An After-School Music Program
Nutrition for the Mind and Soul
Music Learning Festival
First Lady Michelle Obama, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), the U.S. Department of Education, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and top performers and artists participated in a series of events the week of May 18th to showcase the importance of arts and music education to student achievement.
The events spotlighted the Turnaround Arts initiative, a successful PCAH pilot program to help turn around low-performing schools, narrow the achievement gap, and increase student engagement through the arts.
In May 2012, the President’s Committee, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council, launched the Turnaround Arts initiative as a pilot program in eight “turnaround schools” across the country—public schools in the lowest-achieving five percent of their state that are receiving School Improvement Grants through the U.S. Department of Education. Over the last two years, the Turnaround Arts initiative has brought intensive arts education resources and expertise into the pilot schools and worked with school leadership to make the arts a pillar of their reform strategy. Interim evaluation results show that participating schools are demonstrating improved academic performance, increased student and parent engagement and improved culture and climate.
On Monday, May 18th, NAMM brought soprano opera singer Carla Dirlikov, former New York Yankee great and jazz guitarist Bernie Williams, award-winning folk duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, GRAMMY nominated music educator and guitarist Glen McCarthy, drummer John Fitzgerald from REMO, Music for Life and music industry leaders to Bancroft Elementary in Washington, D.C. for a Music Learning Festival. Fifth graders had the opportunity to play guitar, drums and ukulele with the visiting musicians. Bancroft Elementary is one of the schools participating in the national Turnaround Arts program.
Music for Life provided guitars and teaching assistants for the guitar lessons. Three 35 minute lesson sessions were conducted for each instrument; 75 youth participated.