This organization claims to address all aspects of music education, and I think that’s really accurate. From a little further research I can tell that they have committed advocacy groups for music programs at the local, state and national levels. They even have started a partnering organization called Broader Minded, which is dedicated to educating the public on the benefits of music education with the hopes of reversing some of the recent trends of slashing arts education in our country, especially music programs. The elimination of music programs in recent history I think is solely responsible for the huge void in current American culture. Kids are not growing up understanding, listening to, or even liking music…of ANY kind! This is a huge problem, and I’ve experienced first hand a lot of current youth that are kind of devoid of interest in anything, and empty souls with no real aspiration or sense of wonder towards anything in their life. I think the general public’s lack of value placed on music education and music at all poses a serious threat to my career and the thousands of other aspiring young musicians out there. Beyond that it’s a societal problem that is creating uncultured, impatient, and closed minded youths that will soon be adults, policing our communities, running for office and causing even bigger issues.
Stepping off of my high horse, I wish to further develop my anecdote from school band, preparing for the CMEA festival performances. We would work extra hard in the weeks leading to CMEA and I remember various directors I’ve studied under stopping the group in the middle of rehearsal and asking “Is this how you guys want to sound at CMEA? In front of all your peers and the veteran adjudicators?” and that kind of mentality motivated us to make the music sound even better. While I do have mixed feelings on the whole concept of making music “competitive” as in assigning scores and points to a musical performance, I do know that the reality of having to perform amongst our peers at this very prestigious conference made us want to play better, and made us want to live up to our full potential as a band. Following the performance, we would be led into a separate room where we would work with one of the adjudicators who just watched our performance. This person would give us feedback on a range of musical techniques from intonation, articulation, timing, dynamics etc…to legitimate artistic topics such as emotion and expression of a melody. Overall I always remember leaving CMEA feeling amazed by the power of music and hungry to dive deeper into the art of sound and keep working. The NAME is a beautiful organization that is truly dedicated to helping Teachers, Students, Parents, and the general public advance their knowledge of music, and on top of that they offer discounted Collegiate Membership for only $34 a year. I think I may just join!