Arts Ed. Advocacy




Why is music and arts education important to students?

  1.  MUSIC and ARTS education give students ways to communicate, understand the world, and create. Students also receive the simple and profound gift of music and art making as an essential part of education.
  2.  As students participate in the ARTS they gain the skills employers most want of teamwork, communication, problem-solving.
  3.  9 out of 10 American adults believe the ARTS are part of a well-rounded education.
  4.  MUSIC training can assist in creating a better learner and help reduce the achievement gap.
  5.  VISUAL ARTS and other creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.
  6. The skills developed through THEATER not only train youth how to convincingly deliver a message, but also build the confidence they need to take command of the stage.
  7. DANCING is a highly physical activity, and kids who take dance lessons regularly should expect to see a significant improvement in their overall physical health. Regular dance practice can increase your child’s flexibility, range of motion, physical strength and stamina.
  8. The ability to keep a beat and match rhythm patterns in DANCE and MUSIC is linked to early reading skills for preschoolers. Benefits persist through high school.
  9. MUSIC training for students stimulates nearly every region of the brain, strengthening those regions used for complex math and abstract-thinking skills.
  10. Low-income students who took MUSIC lessons in grades 8-12 saw math, reading, history, geography and social skills soar by 40% compared to non-music students.

(Sources: Northwestern University; University of Kansas; Royal Conservatory of Music; Toronto; Gardiner, Fox, Jeffrey and Knowles, Nature; Harris Interactive/MENC, Americans for the Arts).

Research is important. Just as critical is your personal story about the impact of music and arts learning in your life, or in the life of a child.

Get ready to share the research and your story.


  1. Know that you are the most powerful voice in your school. As a parent and/or local voter, you can change what your school is offering in the arts and music by raising your voice and asking others to also raise their voices.
  2. Reach out to other parents and community members.
    Your voice is powerful. Having a group of parents involved in supporting music and arts education is even more powerful. Find out if a parent group already exists at your school, and work with the parent group, your school’s teachers and principal to support the schools’ needs and advocate for the arts.
  3. Find out how to contact your school’s principal at
    Before you call or send an email, take just a minute to remember your own story and the research on the importance of music and arts education.
  4. Contact your principal by phone or email and ask:

“Do you know if our school is offering arts and music classes to all students? Tell me about the classes.”

  1. If your school is offering only two arts subjects*, follow up

Music and arts education is important for every child. Did you know Minnesota law requires schools to offer at least three arts areas?”
Ask if the school is working to add arts subjects. Ask if there are ways you and others can help make that happen. *See the law below for the list of arts subjects.

  1. When should I call?

The best time is now!! School budgets are drafted between November and January and finalized by February, so call soon. We are urging people to call when most school budgets are being set.

  1. What do I do if I don’t get a response?

If you are not getting a response, try again. Ask other parents and neighbors to make the same calls. You can follow up by attending school board meetings with other parent advocates and ask to speak to the board about the link between music and arts education and student success.

This is what Minnesota law says about arts education:

 “The following subject areas are required for statewide accountability… Public elementary and middle schools* must offer at least three and require* at least two of the following four arts areas: dance; music; theater; and visual arts. Public high schools must offer at least three and require at least one of the following five arts areas: media arts: dance: music: theater; and visual arts.” – MN Statutes 2014, Section 120B.021, subd. 1.  
*“Schools” means: EVERY school *“Require” means: ALL students.

You can make a difference by asking if your school is meeting these requirements.

Tips for Presenting to Your Local School Board:

  • Determine the date of the school board meeting and the policy for public participation.
  • Provide a courtesy call or email to the President of the School Board or Superintendent of Schools to let them know that you intend to speak during the public participation portion of the meeting.
  • Prepare a list of talking points that can be covered in three to five minutes. While you should be direct with your request, remember to also be respectful.
  • Arrive on time, and sign-in if necessary.
  • When it is time for public participation, walk to the podium with your talking points.
  • When welcomed, state your name and review your talking points with the members of the School Board, not the audience.
  • Answer any questions asked by members of the Board or Superintendent.
  • Ask for follow up by the Board President on any actions taken by the Board that relate to your concerns/ideas.
  • Thank the Board and Superintendent for their time and consideration of your concerns/ideas.


We know the benefits of music and arts education. Let’s make sure all students experience them.
It requires access for all students to music and arts education. Let’s make sure everyone is aware of the law.
ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act, requires schools to “provide all students with access to a well-rounded education” including music and arts.

Want more Minnesota ideas, facts, talking points?


MN Music Educators Assn: We believe that music is basic to the human experience. The study of music allows us to develop aesthetic sensitivity, self-expression and creativity; to build community; to preserve and honor cultural heritages; and to celebrate life. MMEA’s mission is high quality music education for every student.

Arts Educators of MN Our mission is to Promote and advocate quality art education for all learners by providing professional growth opportunities for all Minnesota Visual and Media Arts Educators to learn, collaborate, advocate, and acknowledge excellence in the profession.


Music Makes Us Whole: MMUW is the initiative of several dozen Minnesota non-profit and for-profit organizations that believe every child deserves a rich music education. We advocate for this because of music’s intrinsic value in the human experience, and also for the whole-brain and whole-life benefits to the child as well as his or her community.


Americans for the Arts
1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005


Arts Education Partnership
700 Broadway Street # 810
Denver, CO 80203


1029 Vermont Ave NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005


Educational Theatre Association
2343 Auburn Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45219


NafME (National Association for Music Education)
1806 Robert Fulton Drive
Reston, VA 20191


National Dance Education Organization
8609 Second Ave, Suite #203B
Silver Spring, MD 20910


National Art Education Association
901 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA22314
Telephone: 800.299.8321703.860.8000
Fax: fax703.860.2960


National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
1029 Vermont Avenue, NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20005


NAMM, The International Music Products Association
5790 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008