On March 19 and 20, artists Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bernie Williams, former NY Yankee and Latin Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist, will join leaders of the musical instrument and products industry in Washington DC to lobby Congress on the importance of comprehensive music education in our nation’s schools. NAMM organizes the annual Advocacy Fly-In on behalf of school music education programs in public schools to promote the benefits that playing music can have for children and teens, and to assure that federal education policy and funding advance access to music learning for all children.
Smith, long known for his music-education advocacy efforts, adds his voice to NAMM’s Advocacy Fly-In and efforts to support music in America’s schools. “I am a perfect example of someone who’s been musically educated exclusively throughout grade school, middle school and high school by the public school system,” the Grammy-winning drummer said. “If there hadn’t been a music program in my public schools, I would not be where I am today. Every kid—and I mean everyone—needs a chance to learn and grow with music.”
Pressure on funding for school music programs continues, as many districts struggle with budgets and regulations that force schools to narrow their scholastic offerings at the expense of important core academic subjects, music and arts education.
The issue of music education in schools is also close to the heart of longtime music-education advocate and gifted jazz guitarist Williams, who attended previous NAMM Advocacy Fly-Ins and has taken up the cause as a national advocate for music education. “As a student, music was available to me in my public school in Puerto Rico. It fostered discipline in me, and the ability to perform under pressure,” he said. “A lot of what music taught me led to my success in other areas, including professional baseball. Music has a profound effect on kids, and education must include music and the arts.”
Nearly 30 NAMM members, the executive committee and industry representatives will join Smith, Williams and NAMM President/CEO Joe Lamond for this year’s DC Fly-In. “NAMM members envision a world in which every child has a deep desire to learn music and a recognized right to be taught; and in which every adult is a passionate champion and defender of that right,” Lamond said. “Our work in Washington seeks to further that aim.”