Ep. 32: The immediate, visible, hands-on power you didn’t know you have, with Save School Music’s John Benham

Ep. 32: The immediate, visible, hands-on power you didn’t know you have, with Save School Music’s John Benham

March 3, 2020

John Benham’s advocacy work and methods have saved over $70 million in proposed music cuts, equivalent to approximately 2,000 teaching positions affecting 500,000 music students. For more than 30 years, March has been officially designated as Music In Our Schools Month by the National Association for Music Education. John’s book, Music Advocacy: Moving from Survival to Vision, provides instruction in building, saving, and restoring music programs.

Guest

In recognition of Music In Our Schools Month, today’s guest is John Benham, author of Music Advocacy: Moving from Survival to Vision. He has been in music education for over forty years (in elementary through university levels) and has a Doctorate in Education. His area of expertise is building, saving, and restoring music programs. His advocacy work and methods have saved over $70 million in proposed music cuts, equivalent to approximately 2,000 teaching positions affecting 500,000 music students.

Notes

  • John’s 4 key components to music advocacy:
    1. Music Coalition with 4 subcommittees: a) Communications; b) administrative liason; c) statistics & finances; d) philosophy and curriculum
    2. Unified Faculty;
    3. Understanding the School System (incl. the function and dysfunction in decision-making and finances); and
    4. The Right Information (John discusses Educational Reform and Reverse Economics)
  • “The mission of education is not to teach, it is learning.” – John Benham
  • John discusses teaching/administering/educating vs. learning.
  • He became an advocate in 1981 when his kids’ secondary school faced a 70% orchestra cut and 40% band cut due to an $8 million district deficit.
  • “A financial crisis exposes your educational philosophy.” – John Benham
  • John’s successes in saving school music programs have been documented in the “Music Educators Journal,” “Music, Inc.,” the “Wind Instrument Retailer,” and the “Instrumentalist.” He is the recipient of numerous state and national awards.
  • 95% of the school districts John’s worked with have been successful in saving their music programs.

Resources

Improv

John re-emphasizes the establishment of a Music Coalition, with its four sub-committees, as key to music advocacy. John also recommends downloading the Public School Music Participation Survey Form from his website’s Resources page to track student participation across grades and schools.

Connect

Coda

John tells the story behind the movie Drumline, which represents students from a program he helped save in DeKalb County, Georgia.

Closing Words

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, comment on social media (I’m on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), or send me an email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com). I’ll be back next week with very practical information on accessing the full benefits of playing a musical instrument even for those who face obstacles including physical mobility, scheduling and transportation, rural geographic location, and other logistical challenges. Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.  

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