Do you have a music advocacy issue or item you’d like to share with RMF?… Teachers, parents, students. and community members are encouraged to contact Mike Buterbaugh, RMF’s Music Education Advisor, at

Be sure to visit our advocacy links collection at the bottom of this page!

Recent Press Courtesy of Pennsylvania Homes

Reading Musical Foundation: Keeping Kids in School in Berks County 

Check out these words of our local students and educators.

We loved reading these articles recently in The Reading Eagle…

On facebook®? Then join PLAN: The PMEA Leadership Advocacy Network.

PLAN: The PMEA Leadership Advocacy Network“the official PMEA facebook® group dedicated to strengthening and/or saving school music programs” (administered by Rich Victor).
Click here:

Have You Seen This Recent Viral Video?

How Playing A Musical Instrument Benefits Your Brain — Anita Collins / Brought to us by the people at TED-Ed
Information that everyone responsible for making curriculum decisions in our schools should have.
Here’s a link to the full lesson:

Why Advocate for School Music Programs?

Reading Musical Foundation has been a local advocate for music education for a number of years, and has access to decades of statistics and testimonials at the district, local, state and national level. We make this data available to any district or advocate.

1. Curricular Value of Music Education
The first and foremost reason behind our advocacy efforts is that there is a curricular value to all aspects of the music program – general music, choral, band and orchestra. While all four complement each other, they cannot consequently replace each other. Eliminating any portion will cause a great void in the curriculum, as well as in opportunities to students in years to come.

2. Cross-Curricular Value
While much of the beginning months of instrument training is simply learning how to make a sound from the instrument, the second half of the year is focused on how bodies react to proper posture, development of listening skills, learning all of the aspects of playing in an ensemble, how to explain music preference, and understanding the cultural element of the pieces performed. While many of these standards accompany skills needed for the Core Standards and 21st Century Skills, the each have a value of their own.

3. Emotional Value
RMF supports music education because the work is important for many reasons, not just so that we can reuse dozens of instruments or have students play symphony music on stage. Music classes open doors and opportunities that would otherwise be shut. They teach kids cause and effect in avenues far beyond music. Students and parents take pride in their work. If you’ve ever seen the smile on a child’s face who has just mastered a difficult piece, or the tears in his mother’s eyes, you’ve seen change taking place. These are lessons and memories that will last a lifetime – and will be attributed back to public education.

RMF and Advocacy

How do you help your child succeed in overall academic performance? By supporting your school’s music education program! English, Mathematics, Science and Foreign language skills are all positively impacted by your child’s participation in your school’s chorus, orchestra or band. While many schools are cutting or downsizing their existing music classes, research and experience bear out that music appreciation and music performance in school are central to developing the whole child. Studies confirm that participation in music makes an even greater impact upon the life skills and academic performance of financially challenged and other a-risk students. Music invites creativity, self-expression, healthy release of emotions and self-esteem. Music and the arts are a critical part of a thriving community.

RMF offers you advocacy tools such as local and national statistics, information regarding the “No Child Left Behind” act and two DVDs that can be used in multiple fashions – as educational or advocacy pieces.

Additionally, RMF provides coaching and designs plans for area music associations, parents, students, and educators to teach them how to advocate for their school music programs. To date, RMF has worked with four local districts, all of which have succeeded.

RMF Position Statement on Viable, Sequential & Enduring School Music Progams for All Children

(Approved by RMF Board of Trustees, May 2014)

“So strongly are school music instruction and ensemble opportunities correlated with persistence in school, college admissions and life skills that their value in the public school curriculum cannot be denied.  Taxpayers and the school boards that represent them should consider those experiences essential to the education of every student from elementary through high school.  The contributory value of those experiences is maximized if music instruction is integrated into the curriculum and provided by certified school employees in school facilities.

Begun in 1928 as the Reading Musical Foundation’s inaugural music outreach effort, “Music in the Schools” deliberately stages music enrichment programs in the schools.  Doing so conveys the value of music instruction and ensembles to students and their parents.  That message is muddled unless we give music instruction the same time and space as other core academic subjects.

For the same reason, only the direct employment of music faculty fully articulates the value those teachers provide to our students.  There is good reason why music teachers are typically held in high esteem by their students and why troubled students often confide in them to the exclusion of other school professionals: Music teachers must first master a difficult set of skills before they can consider teaching.  They are invariably highly disciplined and passionate about what they do.  And their own ensemble training as musicians breeds an appreciation for the value of teamwork that is healthy for students to emulate.

RMF strongly supports music in the schools, by the schools, and through certified music teachers employed directly by the schools.”

