Arts Advocacy Experts Urge Support of Arts Education

Talking Up Music Education is a podcast from The NAMM Foundation about music education. Several episodes, recorded live from The 2017 NAMM Show, highlight arts advocacy and urge support of theater arts, dance, drama, visual arts, and music

Episodes include interviews with: David Dik, the national executive director of Young Audiences Arts for Learning (episode 21); Jeff Poulin, arts education program manager at Americans for the Arts (episode 24); Jane Best, director of Arts Education Partnership (episode 25); and Heather Noonan, vice president for advocacy for the League of American Orchestras (episode 26).

“As a child, I completely took for granted the amazing access I had to music and the arts,” said Jane Best. “Then when you get on the other end of it and you see other children aren’t given the same benefits that we all are, you truly are motivated to make sure that every child has access to a well-rounded education that includes music and the arts.”

Talking Up Music Education guests stressed the importance of arts standards, as well as offered guidance for how to increase public school arts education programs—and maintain strong coalitions to engage national music and arts education advocacy efforts.

Sound Bites

“If we have equitable policies that favor students who are systematically disadvantaged, we really achieve the ultimate goal of making sure that all students are learning in ways that reach them in their own circumstance, regardless of zip code or race or gender or financial situation, to be able to learn through the arts.” -Jeff Poulin

“One way that the arts education advocacy community pivoted was to not just think about the arts ecosystem, but to put our perspective in the context of the education ecosystem. And that’s where the working group started to align more closely with non-arts-specific education organizations representing elementary and secondary school principals, teachers, to really make sure that what we were doing was advancing a complete education, not just a complete art and music education.” – Heather Noonan

“And without a doubt, the percussionist that can influence somebody else to be a percussionist, that’s a great story. Those students will be members of a community…[and] they become the voice to say how important the arts are.” – David Dik

 “State plans are happening, districts are operationalizing their ideas, and if you’re not getting into the conversation and having conversations with people… then things are going to move forward without you.” – Jane Best

“I’ll start by saying that I think there’s a lot of tension in the country about what might be coming, is a big question mark for the future in the policies of our new administration and the next chapter of life in the United States…Nine out of ten Americans believe that the arts are part of a well-rounded education that should be in our schools for every student in the country, and that only is validated by the fact that our Congress, in a bipartisan effort, passed the new Every Student Succeeds Act, which will supersede this administration, but what we can’t do is we can’t become complacent.” – Jeff Poulin

“As a former music educator…we carry the water, as it were, from place to place and think about this connection of the arts and how they enrich student learning and enrich teaching, but with it, we’re multilingual, and this is a really important language to have as part of that work.”- David Dik



Talking Up Music Education is a podcast produced by The NAMM Foundation about music education. Host Mary Luehrsen chats with teachers, parents, students and community leaders who share stories about what they are doing to create music learning opportunities. Please download, share and subscribe to keep up with the stories that make a difference in music education advocacy.