Guest post written by Sue Reid, Forest Park H.S. Band Parent
I am the proud parent of two band students, a member of Forest Park High School's Bruin Band Booster Executive Committee, and an active volunteer with the music programs at my neighborhood schools in Prince William County, Virginia. As such, I am very familiar with the support our local music retailers have provided to our teachers and their programs here. Recently, in the ever-continuing struggle to find more fundraising opportunities, I visited the website of one of our biggest area music retailers and, to my delight, discovered their sponsorship of a music parent support group. And I had to share the news!
As the years pass and my children transition from elementary, to middle, to high school and now college, I have become more and more appreciative of the enormous contribution music has made to their growth. Our whole family has gained so much through our experiences with music in our schools, and I have been looking for some sort of group to join that would advocate for these music programs. Our local high school booster organizations often operate independently and, at times, inefficiently. I know from experience that parents are often unaware of the challenges our music teachers face providing such a crucial educational component to our children's lives, and may not even understand what benefits their child gains from participating in their music classes. Both locally and nationally, parents can wield enormous influence in determining what role music will play in educational policy, but they need to be educated themselves before they will be able to effectively wield this power. That is why I was so excited to find out about the National Association of Music Parents (AMP), and why I immediately joined.
My youngest is graduating from high school this week and, as a "farewell" gift to my booster organization, my husband went ahead and also purchased their group membership in AMP.
Now, I want do my best to broadcast this opportunity—not just to my own band booster board, but to all music booster groups in my county. I am so excited about AMP and its potential! I want to post on social media, local on-line and traditional print newspapers, as I have for other band opportunities in Prince William County. I think that AMP could provide the support that is most needed by music educators and the industry they feed; the professionals, the ensembles, the performers and their audiences, the composers, instrument artists and merchants, the museums, concert venues, and neighborhood bar. From elevators to opera halls, music is pervasive and a cornerstone of our culture and society. And it all starts with a music teacher in a classroom.
And it all depends on the parents of a music student supporting the opportunities and providing money through taxes and fundraising to get that teacher into that classroom in front of their child.
There is so much that can be done in support of music in our community, especially when we can mobilize the most awesome force on the planet: an engaged parent!
I look forward to adding my voice to others as we "Turn Up the Volume" with AMP!
New Member Coordinator
FPHS Bruin Band Boosters