National Statistics and Facts

…From the Children’s Music Workshop’s “Top Ten Advocacy Points for Everyone”:

  • The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania School District analyzed its 1997 dropout rate in terms of students’ musical experience. Students with no ensemble performance experience had a dropout rate of 7.4 percent. Students with one to two years of ensemble experience had a dropout rate of 1 percent, and those with three or more years of performance experience had a dropout rate of 0.0 percent. — Eleanor Chute, “Music and Art Lessons Do More Than Complement Three R’s,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 13, 1998.
  • Two research projects have found that music training – specifically piano instruction – can dramatically enhance children’s spatial-temporal reasoning skills, the skills crucial for greater success in subjects like math and science. — Shaw, Grazianow, and Peterson, Neurological Research, March 1999.
  • School leaders affirm that the single most critical factor in sustaining arts education in their schools is the active involvement of influential segments of the community. These community members help shape and implement the policies and programs of the district. — Gaining the Arts Advantage, The President’s Council on the Arts and Humanities, 1999.
  • Students with band and orchestra experience attend college at a rate twice the national average. — Bands Across the USA.
  • Music students out-perform non-music on achievement tests in reading and math. Skills such as reading, anticipating, memory, listening, forecasting, recall, and concentration are developed in musical performance, and these skills are valuable to students in math, reading, and science. — B. Friedman, “An Evaluation of the Achievement in Reading and Arithmetic of Pupils in Elementary School Instrumental Music Classes,” Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • One in three of today’s school-aged children will hold an arts-related job at some time in his or her career. — Education Commission on the States.
  • The College Board, in a publication about college admissions, states, “preparation in the arts will be valuable to college entrants whatever their intended field of study.” — Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need To Know and Be Able To Do, The College.
  • Music therapists working with Alzheimer’s patients have found that rhythmic interaction or listening to music resulted in decreased agitation, increased focus and concentration, enhanced ability to respond verbally and behaviorally, elimination of demented speech, improved ability to respond to questions, and better social interaction. — Carol Prickett and Randall Moore, “The Use of Music to Aid Memory of Alzheimer’s Patients,” Journal
    of Music Therapy, 1991.
  • Medical researchers have reported that subjects lowered bother their systolic and diastolic blood pressure as much as five points (mm/Hg) and reduced heart rates by four to five beats per minute following music listening sessions. People with high blood pressure can help keep their blood pressure down by listening to tapes of relaxing low frequency music in the morning and evening. — Tony Wigram, “The Psychological and Physiological Effects of Low Frequency Sound and Music,” Music Therapy Perspectives, 1995.
  • A 1997 Gallup Survey on Americans’ attitudes toward music revealed that 89% of respondents believe music helps a child’s overall development, and 93% believe that music is part of a well-rounded education. — Americans’ Attitudes Toward Music, The Gallup Organization, 1997.

…And from a variety of other sources:

  • Students who participate in the arts at least nine hours each week for at least a year are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, three times more likely to be elected to class office, four times more likely to win a school attendance award, four times more likely to participate in a science and math fair, and four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem. — National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. The Impact of Arts Education on Workforce Preparation. Issue Brief, May 1, 2002.
  • 2004 SAT takers who had taken courses in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on the verbal portion and 41 points higher on the math portion of the exam than their peers who took no courses in the arts. –– MENC, “Scores of Students in the Arts,”
  • Adult choral singers in the United States volunteer in their communities at twice the rate of adults in general, are five times more likely to make political contributions and are three times more likely to contribute to other arts organizations than American households in general. — Chorus America. America’s Performing Art – A Study of Choruses, Choral Singers, and Their Impact, 2003.
  • Second and third grade students who were taught fractions through musical rhythms scored 100% higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner. — “Rhythm Students Learn Fractions More Easily,” Neurological Research, March 15, 1999.
  • Students who participate in the arts at least nine hours each week for at least a year are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, three times more likely to be elected to class office, four times more likely to win a school attendance award, four times more likely to participate in a science and math fair, and four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem. — National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. The Impact of Arts Education on Workforce Preparation. Issue Brief, May 1, 2002.
  • College students majoring in music achieve scores higher than students of all other majors on college reading exams. — Carl Hartman, “Arts May Improve Students’ Grades,” The Associated Press, October 1999.
  • A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reported that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science. — Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright, Dennis and Newcomb, “Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial-temporal reasoning,” Neurological Research, Vol. 19, February 1997.
  • In an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data on more than 25,000 secondary school students (NELS:88, National Education Longitudinal Survey), researchers found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show “significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.” This observation holds regardless of students’ socio-economic status, and differences in those who are involved with instrumental music vs. those who are not are more significant over time. — Catterall, James S., Richard Chapleau, and John Iwanaga. “Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement in Music and Theater Arts. “Los Angeles, CA: The Imagination Project at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, 1999.
  • Research shows that when a child listens to classical music, the right hemisphere of the brain is activated, but when a child studies a musical instrument both left and right hemispheres of the brain “light up.” Significantly, the areas that become activated are the same areas that are involved in analytical and mathematical thinking. — Dee Dickinson, “Music and the Mind,” New Horizons for Learning, 1993.

