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In this issue of VH1 Save The Music News!

The Month Of April is Named as Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)

MENC President, Mel Clayton Comments on the Focus on Test Scores

The Month Of April is Named as Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has named the Month of April as Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). JAM will pay tribute to jazz annually both as an historic and a living American art form, with the first celebration scheduled for April 2002. During the month of April the museum will spotlight the history and music of jazz through concerts, programs and museum collections. Other organizations are being encouraged to mark the month with programs of their own.

The Smithsonian operates the world's most comprehensive set of jazz programs. The National Museum of American History is home to the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, more than 100 oral histories of musicians, composers and others, and 100,000 pages of Ellington's unpublished music, as well as Ella Fitzgerald's famous red dress, Dizzy Gillespie's angled trumpet and Benny Goodman's clarinet.

The Smithsonian also launched a preview of a new Web site devoted entirely to jazz. www.SmithsonianJazz.org will explore the full breadth of jazz related holdings and programming at the Institution, including scheduled events for JAM 2002. For details, call 202-357-2700 in spring 2002 or log onto www.SmithsonianJazz.org.

Source: http://politics.yahoo.com/politics/features/us_newswire/20017/0720-102.html

MENC President, Mel Clayton Comments on the Focus on Test Scores

Excerpt from MENC President, Mel Clayton’s column in "Teaching Music" Magazine

Focusing on Success Educational Excellence?
By Mel Clayton, MENC President

For the past fifteen years or so, big-business gurus have been claiming that America’s children are educated too poorly to succeed in today’s job market. In response, our schools have been focusing increasingly on that concern. We have all been engaged in the struggle to "make our schools more accountable" for our children’s education.

So, here we go! We experiment with a plethora of educational reform theories and consultants, most of which have not withstood the test of time. And we develop curricula that gives more time to "basics," often at the expense of music, art, and physical education classes, and even to elementary recess time—all so that our students will be more successful in the workplace. Meanwhile, our students are getting more obese, and thus less healthy, because of a lack of physical exercise. We are devastated by the rise in suicides of young people, the increase of random acts of violence in schools, and the breakdown of the family unit, including the unwillingness of many parents to take responsibility for the well-being of their children.

All adults—including parents, educational leaders, politicians, and anyone with business interests—should take heed: Higher test scores at the expense of a happy and complete childhood will not be worth the price! Where, along this line of educational reform, do we pass the point where children become intellectually over-stimulated at the expense of their emotional growth? Growing up happy is the best weapon against life’s trials. In addition to getting a proper diet and adequate exercise, children need instruction geared toward the development of social skills and self-discipline. Such skills will help our young people achieve self-confidence and a positive value system.

Every music teacher can easily develop a list of students who claim they were "saved" by their experiences in their school music program. Are our schools willing to toss music from the curriculum merely for the sake of raising test scores? Sadly, that seems to be the case in many communities. We should all focus more on our children’s emotional well being than on their scholastic achievements. This means that we must assume responsibility for educating the whole child. As music educators, we must team with others in our schools and communities to ensure that educational leaders and politicians do not lose sight of the needs of our children as they strive to improve the quality of classes in reading, writing and math.

Source: Teaching Music, an official magazine of MENC – The National Association for Music Education, August 2001 (www.menc.org)

The VH1 Save The Music initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in America's public schools by restoring and supporting music programs in cities across the country, and by raising public awareness about the importance of music participation for our Nation's youth.

Visit our Website at http://vh1.com/insidevh1/savethemus

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