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How to Get Your School to Buy You a Piano

Posted by on in Resources for Music Teachers
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If a program is finding itself without a proper budget, there are some ways to counteract, rise above and fund aspects of the program. The first thing to do is to check the “Facilities Budget” of the school to see what it has been spent on in recent years. This is a line item of the overall budget reserved for expenses that benefit the whole school. For example, a piano to be placed in the school auditorium or on the school stage, can be purchased through a “Facilities Budget”.

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Other items such as PA systems, stage lights, amplifiers and other performance-based electronics are also eligible as long as they are available for school assemblies and other school programs. Other items such as choral risers are marginal as they may or may not be used for the “overall benefit of the school”.

What about fundraising?

Fundraising is a great way to supplement funding but can certainly not replace it. However if there is an avenue to raise funds as a community, then it could be a perfect opportunity to see what can be regarding music education in your school. While school budgets are voted on by the public, the public only votes on the overall budget. It is up to the discretion of the Superintendent and the Board of Education to decide how it is spent. Sometimes a little word of mouth goes a long way. While a budget may have been voted down, the music education program most certainly was not!

Here are the top books out there which can be used as tools of Music Education Advocacy for School Administrators:

And here is a TOP TEN of the best points from those books:

1. Surveys show that a majority of parents believes the arts are as important as reading, writing, math, science, history, or geography. Most parents want their children to have more experience with the arts than they had when they were young. – Louis Harris, Americans and the Arts VI, 1992.

2. Students in two Rhode Island elementary schools who were given an enriched, sequential, skill-building music program showed marked improvement in reading and math skills. Students in the music program who had started out behind the control group achieved statistical equality in reading and pulled ahead in math. -Gardiner, Fox, Jeffrey, and Knowles, Nature, May 23, 1996.

3. Over nine in ten adults (93%) surveyed agree that music is part of a well-rounded education. – Americans’ Attitudes Toward Music, The Gallup Organization, 1997.

4. The Kettle Moraine school district in Wales, Wisconsin is requiring piano lessons for all K-5 pupils after seeing encouraging results from a district pilot program. District officials based their pilot program on research findings that show music training – specifically piano instruction – is far superior to computer instruction in enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills. – Karen Abercrombie, Education Week, October 14, 1998.

5. The arts are recognized as a core subject in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act approved by both houses of Congress in 1994. – National Education Goals Panel.

6. A two-year Swiss study involving 1,200 children in 50 schools showed that students involved in the music program were better at languages, learned to read more easily, showed an improved social climate, demonstrated more enjoyment in school, and had a lower stress level than non-music students. – E.W. Weber, M. Spychiger, and J.L. Patry, 1993.

7. Research shows when the arts are included in a student’s curriculum, reading, writing, and math scores improve. – J. Buchen Milley, A. Oderlund, and J. Mortarotti, “The Arts: An Essential Ingredient in Education,” The California Council of the Fine Arts Deans.

8. The College Board identifies the arts as one of the six basic academic subject areas students should study in order to succeed in college. – Academic Preparation for College: What Students Should Know and Be Able to Do, The College Board.

9. When researchers analyzed the NELS:88 database of the U.S. Department of Education, which tracked 25,000 students over a ten-year period, they discovered that students who were involved in music scored higher on standardized tests and reading tests than students not taking music courses. This finding was consistent for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. – Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997.

10. School districts with strong arts education programs report that superintendents and school principals who collectively support and regularly articulate a vision for arts education are critically important to the successful implementation and stability of district arts education policies.- Gaining the Arts Advantage, The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, 1999.

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