Metro Nashville Music Education Reform

Metro Nashville Music Education Reform

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Rainni Crutchfield started this petition to metro Nashville public schools

By making changes to its existing music education program, Music Makes Us, or MMU, Metro Nashville can take a positive step in the direction of inclusivity and equity for its community and for classical music as a whole. There are several positive aspects about MMU already, such as its commitment to eliminating barriers to music education and enhancing the quality of music education for all Metro Nashville Public School students. But there are changes that can be made to the program that would help actualize these commitments more clearly. 

MMU should provide free instruments and free private lessons to its participants. This is crucial to promoting equity for students in Nashville, as access to these resources is undoubtedly the most expensive and therefore exclusionary aspect of music education. The current application that Metro Nashville has in place to determine students that qualify for free and reduced lunch could serve as a model for determining the allocation of music education resources in this reformed program. Students that apply for free instruments and are approved based on income guidelines will be provided with free instruments. Funding for the provision of free instruments is already in place under a program called “Keep the Music Playing”, led by the Country Music Association. By expanding the organizations involved with “Keep the Music Playing” and raising awareness for the program, funding will increase even more, allowing for this necessary reform. 

Currently, general music classes are taught in Metro Nashville schools, but intensive music training like one-on-one private lessons are not part of the curriculum at any level, even in the high school programs. Access to intensive training from qualified teachers is one of the biggest music education challenges for students of lower socioeconomic status, and there is currently no plan in place to support these students. The solution to this is the adoption of a mentorship program. Music majors from local universities like Belmont, Vanderbilt, and Lipscomb could gain a lot from partnering with MMU to provide music lessons and instruction to younger students in the program. A volunteer-based program would be financially conservative for Metro Nashville and would still provide the music training that these children need with the additional benefit of valuable hands-on experience for music students at local universities. Beginning intensive music training earlier, providing free instruments, and implementing mentor-led private lessons are all simple changes that would have significant impacts on the lives of students in Metro Nashville and, eventually, would lead to greater diversity in classical music as a whole as more opportunities are provided to students that would otherwise never have them. 

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