As the years pass, music in the school system becomes even more endangered. Since this program doesn’t bring in as much money as athletics, it often gets cut along with the art programs in many schools. This can be a huge problem for our young minds, which is why so many people are standing up to try to keep music in public schools for good. March is actually Keep Music in School Months, which makes it a great time to stand up and do your part to help keep these programs thriving. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend a small fortune to do this. Rather, there are many frugal ways to help keep music in schools that actually won’t cut into your time or budget. So, check out these ten tips so you can be ready to make the most out of Music in School Month.
One of the best ways to do your part doesn’t require any money at all. All you have to do is volunteer your time to a school in need. Most schools could really use a helper in the classroom and on field trips. More often than not, programs end up getting cut because they can’t hire enough people to keep the program thriving. If more people stepped in to do the work for free then they would be able to host more band trips, teach more students and maybe even put on a concert or two. You don’t have to be talented in regards to music either as many schools just need someone to help keep an eye on the large number of students. However, if you do have some musical expertise then it won’t hurt to let your school know you can help in other ways too. You may be asked to help tutor students that are struggling with their instrument, or, if you’re qualified to be a substitute, you may be asked to step in from time to time to help when a teacher is ill or is supervising students in a competition.
2. Set Up Fundraisers
Fundraisers are a tried and true way to help out struggling programs in the school. The best thing is, you can base your fundraiser around things that you enjoy doing. For instance, if you’re a baker then host a bake sale. You may even send out flyers to other parents to see if anyone else will donate something to go towards the school’s music program. If you like to be active and the weather is nice then host a car wash. This usually has a great turn out and the kids in the music program can lend a helping hand too. You might even consider selling your own things to give a little bit more to the program. Another great idea is to call for the community to donate old instruments. These can even be fixed up by the community if you know the right people. The options are endless, so have a little fun with it.
3. Write Legislators
Our government puts the power in the hands of the people, which means it is up to you to express your need for something. If the schoolboard is planning on cutting funds to your music program, then don’t sit by idly. Look up your legislators’ offices and write to them or even call them. Don’t give in after a few unanswered letters either. Instead, keep writing to make sure your voice is heard. You should also work to inspire others to do the same thing. The more the issue is brought to the eye of the legislators, the more likely they will take the time our of their day to address the issue. It might even allow you to save the music program in your area.
4. Host a Rally
Getting attention to the issue is one of the best ways to get help. If you’re looking to make a scene to get noticed, then hosting a peaceful rally is one of the best things to do. To begin with you, you will need to get permission from the school if you plan on hosting there, if not then you need the permission of the city to host the rally in public areas. Once you have this, then you can start by encouraging teachers, students and parents to participate. Gather everyone together to make signs and come up with cute slogans to chant. Once everything is organized, get a hold of the local media so you will get even more coverage. Even if your rally doesn’t get the attention of the school board, it might draw in donations and sponsors that are much needed.
5. Look for Sponsorship
Sponsorship is another great way to save a school’s music program. Every year, there are many competitions to help a school get sponsored. If your school isn’t quite ready for this exposure, then don’t fret. There are actually many great businesses, foundations and individuals willing to sponsor without a competition. All you need to do is apply for these sponsorships to be considered. You might begin your journey by looking locally. You may not find a sponsor for the full program, but every little bit does help. After searching locally, move your search on to statewide sponsorships and then national sponsorships. You might end up having to place advertisements in your programs or on your uniforms, but it will be worth it to have the kids enjoying music again.
6. Support Programs
Believe it or not, but there are many national programs that are designed to help give schools around the country the support they need to be successful. For instance, when you walk intp Hot Topic, you can give a donation simply by rounding your purchase up to the next dollar. Another option is to work with VH1s Save the Music Program. This program has been around for years and is designed to give a new school each year funding. There’s also programs like the Mr. Holland’s Opus fund, which helps schools to keep music alive. Some programs even cater to certain groups, like the Girls Rock Foundation. There are so many to choose from, so make sure you do your research to see which one works best for you.
7. Donate Supplies
One of the main things schools need is supplies to keep their programs growing strong. In some areas, students can’t afford to purchase or rent instruments. With a low turnout in this regard many programs have no choice but to end funding as there simply aren’t enough students to make it worthwhile. By donating your old instruments, you can give a child the chance to play the music they love despite their financial situation. Apart from that, sheet music is also a great thing to donate. May it be blank sheets for competition, or music for students to practice on, every little bit can go a long way. Accessories for keeping up with the instruments is also great, especially when it comes to reeds or even instrument cleaners. Anything you give can help make a child’s dreams come true.
8. Encourage Participation
Participation is a huge factor when it comes to the music program. The more children that are involved in the program, the more funding they are likely to get. If you have a low turn out in band, orchestra and choir then it will be hard to convince the education board to hand over funds to keep it going. One way to help avoid this is to get the word out about the program. Pass out flyers at the school to encourage students to join. Many students don’t know it’s an option for them, so they don’t bother signing up. You might also want to consider starting music clubs. This will peak interest and make students feel like they belong in the music program. You might also inspire the school to create advertisements for the program which can be played in the morning announcements. It can also be fun to have the band perform for the students to help show the fun everyone has while playing. There’s no limit as to how far you can go to help students see the program is a great concept.
9. Join PTA
If you’re a parent wanting to put up the fight for the music program in your school, then joining the PTA is one of the best things you can possibly do. This is where many of the school’s decisions are made, so if the PTA doesn’t believe the music program is an asset then you might have some trouble getting the school board on your side. While you’re at your PTA meetings make sure you keep everyone informed as to what the benefit of music is in the school. There are lots of brochures you can download to back up your debates too, which should help everyone see that you are fighting for their children’s best interests.
10. Start at Home
Of course, one of the best places to begin your mission is your own home. It is important that your children are able to see how important music in for their brain development and creativity. With your child already interested in music, they may be willing to join the music program at school. This enthusiasm can be contagious and might have his or her friends wanting to follow suit. Even if this isn’t the case, having your child engrossed in a world of music will help them grow to be well-rounded individuals with plenty of outlets to help them lead happy lives.
For years, music has been in jeopardy of being cut in the public school system. These tips will help you fight for the school’s rights to have such programs thriving in their schools. It might take a bit of a battle, but if you’re successful then you will have done your child and many others a huge favor.