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 school 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.
On March 14, 1973, New York celebrated the first Music In Our Schools Day (MIOSD). According to the November 1973 issue of NAfME’s publication, Music Educators Journal, the first MIOSD “was sponsored by the New York State of Education Department’s Bureau of Music Education, the New York City Board of Education’s Music Bureau, NYSSMA, and the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education.”
New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller acknowledged MIOSD with a proclamation that stated: “This observance is designed to bring about a more genuine recognition in New York State of the vital place of music in the educational process. . . . Music is a powerful esthetic force. It brings spirit and joy into the life of every individual. It dignifies the realm of feeling by merging intellect and emotion in the search of a humane way of life. It strengthens international and racial bonds.”
The proclamation also states: “It is fitting for New York to recognize music in our schools as an essential part of the learning process. We must continue to encourage and support this significant art form, which, as it moves more deeply into the core of education, becomes a powerful single channel into the innermost feelings and responses of every child.