tones of voices or hearing sounds in a noisy classroom better," researcher Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University, told LiveScience.
Further tests indicate that students who had participated in music scored significantly higher on verbal memory tests than their classmates who had not. Medical research and reports from business schools and corporations increasingly acknowledge the long-term impact of serious music study on health and business skills.
Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA), the professional association for independent and collegiate music teachers in Texas, supports these findings.
An Open Letter to Teachers from the MTNA Executive Director
During the month of March, arts advocacy takes center stage as myriad arts organizations converge in Washington D.C. to encourage governmental support of the arts. In fact, MTNA is a national co-sponsor of Arts Advocacy Day in our nation’s capital on March 14. MTNA joins with Americans for the Arts and dozens of other national organizations to ensure that funding and arts-friendly public policies are adopted at the federal, state, and local levels.
As an independent or collegiate music teacher, you may sometimes question the effect on your day-to-day professional life of these public advocacy efforts. But be assured there is a dynamic connection between, for example, public music instruction, which is directly impacted, and your private studios. In fact, our futures are intimately connected, for if music and the arts are just “frills” in the public sector, then music instruction in the private sector will be adversely impacted. MTNA will remain a staunch supporter at the national level. But our resolve is not sufficient. You must be personally involved and advocating for music and the arts in your sphere of influence.
Here are some ideas and resources you may find helpful in your advocacy efforts:
1. Every conversation about your work is an opportunity to change the way your work is perceived. Be passionate, be informed and be unapologetic.
2. The MTNA publication Community Outreach and Education for the Arts Handbook. A handbook for promoting music and the other arts in our schools and communities. Includes updated information sources as well as a fill-in-the-blank template designed to help IMTs accumulate and organize information about various community resources.
3. Websites devoted to advocacy:
A public service of the Music Education Coalition. MTNA is a supporting organization. Up-to-date information on music and learning, help from experts and how to start a coalition.
AMC 's goal is to build credibility for music and music education, especially at an early age, and to expand that portion of the population that enjoys and makes its own music. Website contains articles, music advocacy resources and latest research.
Artslynx is designed as a portal to the best information on the arts available on the web. Material is specifically optimized for educators, students, and professionals working in the arts. Also features “Arts on the Line” – tools for arts advocates, including articles and extensive list of “links,” and speeches.
Americans for the Arts is a leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With more than 40 years of service, it is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.
ArtsMarketing.org is a resource for teachers and students in arts administration/arts management programs and for all members of the arts community, across all artistic disciplines. Through ArtsMarketing.org, artistic peers and marketing professionals address daily marketing needs and longer-term marketing issues for those working in the area of arts advocacy and music education.
The California Arts Council works for a broad public understanding of, and appreciation for, the positive impact the arts play in enriching cultural, economic, and intellectual life in their communities and schools. Website includes usable information for any state, not just California.
4. Build a coalition in your community with other arts advocates – teachers, church musicians, etc.
I promise you our total commitment. But it will amount to little without your personal involvement. While you are only one, your efforts, interest, and work in the area of arts advocacy are crucial to our successes at all levels.
As we work together, personally and in partnership with other arts organizations, we will fulfill our mission “to advance the value of music study and music making “ to everyone in our country.
Gary L. Ingle