Willis Music President meets with Senator Mitch McConnell as part of NAMM Fly-In
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – On March 26-28, Willis Music President and Owner, Kevin Cranley, took part in the NAMM Fly-In 2013 in Washington, D.C., and met with Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. NAMM, or the National Association of Music Merchants, organizes the annual Advocacy Fly-In on behalf of school music education programs in public schools, to promote the benefits that playing music can have for children and teens, and to assure that federal education policy and funding advance access to music learning for all children. Approximately 30 members of NAMM met with various members of the U.S. Congress and Senate.
Cranley, who was elected among 9,000 members and is currently serving a 2-year-term as NAMM Chairman, was joined by artists Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bernie Williams, former NY Yankee and Latin Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist – both of whom are strong advocates of music education.
This is the first time that Cranley was able to meet with Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.
“This was the first time I met Senator McConnell and I was most impressed with his insight into our concerns and his willingness to support music and the arts as we move forward,” said Cranley. “I expressed the need for Congress to work together to reauthorize the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) formally called ‘No Child Left Behind’. It has been 6 years since it has been scheduled for re-authorized.
Cranley left the meeting feeling very hopeful and positive about his discussion with the senator.
“I have been going to Washington each year for several years now and this was the first time I walked away with hope that re-authorization can happen. I do not know what is causing this renewed energy, but our entire group felt an improved atmosphere concerning compromise and progress. Hopefully we will now see results,” he said.
In addition, Cranley feels that the re-authorization also needs to add clarity concerning how funds can be used.
“Federal funds as spelled out in Titles 1 and 2 can be used at the discretion of local districts as they determine how to best educate their students,” he explained. “However, there is a misconception that these funds cannot be used for music and the arts. That is simply not true and needs to be clarified in the re-authorization.”
According to a Harris Poll, school principals report higher graduation rates in schools with robust music and art programs than do those without programs (90.2% as compared to 72.9%). In addition, those that rate their programs as “excellent” or “very good” have an even higher graduation rate (90.9%). Schools that have music programs have significantly higher attendance rates than do those without programs (93.3% as compared to 84.9%).
NAMM’s annual Advocacy Fly-In gives NAMM Members the opportunity to advocate to their Members of Congress for policy and funding to support music and arts education. This advocacy effort includes one day of preparation at the Kennedy Center and another day of personal meetings with representatives and other influencers. Sessions are preceded by an issues briefing and training, after which NAMM Members hit the halls of the U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings to lobby their representatives about the importance of music education and needed changes to assure access for music learning. During the trip NAMM Members are also trained on developing state-level advocacy efforts for music and arts education that they can take back to their communities in time for school budget season.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,000 Member companies located in more than 87 countries. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266).
About Willis Music
The Willis Music Company was founded in 1899. We are the one-stop shop for all things musical. Willis Music is the premier publisher of teaching methods, including John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano – the most widely used piano methods in the world. The Willis Music publishing catalog contains more than 5,000 titles. There are currently six locations in Cincinnati and Kentucky. Willis Music is also the regional representative for Steinway & Sons pianos in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton. For more information, visit www.willismusic.com or call 859-283-2050.
This Press Release is from the desk of Christy Schutte, Public Relations Manager – Willis Music Company.