Playing for Keeps: Why the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition wants to make music part of every child’s curriculum

By Bryan Kitch

We’re excited to announce a strategic partnership with the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition, to track and measure impact as they roll out programming across New York City, Philadelphia, and Nashville.

 

We recently caught up with GMEC Executive Director, Lee Whitmore, on what inspired the project, what motivates him in his work, and the power of music to change whole communities.

 

What were some of the challenges that inspired the creation of the GMEC program?

Lee Whitmore: In the United States, there is not always access to public school music education for the youth and communities that need it the most. And, where there is capacity, students opt-out of music as they age, even though they love music.

 

What were the proposed solutions for those challenges?

We created the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition (with the inspiration from the leadership of the Recording Academy) to serve as an umbrella for public music education, music educators, not-for-profit service providers and public companies, to focus energy and investment in public school music education.

 

We are a public-private partnership with a singular goal — more American youth making and creating music every day in school.

 

"Music changed me and my life. With it I’ve learned to be collaborative, goal driven, and have had success in my career and personal life."

 

What drives you in this work?

Music changed me and my life. With it I’ve learned to be collaborative, goal driven, and have had success in my career and personal life. Research shows that sustained participation in music for youth positively changes lives. It did for me and my life’s work is to share this opportunity with others.

 

What does impact mean for you and for music education?

Impact in our Coalition work is expanding the number of American youth actively participating in music every day. We will track that with UpMetrics, and share it broadly.

 

What does success look like for the GMEC program?

The GRAMMY Music Education Coalition is successful as more youth in the schools and communities in which we invest find exciting, relevant and engaging ways to be music creators.

 

How do you plan to monitor performance and track impact across all your programming?

With UpMetrics, the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition can monitor and measure impact in partnership with public school systems. In our inaugural school districts, NYC, Philadelphia and Nashville, UpMetrics is working with the districts to regularly access federally required reporting on arts education participation by students. We will annually review increases and challenges in participation in schools and in districts.

 

Where there is success, we will share how that happens with others. Where there are challenges, we will work with districts and schools to understand what is happening, and how to dynamically make changes.

 

Any further comments you would like to add?

The GRAMMY Music Education Coalition has thirty members and is rapidly growing.

Our founding investors and members include ELMA Philanthropies, the Walker Family Foundation, the NAMM Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, the Recording Academy, Berklee College of Music, and more.

 

Thanks very much to Lee for his time! You can learn more about the GMEC through their website, grammymusiced.org.

 

Photo courtesy of the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition.


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