We at the Spirit of Harmony Foundation believe that every student deserves access to high quality music instruction and we are dedicated to helping educators, districts, administrators, parents, and engaged communities create and nurture sustainable music education programs in the schools and organizations in their community. Music education programs are fundamental to ensure the optimal social, neurological, economic, and academic development of America’s students.
The purpose of our advocacy work is to give individuals the research and tools necessary not simply to make the case for music education, but to help bring high quality music education programming to their schools and communities.
Absolutely EVERY ONE of us can do the advocacy work of the Spirit of Harmony Foundation whenever the opportunity arises! This work is grassroots level, and you don’t have to be an expert or a lobbyist to help us spread the important message that Music Education is so good for kids, it is a moral imperative.
PLEASE visit our website often and check out our Advocacy Toolkit, where we have short descriptions of the key benefits of music education along with links to the very best cutting-edge articles on the subject and information on how to start or revitalize a music education program. Read the material, choose which points resonate with you the most, and then start talking talking talking. Voila–by advocating for the moral imperative of music education, you are an important part of the SOHF Music Education Street Team! And please share your experiences with us.
We love hearing stories of grassroots advocacy for music education. That airline passenger sitting next to you just might be a school principal who needs to hear our perspective on the importance of music education. Your dental hygienist just might be the parent of a child whose music program has been shuttered and is looking for help in working with the school council. As soon as you begin to let people know that you have a keen personal interest in making sure all kids have access to music education, conversations begin to naturally flow and you will be able to start making a real impact by spreading the word. Opportunities present themselves continually.
Here is a real-life example of an incredible opportunity for advocacy that recently presented itself to our Chairman Ed Vigdor:
I was attending a Colorado Senate hearing supporting a bill regarding student loan forgiveness on February 13, 2017. Turned out that on the agenda was a bill regarding music ed and the arts in Colorado public schools. Had to look up the bill quickly and read the summary right there in the hearing room. Senator Michael Merrifield, who sponsored the bill, is a retired music teacher.
While I hadn’t prepared or even signed up to testify, the Chair, Senator Ray Scott, opened the floor to anyone who would like to testify, so I jumped at the opportunity.
I introduced myself as the Chairman of the Spirit of Harmony Foundation. When the Chair heard Todd’s name, he perked up and started singing “Bang The Drum,” right there in the middle of hearing. Yeah he is a fan!!
Kept my remarks brief, focused on the signatures of poverty and the biological science. The sponsoring Senator had already spoken about the academic success of music students, so I just explained a bit about what developments take place in a child’s brain, which help produce those academic benefits.
Afterwards, I introduced myself to the Senator and we exchanged cards, so will reach out to him and see what else can be done here in Colorado. Later in hallway, I introduced myself to the Chair, who IMMEDIATELY asked when is Todd coming back to Denver, told him I would be in touch and let him know.
Oh… the bill, passed out of committee by a 5-0 vote for!! Three of the Senators are Republicans, two of which indicated earlier they would vote no. The Chair is also a republican, they all voted YES!!!!
Jean D. Lachowicz is Executive Director of the Spirit of Harmony Foundation. For the past 30 years, she headed nonprofits specializing in youth development, social justice, and human services. She lives in Chicago, IL.
Ed Vigdor is Chairman of the Board and Chief Operating Officer of the Spirit of Harmony Foundation. Ed has been a professional Post-Production Director, videographer and producer since 1984, having worked for Metro Goldwyn Mayer, The Cimarron Group, The Ant Farm, Intralink Film Graphic Design, and others. A close Rundgren associate for over 30 years, Ed produced “Toddstock: All Excess” and the “A Wizard A True Star Live” concert videos.