I wanted to remind you of three important pieces of advocacy information this month.
1) Please fill out our “How Has Music Education Impacted Your Life?” online questionnaire. Please also forward to anyone you know in Pennsylvania. All responses will be compiled into a book we will distribute to members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly during our March 2015 Advocacy Day.  Don’t wait – respond and forward today!!
2) Pennsylvania was lucky enough to have several school districts recognized as a Best Community for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation. Next week, one of those school districts will be in the spotlight as the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus makes a stop at their school and a live community forum is broadcast from the school.
SupportMusic Community Forum, Live! from Springfield, PA 15th
8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Eastern 
  • Dr. James Capalupo – Springfield School District Superintendent (and former music teacher)
  • Beth Sokolowski – Division Head Music Education, The University of the Arts 
  • John Kampmeyer – Springfield School District graduate and father of two high school students in the music department
  • Henry Pearlberg-President-PMEA District 12, instrumental music director at Strath Haven Middle School 
  • Brittany Baselice – Springfield School District graduate, recently graduated with a degree in music ed. from Bloomsburg University
  • Margaret Bauer – executive director of PMEA
  • Kathleen Boyer – music curriculum coordinator in Springfield School District, instrumental music director at E.T. Richardson Middle School


Host and Moderator Mark Despotakis -Director of Market Development, Progressive Music 


Join us in person
 E.T. Richardson Middle School Auditorium
20 W. Woodland Ave. Springfield, PA 19064


Log in to the LIVE webcast
Share link with your friends and colleagues!
3) Remember that election day is November 4th. PMEA reached out to both the Wolf and Corbett campaigns with questions related specifically to music education. Although we have reached out several times, we have not received any responses. If we do, we will pass them on to you. We have been fortunate that education has been a key issue in this year’s race so we encourage you to do your own research and make sure to vote on November 4th.
Mark Despotakis
Chair, Advancement of Music Education Council


From Advancement of Music Education Council Chair Mark Despotakis:
Happy September PMEA members!
We have some very exciting news to share with your from the advocacy world this month.
First of all, we encourage you to answer this question How Has Music Education Impacted Your Life?  As part of PMEA advocacy efforts, we are compiling a book to present to state legislators in the spring at our advocacy day. The book will include responses from Pennsylvania citizens answering the question “How Has Music Education Impacted Your Life?”  We want as many citizens as possible to answer this question – PMEA members, students, administrators, parents, other teachers, members of the community – basically anyone that lives in Pennsylvania! We need your help though. Please take a few minutes to answer the question yourself but also encourage anyone you know living in Pennsylvania to answer the question as well.  Please respond using this link:
I know this was mentioned in the “PMEA September Update” email, but I feel it’s worth repeating.  Please consider attending the 2014 Arts and Education Symposium on October 2nd at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA. The daylong event convenes arts education policy leaders and practitioners for lively discussions about the important policy issues and the latest news from the field.  Act 48 credit will be available for attendance at the event. You can find more information and register at
And finally, in case you have not seen it, I point you to some new research that links music training to enhanced brain function. A new Northwestern University study funded by the NAMM Foundation provides the first direct evidence that a community music program for at-risk youth has a biological effect on children’s developing nervous systems. Two years of music lessons improved the precision with which the children’s brains distinguished similar speech sounds, a neural process that is linked to language and reading skills. You can learn more about the results of the study at:
Please keep in contact with your PMEA District Advocacy Representatives about advocacy issues in your area:
Thanks for all of the hard work you are doing for students in Pennsylvania!
Mark Despotakis
Chair, PMEA Advancement of Music Education Council
From Advancement of Music Education Council Chair Mark Despotakis:
I hope you had a great summer and you are gearing up for another year of making music!  I wanted to update you on some things PMEA is doing on behalf of you as a PMEA member in the world of advocacy.
1) The PMEA Advancement of Music Education Council has started work on the 2015 Advocacy Day on Harrisburg.  Please mark your calendars now for Wednesday, March 25, 2015.  We’d love for you to join us in Harrisburg to advocate for music education.  Advocacy day will again be held the day before the spring conference.  We are working on some new additions to advocacy day to provide value for PMEA members and students.
2) This fall, we are going to be asking you to help us tell the story of music education in Pennsylvania.  We’re going to be asking teachers, students, administrators, parents, community members and anyone who values music to answer the question “How has music education impacted your life?”  We will appreciate your help in generating responses for this project.  More details this fall.
3) One of PMEA’s legislative asks this spring was asking the Pennsylvania Department of Education to clarify information that federal Title I and II money can be used for the arts.  We are extremely happy to report that our ask was heard and we’ve seen action.  This week, school districts in Pennsylvania were sent clarifying language letting them know they can use Title I and II money for the arts.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR YOU TO KNOW AS YOU ADVOCATE FOR YOUR OWN PROGRAMS IN YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT.  Here are some highlights from the correspondence sent to school districts by Susan McCrone, Division of Federal Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Education:
“As local educational agencies (LEAs) plan their Title I programs for the 2014-2015 school year, it is an appropriate time to clarify that Title I funds can be used to support the Arts.”
“Depending on those needs, an LEA may use Title I funds to support activities related to the arts, provided those activities are part of an instructional strategy that is designed to improve the academic achievement of at-risk students.”
“Examples of how the Arts can be implemented in a Title I, programs are as follows (which must be based on a needs assessment):

