Arts education leaders, advocates and educators from across the nation responded to an invitation from Music for All to help it identify priorities and supporting initiatives for its next strategic plan. More than 40 persons assembled with Music for All board and staff on September 11 to hear first hand from key stakeholders and advocates in the field of scholastic music and arts education. The board of directors, executive leadership and sponsors of Music for All are now focusing on those and other new ideas recently proposed for the organization’s future, largely highlighting the need for more inclusive programming and an expansion of resources to further both reach and access of scholastic music education.
More than a dozen participants active in the arts and representing various community sizes, ethnic and economic demographics offered TED Talk-style presentations pitching new priorities, ultimately underscoring the need for program development at the elementary level and a stronger focus on underserved communities. Proposing a devotion of resources to offer grants that reduce or eliminate participation fees, speakers emphasized the importance of an encompassing “music for all” approach.
“We recently passed the halfway point of our current strategic plan and feel now is the right time to begin planning and focusing on the future and what’s next for the organization,” said Music for All President and CEO Eric Martin. “We are experiencing unprecedented growth and success in our programming and organizational development, and are well ahead of plan on delivery or current strategic objectives. Our plans and actions should be bold, focused and inspire positive action and change.”
· Scott Lang – Scott Lang Leadership
· Randy Greenwell and Matt James – Directors of Bands, Lawrence Central High School, Indianapolis
· Richard Floyd – State Director of Music at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin Symphonic Band conductor
· Corey Bonds – Director of Bands at Glasgow High School in Glasgow, Ky.,
· Bob Phillips – Director of String Publications for Alfred Music, American String Teachers Association President
· Pam Phillips – Managing Editor, Suzuki and String Acquisition for Alfred Music
· Dr. Scott Dorsey – Director of Education and Communication, American Choir Directors Association
· James Seda – Director of Bands, Southwest DeKalb High School in Dekalb, Ga.
· Richard Saucedo – former Director of Bands, Carmel High School, Carmel, Ind., and educational consultant for Music for All
· Robert W. Smith – composer, arranger, faculty at Troy State University in Alabama
· Susan Smith – Director of Bands, St. James School in Alabama and educational consultant for Music for All
· Michael Kumer – BoardsMTO, Interim Executive Director at PANO, a nonprofit organizational management firm
“Our programming currently extends nationally to include direct service to 70,000 student musicians and is presented annually before audiences exceeding 300,000,” said Martin. “Yet, the needs and challenges to music education, student access and participation remain numerous and daunting. We want to learn, be inspired and called to action by our stakeholders. This is what enables us to chart a future course to advance our mission and ensure the validity of our vision.”