Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM)

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March has been officially designated by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) for the observance of Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM®), the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation. MIOSM began as a single statewide celebration in 1973, and has grown over the decades to encompass a day, then a week, and then in 1985 to become a month long celebration of school music. The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that schools is where all children should have access to music.  MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and the community, and to display the benefits that school music brings to students of all ages.

The celebration continues to grow each year, reaching more and more students, teachers, musicians, and music supporters. Schools and communities throughout the country and overseas celebrate MIOSM with concerts and other activities based on the year’s theme. Classrooms, concert halls, civic buildings, clubs, parks, libraries, and shopping malls are just some of the arenas in which the public can observe the processes and results of music education.

NAfME, representing more than 75,000 active, retired, and pre-service music teachers and 60,000 honor students and supporters, is the sponsor of MIOSM. In addition to announcing the theme for the year, the organization is responsible for communicating ideas to support state and local MIOSM celebrations, providing awareness items such as T-shirts, posters, and buttons, and coordinating programs such as The Concert for Music In Our Schools Month.

NAfME’s 52 federated state organizations (representing each state, the District of Columbia, and Europe) play an active role in the observance, securing governors’ proclamations, enlisting the support of chief state school officers, and establishing organizational structures to help reach individual music educators. MIOSM chairpersons with each state organization provide the major thrust for the MIOSM celebrations, with the goal of involving students, administrators, parents, civic groups, and community members. Other national arts and education organizations also lend their endorsements and support to the programs through publications and events.

MIOSM and the events surrounding it are the ideal opportunities for increasing awareness of the benefits of high quality music education programs in our nation’s schools. NAfME hopes that teachers, students, and music supporters alike will find ways to join in on the celebration through creative activities and advocacy. Learn more about how NAfME works to support music education.

Music In Our Schools Celebration Timeline

1973… The first Music In Our Schools celebration is sponsored by the New York State School Music Association.
1975-76… MENC sponsors two national Music In Our Schools Days on March 13,1975, and March 4, 1976.
1977… In response to many reports from MENC members that one day did not allow enough time to adequately celebrate the many facets of music education, Music In Our Schools Day is expanded to Music In Our Schools Week.
1985… Music In Our Schools Week is extended to include the entire month of March, becoming Music In Our Schools Month, and allowing music education professionals more flexibility in scheduling activities.The first World’s Largest Concert, a sing along concert designed to link school children together internationally through music, is sponsored by MENC.
1990s… Music In Our Schools Month is celebrated by hundreds of thousands of students, friends, and families in communities worldwide.
2000… Schools are encouraged to take The World’s Largest Concert and other MIOSM events into the community to encourage the sharing and making of music by all.
2002… The World’s Largest Concert and MIOSM reach more students and teachers by making the WLC instrumental scores readily available via the Internet through a partnership with Sibelius Music, allowing for the increased involvement of high school bands and orchestras.
2004… The 20th annual WLC was broadcast on March 11, 2004, with a special program of favorite selections from past concerts.
2006… MENC presents the World’s Largest Concert for Feed The Children, raising funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters.
2007… For its centennial year, MENC features the Music In Our Schools Showcase to spotlight school music programs during MIOSM.
2008… The World’s Largest Concert returns in a new format—DVD.
2011… NAfME announces that in 2012, The World’s Largest Concert will be renamed “The Concert for Music In Our Schools Month.”