Ep. 147: What is the current “State of the Arts?” with the Godfather of Music Advocacy, Bob Morrison

How healthy is music (and arts) education in the US?

Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

How healthy is music (and arts) education in the US? Music advocacy legend Bob Morrison shares the history of US advocacy efforts; his assessment of where we are now; what gives him the most hope; and our biggest challenge. He explains what advocacy means to him – and a “tell” for when it’s being done most effectively.


My guest today is kind of the godfather of music advocacy, the Renaissance Man of Music Advocacy. His advocacy work has earned him a Prime-Time EMMY; a Peabody Award; the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Arts Education; and an honorary doctorate degree from the State University of New York.

He has been Chairman at MakeMusic®, Inc. (makers of Finale and SmartMusic); the founder of Music for All Foundation; founding CEO of Save The Music Foundation; helped create Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation; and served as Director of Market Development for NAMM.

More recently, my guest has held concurrent roles as Founder and CEO of Quadrant Research, the nation’s leading arts education research organization; and Founder & Executive Director of the policy group Arts Ed NJ. He’s also launched the Center for Arts Education and Social Emotional Learning, and the list goes on… If you’ve spent any time in the music advocacy world, you’ve probably guessed that my guest today is Bob Morrison, who is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading researchers and advocates for arts education.

Bob Morrison


We discuss:

  • A historical timeline of the arts advocacy effort in the US.
  • Where are we today? What is the current climate of arts education in the US?
  • What Bob is devoting most of his energy to right now, and why. In light of the many, many ways Bob has advocated for music and arts education throughout his career, what brought him to this current destination in his journey?
  • Where are we headed/what is ahead for arts education?
  • What can listeners do about this if they would like to help move the needle in support of arts education? Bob’s recommended resources and action steps.
  • What does “music advocacy” mean, and who is responsible for it?
  • What sparked Bob’s deep and long-lasting passion for arts education & advocacy.
  • What gives him the most hope/what is most encouraging right now about the field of arts education.
  • What challenge is most important now within the field.

Connect/Other Resources

  • Quadrant Research is a nationally recognized leader in research, analysis, and market intelligence serving the fields of culture, commerce, government and education. Quadrant Research specializes in arts education and serves the four major arts disciplines: music, dance, theater and visual arts. Quadrant Research provides data, analysis, and market intelligence to give clients an accurate picture of current market conditions plus the knowledge needed for future growth.
  • Arts Education Data Project (AEDP) is a research campaign formed with the collaborative initiative between Quadrant Research and State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE). The project is a systemic and data-driven approach to charting the current status and condition of arts education in America, providing valuable insights about arts education’s future direction, and serving to increase student participation in all schools across the United States.
  • Bob on Twitter
  • Bob on Facebook:
  • Bob mentioned California Proposition 28, Art and Music K-12 Education Funding Initiative. Since our conversation, this proposition did pass; click here for more information.
  • Bob mentions the following resources:

Other episodes we mentioned or that you may enjoy:

In-Episode Promo

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Bob shares how music impacted him at a young age, and why he fights for this to be a right for others.

Closing Words

Thank you so much to Bob for sharing with us today, and for all he has done, throughout his career, and continues to do to enhance lives with music.

As always, there are lots of links in the show notes to resources discussed in this episode. You’ll also find a list of related episodes you may enjoy.

All Enhance Life with Music episodes are evergreen; so check out the back catalogue for more ways that music can make your life better.

If you know of someone who would enjoy this episode, please share it with them! It’s easy to do right in your podcast listening app – just look for your app’s “Share” function to share by text, email, or social media. And of course you can always share the show notes webpage as well.

You can always connect with me on email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next time, may your life be enhanced with music.

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