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2014 NAMM D.C. Fly-In

Christian Wissmuller • Upfront • March 23, 2014

NAMM members prepare to hit Washington D.C., making case for comprehensive school music education programs. Leaders of the music product industry, celebrity artists, and other industry influencers join together encouraging congressional leaders to support music education for all children. Registration is now open to current NAMM Members for the annual D.C. Fly-In, May 19-21, 2014.

“Encouraging more young people to play music benefits the entire industry and reaching out through the education system is the most important way to reach tens of millions of students,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “Going to D.C to lobby our elected officials and policy makers is the privilege and responsibility we all share living in a democratic society. NAMM Members who have participated come away with a profound sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the opportunity to have their voice heard.”

The D.C. Fly-In coincides with school budget season, when schools and districts decide where to allocate annual resources. Music education programs are frequently among the first to be adversely affected when schools are faced with budget shortfalls. Yet research and educators alike assert that music education contributes to student’s overall success in school and life.

The advocacy effort kicks off on Monday with a day of service at D.C.’s Savoy Elementary School, which is part of the President’s Committee and Arts and Humanities (PCAH) Turnaround Arts initiative. Turnaround Arts is an effort to infuse the nation's lowest performing elementary schools with arts programs, including music. NAMM members will bring musical instruments to the school for a day of making music.

Tuesday’s advocacy training at the Kennedy Center will apprise NAMM delegates of current issues facing public school music programs. That evening at the Library of Congress NAMM honors Turnaround Arts at an exclusive dinner. On Wednesday, advocacy kicks into high gear as NAMM members head to Capitol Hill to advocate directly to Members of Congress. NAMM delegates will stress the significance and legislation necessary to ensure that every child has access to comprehensive music education.

Past Fly-In participants consider the experience galvanizing and inspirational. “Being a part of the NAMM Fly-In was transformative for me both professionally and personally,” said Liz Reisman, owner of Connecticut’s Creative Music Center. “It was an honor to represent our industry, meeting face-to-face with members of Congress to advocate for the cause about which we all feel so passionate. It became clear as the trip progressed just how much our being there physically allowed us to humanize the cause and therefore magnify the message. I left Washington not only with a better idea of how to be a more effective advocate for music education in my community, but also with a renewed clarity and sense of purpose for why I am in this business.”

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