October Cali Column – “3 Awful Things That Happen When Children are Denied Daily Arts Instruction in Schools” By Anthony Mazzocchi

Happy Fall, NAfME! For this month’s Cali Column, we have a recent blog post by Anthony Mazzocchi from his blog, The Music Parent’s Guide: A Survival Kit for the New Music Parent

If you would like to read more of Tony’s work, click HERE!


3 Awful Things That Happen When Children are Denied Daily Arts Instruction in Schools

Posted on 05/24/2016 Written by  2 COMMENTS

Kinhaven 2014-316Regardless of the social and economic circumstances of our time, the arts have an essential place in the balanced education of our children.In all the education discussion I hear and the literature I read, the arts are consistently given little to no attention.  At the same time, a large portion of our population is tired of having to plead to make the case for arts in schools.  We all want an education system that delivers a broad-based curriculum that takes into account the continuing and varied needs of our children — not a system obsessed with academic learning alone.While many in our world still think that the arts are for a chosen few and that “artists” are simply “born that way”, I believe that our narrowed thinking of creativity is more due to a lack of contact time of creative subjects in schools.  To get people to think about the issue of arts in a child’s school life, I start with a basic question:  What would happen if any subject was delivered only once a week in school?  And doesn’t that mean that there aren’t more creative people in our world simply because we do not cultivate that creativity in school on a daily basis?Here are three awful truths about the adverse effects from a lack of arts in schools has on our children:

A vicious cycle of killing creativity continues.  How would our children develop — and therefore be perceived — if they had math, english, or science only one day a week for a half hour?  Would they be seen as “dumb” by the time they were in middle school?  The answer is, of course, yes — and that is exactly what happens in regards to creativity.  Creativity is, in fact, taught out of us in school due to little or no contact time, so by the time children are teenagers, they often think of themselves as “not creative”.  I’m not necessarily talking about children becoming artists, dancers, or musicians; I am talking about empowering a generation to be non-conforming, imaginative people.

The inequality with arts instruction exists simply because of the school schedule.  Blame it on time or blame it on money, the truth is clear:  when you deliver one day of arts instruction in schools, you are leaving it to the family (or lack thereof) to continue to support the child’s instruction at home.  We all know this leads to severely uneven results, and most kids will become frustrated and quit.  This attrition is not due to the myth that only a few children are artistic, rather that there’s a shortage of time spent in the arts during the school day.  If arts instruction is delivered five days a week, we would not only see more children realize their true passions, we would see a new generation of great, creative, and innovative thinkers emerge from the public school system.

The Achievement Gap widens.  When students come from families with financial means, they have the ability to overcome unbalanced school curricula by spending money on tutoring, lessons, summer opportunities, etc.  It’s generations of financially disadvantaged youth — mostly students of color — who will never reach their potential as creators and innovators and who will never realize their passion due to a narrowed curriculum in schools.

A lack of the arts also has a profound effect on multi-cultural schools.  The arts provide a profound vehicle for schools to take into account their own cultural settings and embrace them by developing “arts festivals” and other innovative cultural exchanges.  Children participating in and learning through the arts, especially in approaching cultural studies across the curriculum, is more powerful than any textbook can muster.

Another generation grows up believing people are born creative.  All the brain research in the world will not convince someone who has grown up without rich arts instruction that they really are talented and have simply missed the boat for reasons beyond their control.  This “lost” generation will find it increasingly difficult to navigate the ever-changing workforce; they will become teachers and school leaders who aren’t creative and who don’t value arts in their schools; and they will have children who they believe are not artistic simply because of genetics — a perpetuation of a damaging falsehood that we must bring to a halt.

Does this all sound too dramatic?  It’s not.  If we stop a moment to reflect on our school curricula, we actually will see that our loss of creativity in schools has been slow and subtle — a cut here and a cut there, and here we are: barely hanging on to the arts in our child’s school day.

In order for our children to meet the profound challenges and changes in our world, our schools must embrace the power, values, and processes of teaching and learning that the arts provide in our education system.  To value the arts in school curricula is to say loud and clear that the practice and appreciation of the arts will benefit our children — and therefore our society — in ways that are immeasurable by our current standards, yet more powerful than anything we have collectively experienced before.

For more information and blog posts, check out Tony’s blog HERE!

Do you have any professors you would like to hear from? Send us an email and let us know! nafme@montclairstatenafme.org

Upcoming Events – Elementary Education!

Hello NAfME friends! If you are interested in elementary music education, continue reading! There are some amazing events coming up very soon!