…Need even more?? Try these pages…

Our Collection of Useful Music Quotes and Quips

(Last updated 12.13.16, with the most recent additions at the top of each list.)

Favorite quotes… 

  • “An orchestra concert is where people go to find their souls. Having worked so hard to lose them, people come and sit in the dark under the spell of music and are reminded of their humanity.” – Garrison Keillor
  • “The only thing better that singing is more singing.” – Ella Fitzgerald
  • “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” – Ludwig van Beethoven
  • “When you play, never mind who listens to you.” – Robert Schumann
  • “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” – Harper Lee
  • “There’s nothing like music to teach you that eventually if you work hard enough, it does get better. You see the results.” – Chuck Todd, NBC’s Political Director, “Meet-the-Press” Moderator, (and French hornist who attended George Washington University on a music scholarship)
  • “Research made between music and intelligence concluded that music training is far greater than computer instruction in improving children’s abstract reasoning skills.” – from Frances H. Rauscher et al, Neurological Research, vol. 19, February 1997.
  • “People who create in our companies – whether they be scientists, marketing experts, or business strategists – benefit from exposure to the arts. People cannot create when they work and live in a culturally sterile environment.” – John D. Ong, Chairman Emeritus, the BF Goodrich Company
  • “GE hires a lot of engineers. We want young people who can do more than add up a string of numbers and write a coherent sentence. They must be able to solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. Participation in the arts is one of the best ways to develop these abilities.” – Clifford V. Smith, Jr., former President of the General Electric Foundation
  • “Music is God’s gift to man, the only art of heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to heaven.” – Walter Savage Landor
  • “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley (Music at Night and Other Essays)
  • “To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” – Aaron Copland, composer
  • “I believe that creativity will be the currency of the 21stGerald Gordon, Ph.D., President/CEO, Fairfax County (Virginia) Economic Development Authority
  • “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Albert Einstein
  • “The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music can make beautiful children.” – Cheryl Lavender
  • “Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it’s essential to being human.” – Jewel, singer/songwriter/instrumentalist

Quick “poster” thoughts (authors unknown) … 

  • “Music is not what I do, it’s who I am.”
  • “Music is basically the only thing that understands me.”
  • “Life without music would Bb.” (groans acknowledged)

And these made us LOL…

  • “All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.” – Frank Zappa
  • “In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of.” – Robert Schumann
  • “Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end.” – Igor Stravinsky
  • “When I was a little boy, I told my dad, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a musician.’ My dad said: ‘You can’t do both, Son’.” – Chet Atkins

Our Collection of Helpful Music Advocacy Links

Recently added to our list: (Last updated 12.13.16)

Carry the Tune ­­– Sadly, “researchers estimate that 75% or more of high school music students will quit their musical studies after high school.” An over-emphasis on STEM education (no “A”) and a societal drive to educate merely for the production of financial and economic success may big reasons, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Carry the Tune is “a documentary that shares the stories of people who have discovered opportunities in college and beyond, and how music provided a vital sense of balance in their lives.” … a great way to support the life-long concept of music education. Click here for more information. I have a personal copy of the DVD that I would be glad to loan out to Berks County teachers – just let me know.

Practical Guide for Recruitment and Retention (NAMM) – Created by the Music Achievement Council, this 24-page booklet was highlighted by Marcia Neel at the recent PMEA conference in a session that actually had to turn people away because the room was so packed. It’s a true “must have,” and an even truer “must use” – full of useful tips, forms, and lists for all ensembles and levels. Click here to download the .pdf version of the booklet. It’s one you don’t want to get lost among your digital files and forget; you’ll want to print it out and keep it handy right on your desk!

Our archived list: (A-Z)

Arts Education Matters: We Know, We Measured It — from Education Week, Dec. 2, 2014… research looked at “whether exposure to the arts affected students’ knowledge of the arts and altered their desire to consume the arts in the future… whether art experiences had an effect on student values, such as tolerance and empathy. … and whether students’ ability to engage in critical thinking about the arts was affected by these experiences.”

