Joe Lamond President and CEO of NAMM (Left) and Alun Hughes Managing Director of British Band Instrument Company (Right) on their visit to Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.
Following our recent articles on the importance of children retaining curriculum-based music as part of the school day, Alun Hughes of MIA Member BBICO tells us what he learnt at the recent NAMM Advocacy fly-in…
Alun Hughes, Managing Director of the British Band Instrument Company joined nearly 100 music industry leaders, notable artists and arts education activists from the United States to advocate for all school-aged children to have access to quality, comprehensive school music education programs. As part of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Advocacy Fly-In, held May 21-24, the delegation met with Members of Congress and other policy stakeholders to reinforce the importance of music as part of a well-rounded education.
Alun explained: “I’m currently serving a three-year term as a Board Member with NAMM. Based in the United Kingdom I am one of the few non-Americans privileged to serve on the NAMM Board during its 117-year existence. I wanted to get a better understanding of support for music education in the world’s largest market for music products. During the meetings, it was quite apparent to me how the importance of music as part of a well-rounded education is readily accepted by the influential politicians in the United States as a result of the efforts by the NAMM organisation. This allows me to make a better contribution to my commitment to the NAMM Board”.
Hughes was prepared for his efforts by participating in advocacy training, during which he and fellow music industry leaders were apprised of current issues facing the US public school music programs and briefed on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); a landmark in federal education policy, which places more emphasis on a well-rounded education – including music – and gives more decision-making to states and local districts. A variety of policy and arts leaders briefed the group, including the Arts Education Partnership, the Education Commission on the States, the Country Music Association, and Turnaround Arts. At the morning meeting, Music Matters, a new compilation of research was released by the Arts Education Partnership, the Country Music Association, and The NAMM Foundation. The research piece underscores a variety of academic and behavioral benefits such as increased focus, managing and navigating problems, and enhanced memory and vocabulary development than non-musicians.
During his visit he joined The NAMM Foundation in awarding the SupportMusic Champion Award to Congressional Representative Suzanne Bonamici. The award was presented in recognition of the Representative’s tireless work, and strong support of music education, including her lead role in the 2015 passage of the bipartisan ESSA. The Representative is also the founder and co-chair of the Congressional STEAM Caucus (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), a bipartisan group which recognizes the benefits of the arts and sciences in developing critical thinking skills for success in career and life.
In addition to the advocacy work, Alun attended a special reception on Wednesday, May 24 in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol that brought together arts advocates and policymakers and underscored the importance of continuing to advocate for all children to have access to music education.
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