Dear Music Educator,
The NJSMA (North Jersey School Music Association) Elementary Division offers exceptional PD workshops and events for music educators of grades PreK-6th and music education majors.
NJSMA website  – http://njsma.com/
Upcoming events:
Monday, October 10 – DENISE GAGNE full-day workshop. (The Mansion at Mountain Lakes, Mtn. Lakes, NJ) 9:30am-3:30pm
          Fee includes full-day workshop, buffet lunch, SWAG bag and PD certificate. ($75- NJMEA member; $85 – non-member; $50 – music ed major)
                      Registration closes on Friday, October 8. Online registration form can be found on the njsma.com website.
Saturday, November 5- “Know the Score” – Elementary Choral Reading and Technique Session, Clinician – Deborah Mello
                                   9:30am- 11:45am – Montclair State University    
                                   $15 fee includes workshop and reading packet
                                  Registration form on the njsma.com website
Saturday, February 25 – Saturday morning workshop – time/place TBD
                                     Co-sponsored by the New Jersey Youth Chorus
                                     Clinicians: Missy Strong, Amy Burns and the NJYC, director: Trish Joyce
                                     Check back on our website for details in the coming weeks
Tuesday, May 23: 2nd Annual Elementary Choral Celebration
                             Drew University; Morning session and Afternoon session
                             Non-competitive choral festival for elementary choirs; master clinicians will offer a brief session and feedback to each group.
                             Limited registration. Save the date!
                             Check back on our website in the coming weeks.
Spring “Sip ‘N Share” session: Date/time/place – TBD
                              Check back on our website
Music Teacher “Uke Jam” – date/time/place – TBD
                             Check back on our website
NJSMA Elementary Music Division
          Lisa Wichman, Chair
        Carol Richardi, Co-Chair

American Orff Schulwerk Association Conference – Nov 2-5

For anyone interested in Orff Schulwerk, the American Orff Schulwerk Association is holding its national conference Nov. 2-5 in Atlantic City!

You can sign up to volunteer HERE

Check out NNJOSA! They hold monthly workshops at William Paterson University, which are free for students!
Here’s the schedule of workshops (All Saturdays):
-Oct. 15th: Traditional World Dance and Rhythm Games with Debby Szjanberg
-Nov. 19th: AOSA Conference Sharing
-Jan. 28th: Chapter Sharing
-March 11: Playing with Possibilities: The Power of Choice in the Orff Schulwerk Classroom with Roger Sams
-April 8th: Integrating Popular Music Into Orff Schulwerk with Martina Vasil


Little Kids Rock- Opportunity for Internship!

Little Kids Rock
Program Services Internship – Fall 2016

Organization Overview:
Little Kids Rock is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to unlocking children’s inner music-makers by revitalizing music education programming in public schools. The organization partners with school districts to train public school teachers to run its innovative Modern Band curriculum and donates all of the accompanying instruments and resources necessary to teach popular music. Little Kids Rock started in 2002 as a schoolteacher’s vision to give his students access to music education that is relevant to them while diminishing budgets for the arts made that more and more difficult to do. What began as a single after-school guitar class has since exploded into a national movement that is bringing free, weekly music lessons to nearly 200,000 public school children due to the efforts of nearly 1,500 teachers nationwide. To date, Little Kids Rock has served more than 400,000 students. More info at www.littlekidsrock.org

At the heart of Little Kids Rock’s program are its beliefs that everyone, young and old, can learn and love to create music and that the experience of learning to play a musical instrument can be transformative. Through partnerships with school districts, Little Kids Rock is able to train teachers to run its innovative and engaging Modern Band curriculum, which is built around the popular music genres that are culturally relevant to kids K-12. Little Kids Rock also supplies these teachers with the instruments and curricular support they need to establish scalable and sustainable music programs that inspire underprivileged young people and support their self-expression, self-confidence, and creativity.

Program Services Intern

We are looking for a motivated and energetic individual to assist the Little Kids Rock program team with daily tasks. This is a great opportunity for a college student to learn what goes into the operation of a growing and leading music education nonprofit. This will be approximately 10-15 hours per week position with a flexible schedule. This internship is unpaid but the experience will be extremely valuable! We would be willing to working with your college for course credit as well.

Responsibilities Will Include:
-Assist the program staff with teacher customer service, i.e. responding to phone and email inquiries
-Archive program email and mail communications
-Monitor and update teacher online networking groups
-Assemble and ship teacher materials requests
-Occasional data entry and clean up

Required Skills:
– Organized and with great attention to detail
-Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite and Gmail
– Positive “can-do” attitude and team player
-Experience with data entry beneficial
-Prior customer service experience preferred
-Interest in music education greatly encouraged

To Apply:
Please email a resume and thoughtful cover letter to Lauren at lauren@littlekidsrock.org. Please indicate “Program Services Intern” in the subject line. Position open until filled.

Little Kids Rock is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment, and encourages all individuals to apply, irrespective of their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.




Know The Score: Rehearsal Techniques for Children’s Choirs



Know The Score: Rehearsal Techniques for Children’s Choirs Presented by Deborah Mello
This session will focus on how to introduce a new piece and what will need to be done in successive rehearsals to provide a maximum understanding of the music in terms of music literacy and vocal pedagogy.

Registration Fee: $15

Location: Montclair State University – Cali School of Music, Room G55
1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ 07043
Parking available n the Red Hawk Deck (2 minute walk from the cali school)
Parking fee: $5.75 for 2-4 hour parking

Check out the event on Facebook to REGISTER!