Be Part of the Band ( – “a menu of high quality tools to help band directors attract as many students as possible to their program. Student recruitment is one of the most critical, yet often overlooked, parts of a band director’s job. With limited time and dwindling resources, it’s getting harder to effectively and efficiently communicate to students and parents what we already know: Band Is A Life Changing Activity!” Includes instrument-specific videos. …Highly recommended

Grassroots Advocacy Guide (.pdf file download) (NAMM Foundation) Community Action Kit:Turn your passion for music into citizen action for music education.

How To Be the Special Interest Students Deserve… Originally directed at the election season, this article contains timeless tips for how to communicate with decision makers at all levels. (From NAfME News, Newsletter, October 23)

“Music Advocacy Articles and Videos”… This could be the mother lode of music education advocacy resources, brought to us by the Children’s Music Workshop.

“Music Education Advocacy Tools” and “Ten Tips for Launching Your Music Education Advocacy Effort” – Two great links from the League of American Orchestras.

NAMM Foundation (of the National Association of Music Merchants) (a variety of advocacy and research links)

National Association for Music Education (NAfME) (click on the “Take Action” menu)

The National Association of Music Parents – Created by a board of directors that includes Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser and a variety of music retail and strategic partners, this organization “brings together ALL STAKEHOLDERS of music education to defend the interests of our students and ensure that music and the arts remain an integral discipline within the core education system in America.” An annual membership fee (individual and group memberships are available) gains access to a seemingly endless number of resources. A trial membership option is also available (and there are several open “non-membership” areas). Check it out:

The 9 Common Lessons of Music Education That Translate into Success… From NAfME News: An excerpt from Everything We Needed to Know about Business, We Learned Playing Music.

The Other Music Advocates from Music in a Minuet, Orchestrating Success Newsletter, Jan. 29, 2015…  “We’re convincing policymakers at all levels that music education is not only worthwhile, but necessary. We’re communicating that music education prepares students not to become Grammy winning recording artists, but to be hardworking, productive, resourceful members of a cooperative society. However, the hard part is convincing people to take the attention and the time to share with those who need to hear it. That’s where your parents and the wider community around you have an important role. They may not realize the power of their voice along with yours…” Includes a concert program insert idea.

Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Advocacy Page

PLAN: The PMEA Leadership Advocacy Network“the official PMEA facebook® group dedicated to strengthening and/or saving school music programs” (administered by Rich Victor).

Pre-concert Video — Use this superb video at your concerts! – Andrew Spang and the Music Advocates of Carroll County (MD) have created and made available this short video presentation that’s the “perfect scrolling presentation to play prior to the start of a concert (or during intermission).” Educate your audience on the benefits of music education with this research-based video presented in an engaging manner. You have to check this one out! Two formats are available for downloading via the or view it on youtube.

Singing Changes Your Brain from, Aug. 16, 2013… “As the popularity of group singing grows, science has been hard at work trying to explain why it has such a calming yet energizing effect on people. What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.”

Standing Up for Music Teachers on Capitol Hill (NAfME News, Jan. 15, 2015) Priorities for Congress, as outlined January 14, 2015, by the Music Education Policy Roundtable, for th reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

STEM vs. STEAM from the University of Florida… includes a great infographic with a multitude of additional research source links.

Join the SupportMusic Coalition (an advocacy program of the NAMM Foundation)

Surprising Findings in Three New National Endowment for the Arts Reports… Released Jan. 12, 2015, this NEA reports focus on the following questions (with great graphics to illustrate the results):
• Why do people attend the arts?
• Why do Americans participate in the arts?
• What is the economic value of the arts?

The Top 17 Ways Learning a Musical Instrument Gives You The Edge from“Quite aside from the(se) ideas that have been kicking around for some time, there are many other benefits of playing a musical instrument. Some may surprise you!”

25 Things You Can Do Today – Brought to us by the VH1 Save the Music campaign… post this convenient two-pager in your office as a great idea trigger or reminder of some things you can do on a daily basis to keep your program healthy.

“What School Leaders Can Do To Increase Arts Education” From the Arts Education Partnership (AEP): “Actions that school principals can take with little-to-no cost to increase arts education in their schools.” (A succinct .pdf publication that could be provided to your local school principals.)

Why musicians are better multitaskers from The Week, Oct. 27, 2014…“We all call it ‘multitasking,’ but psychologists insist that’s a misnomer. Since we can’t actually focus on more than one thing at a time, the skill is really “task switching” — the ability to alternate smoothly and easily between two sets of mental tasks. New research from Canada suggests one group of people is able to do that better than the rest of us: trained musicians.”


If you have an advocacy link you would like to add to this list, please email it to Mike Buterbaugh, RMF’s Music Education Advisor, at