 Title I Schoolwide Program:
•          Paying the salary of an arts teacher
•          Paying for professional development activities in the Arts
•          Coaching activities
•          Teacher collaboration & planning activities
•          Extended learning time (summer and/or afterschool)
•          Materials/supplies for the Arts
Title I, Targeted Assistance Program:
•          Art teachers pushing in to co-teach during language arts classes
•          Art teacher pushing in to co-teach during math class classes”
4) PMEA has submitted questions to candidates running for governor in Pennsylvania.  We will share those response with PMEA members this fall.   (The full letter can be found here. )
PMEA continues to be actively engaged in advocacy work on behalf of all PMEA members and all music students in Pennsylvania.  In addition to our own advocacy work, PMEA is a member of the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network ( and the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign (
I encourage you to actively participate in advocacy at any level.  PMEA is available to assist with advocacy related issues.  Please contact me if I can be off assistance.  I also encourage you to contact your PMEA District Advocacy Representative.  All District Advocacy Representatives are listed on the PMEA website (  We will continue to keep you updated on PMEA advocacy activities.
Chair, PMEA Advancement of Music Education Council
Make every month Music In Our Schools Month. Check out this article to give you the month by month advocacy activities to help your program.

Article by former PMEA Outstanding Superintendent, Joseph Batory

Cutting Upper Darby’s Elementary Music and Art Programs in a Dangerous “Roll of the Dice” Educationally

NAfME Advocacy for All: A Guide to Member Resources

Overview (How NAfME Advocates for You)

Advocacy Resources (Tools for Conducting Proactive Advocacy and Crisis Management)

  1. NAfME Advocacy Groundswell
    NAfME Advocacy Groundswell is a social media-based advocacy hub designed to cultivate an online community of NAfME members from across the country interested in participating in advocacy initiatives, engaging in discussions about advocacy and regularly digesting advocacy news.
  2. Legislative Memo 
    Twice a month briefing on music education policy issues. Features a segment focusing on music advocacy efforts taking place at the state and local level.
  3. Support Music Counterpoint Archives
    A highly focused series of articles by authors like John Benham on music education-related topics like advocacy, coalition- building, and budgeting, among many others.
  4. Music Advocacy: Moving From Survival to Vision by John Benham
    Co-published with: The National Association for Music Education

This book is a summary of the practice of music advocacy. It is a compilation of research and experience gained from 30 years experience by one of the nation’s most successful advocates for music education. It provides the music educator, administrator, school board member, and community advocate with step-by-step procedures for saving and building school music programs. The methods presented in this book are responsible for saving $70 million in proposed music cuts equivalent to approximately 2000 teaching positions and 400,000 music students.

NAfME Federal Requests (Working to Protect Music at the National Level)

In any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we ask Congress to:

For a printer friendly version of this document, click here.

PMEA Advocacy DVD Available Online

The abbreviated version (approximately 12 minutes long) of PMEA’s award winning DVD, The Music Lesson: Treat Music Like it Really Matters is now Online via YouTube by searching for PMEA Music Lesson. The full length DVD was recently recognized with a national Telly Awards for best documentary. Viewers see how important music is to the students and the school, the influence of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association to music teachers, testing, scheduling and budgets, incorporating music into the curriculum, starting an advocacy program and what it takes to have a successful program. If you want people on your side, share this outstanding video. Both the full and abbreviated versions of the DVD are available for purchase online by selecting the Online Store menu option and typing the keyword “advocacy” into the search box.