GN12 finals

While I was in Indianapolis for the 2011 Music For All Grand Nationals Championship, I was able to attend a special session just for music boosters. Presented by Scott McCormick from AMP, and featuring special guest star Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, it was a celebration of those music boosters behind the scenes of every single performing band on that field, and behind every ensemble on football fields and concert stages nationwide.

Founder Scott McCormick gave a brief introduction to AMP, citing the long-overdue need for a national music booster organization. “Few realize the power of the parents,” he said. He outlined the group’s mission statement, and gave a tour of the website and Facebook page.

Scott introduced AMP’s corporate sponsors, the ones who make it possible for all this awesomeness to happen: Yamaha, VanDoren,,, Music & Arts, Menchey Music Service, and Bertrand Music. He went on to outline his growing partnerships with more local music stores who rent instruments to beginning students: with each new rental, those new band parents will receive a FREE one-year membership to AMP. It’s an amazing way to introduce people to the new music education community their family has joined, and to educate and excite them about the importance of music education for their child.

Next, special guest star Tim Lautzenheiser took the stage. If you’re unfamiliar with “Dr. Tim,” well…you need to remedy that immediately. He’s a highly sought-after speaker who is an expert on the power of a positive attitude and on effective leadership training. That’s a fancy way of saying that this guy is amazingly fun, and jaw-droppingly WISE. He’s the pied piper of the student leaders of the band world.

That day, Dr. Tim affirmed the importance of an undertaking like the Association of Music Parents. “Open your perspective of what’s possible,” he encouraged. He spoke to the heart of music boosters everywhere: “I’m doing the most important thing in my life: supporting my child.”

The session ended with roundtable discussions. There were three veteran music boosters, each prepared with a valuable topic. Terry Motsenbocker of Center Grove High School in Indiana led the discussion on volunteering. The fundraising and publicity conversation was moderated by Lisa Simone Riley of Carmel High School in Indiana. Fellow AMP blogger Marsha Mourdock of Music Travel Consultants and Alan C. Pope High School in Georgia led the discussion on travel.

I sat in on the volunteer roundtable, though I truly wished I could split myself into three! This experience was worth its weight in gold. Imagine getting to sit next to the band booster president of one of the most successful and accomplished high school bands in the Midwest. Now imagine you can ASK HIM ANYTHING. How do they DO it? He gave us several tips that work for his program.

Now imagine expanding this experience beyond one table in a convention center in Indianapolis. Imagine parents nationwide tapping into this community of music booster veterans and arts education experts. Imagine the resources we could share! Imagine not having to re-invent the music-booster-program wheel just because you’re passionate about supporting your child’s music education. Imagine what we as a community could accomplish if we cooperated and focused our efforts.

Right now, your network of resources might only include other music boosters from your program, and maybe the director. Today, most music booster programs stand alone. It doesn’t have to be that way tomorrow. Get plugged into AMP, and your list of resources will EXPLODE!

I’ll leave you with the thought that has stayed with me since that session. Dr. Tim reminded us of the sheer power we hold as parents. “Music boosters are a sleeping giant….there are 22 million music parents in the nation.” We are a force to be reckoned with! Are you ready to turn up the volume and be heard?