Advocacy

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The purpose of the Virginia Music Educators Association, Inc. (VMEA) is to promote quality music education throughout the Commonwealth by providing leadership, instructional resources and professional development opportunities for Virginia’s music educators.

VMEA advocates and supports music education in all of its forms across the Commonwealth. Current VMEA membership averages 2500 members including Active Members, Retired Members and Collegiate and Pre-Service Members.

VMEA is actively involved in the support of Music Educators at every level from Pre-K through University.

Why Music Education?

Reading, writing and performing music is one of the exclusive activities that actively engage not only the mind and body, but both hemispheres of the brain.

VDOE has identified 5 “C’s” that are essential skills for a graduate to be successful. Study in a music performance class meets every one of these criteria

  • Critical Thinking - Music is not one- dimensional, it involves perceptual skills, cognitive skills as well as motor skills. When students demonstrate musical knowledge, they are able in integrate their perspectives while expressing themselves in creating, performing and/or analyzing musical works. The art of music making is multi-dimensional and involves perceptual, cognitive and motor skills that interact and play a role in intelligence and thinking abilities.
  • Creative Thinking - Music is creative at every step: creation, process interpretation and performance. Students integrate ideas while creating new works as well as their expression each time they perform.  They demonstrate knowledge and choices when arranging, orchestrating, improvising and using technology in musical compositions and performances.
  • Collaboration - Music ensembles are groups of collaborators, working together regularly, which require goal setting, problem solving, and project and performance agreement. The discipline and synergy that these groups foster create the life skills of leadership, decision-making and self-awareness.  they constantly demonstrate collective problem-solcing skills for all aspects of life.
  • Communication - Music is the mediator of human relationships and is a direct expression of human emotions.  When students communicate the language of music to their audiences through response to a conductor and/or their personal interpretation, they demonstrate their interpersonal skills of decision-making, identity and expressiveness.
  • Citizenship - Music is an inclusive and engaging service to our schools and communities through public performances.Through music individuals are encourage to think more deeply and critically abouth the world theye live in. They are exposed to the many culture and style of music that exist in our global world.

Advocacy Resources

8 Steps to Successful Advocacy

 Step 1 – Coming Together

  • Take a team approach to advocacy, if possible get your entire department on board
  • Be an advocate for your program NOT an activist. No administration will fault you for being an advocate; however, no administration will tolerate you be an activist.

Step 2 – Setting the Objective

  • Be an educator in regards to your advocacy. Advocacy is teaching someone about an issue important to you!
  • Develop objectives using data whenever possible

Step 3 – Getting the Facts

  • Advocacy depends on a strong analysis of the situation. What are the facts on both sides of the issue.
  • Support your analysis with research with the best information available. If you hit a roadblock, reach out to your local collegiate program for assistance.

Step 4 – Deciding Who You Are Trying to Influence

  • Determine who has the authority to make decisions
  • Develop a position statement that is tailored to who the decision-makers are. The Virginia Coalition for Fine Arts Education has actual position statements on a wide variety of topics that you can use.

Step 5 – Determine What Decision Can Be Influenced

  • Understand the context and constraints on the decision-maker. If this is a budget matter, where do YOU propose the funds should come from?
  • Understand timing has implications on getting things done. Poor timing can doom advocacy efforts. Understand that your timeline may not be theirs.

Step 6 – Build Alliances and Coalitions

  • Set up a meeting with the decision makers. Build relationships and meet face to face whenever possible.  Present your case as “Wanting to be part of the solution, not part of the problem”. 
  • Working together is likely to achieve the best results
  • Parents are your best advocates for your program. Solicit input and support from your parents and/or parent groups. 

Step 7 – Methods of Advocacy

  • No matter the issue make sure the message and objectives are clear and concise. State the issue and have a solution that is practical in nature.  If fact have several solutions.  Present your ideal solution first and if that is dismissed out of hand, have a fall back solution.  One that provides for compromise.
  • Make the issue is about service to students, put your interests last. You interests are best served when students and their music education are the priority.  Don’t make the message about you and your job, make it about the students and the program.  You and your job will follow.
  • Develop a compelling case using data whenever possible
  • Make sure the message is clear, understandable and provides a solution to the issue at hand
  • Invite the decision makers to read or present at a concert or performance. Write letters, make phone calls, present your case during public comments.
  • Seek ongoingdialogue

Step 8 –Review and Adjust

Resources:

Contact Information

Requests for VMEA information should be addressed to the State Executive. All postings to this site must be made through your section president. Any problems with the website need to be addressed to the webmaster. 

© Copyright VMEA 2019. All Right Reserved

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