FOCUS ON ADVOCACY: Develop an Annual Report Featuring Your Music Education Program

In This Article:

(Editor’s Note: Successful public school music education program advocates continually highlight the positive impact these programs have on students. Now more than ever, consider presenting an annual report to administrators and school board members. When done on an annual basis, it offers an opportunity to highlight achievements and evaluate progress made. This article by Dr. John Benham elaborates.)

There are two primary reasons why your music education coalition should create an annual report about the music education programs in your school system:

  1.  Marketing: Developing an Annual Report is simply the best way to keep your administration and school board informed about the importance and status of your music program. It can help establish the validity of music education as a core value in the community.
  2. Assessment: An Annual Report will give you a more accurate picture of what your music education program really is accomplishing. It will provide you with the information you need to move your program forward.

What Are The Key Elements of An Annual Report?

Your report should contain information on various components of the program, achievements, and any issues related to the current status of the program and its potential for growth. Some suggestions are categorized below.


  • List significant recognition of individual faculty such as awards, honors, publications, years-of-service milestones
  • Identify the number of FTE in each area of the curriculum
  • Summarize the student-faculty ratios in each area of the curriculum


  • List significant accomplishments of performance groups: festivals, contests, tours
  • List significant accomplishments of individual student performers: solo and ensemble contests, scholarships to graduating seniors
  • Summarize general academic success of music students: honor roll, average G.P.A., SAT/ACT scores
  • Summarize student completion of music curriculum competencies
  • Summarize the performance events of the year: co-curricular, extra-curricular

Student Participation

  • Summarize student enrollments in music classes: general music, band, choir, orchestra
  • Summarize the average class sizes in each area of the curriculum
  • Identify percentages of student participation by grade and school
  • Identify attrition rates that exceed 15% between any two grades as areas of concern
  • Summarize results of exit interviews of student who drop music performance classes
  • Summarize the average class sizes in each area of the curriculum


  • Determine the FTE value of the average music performance teacher
  • Summarize the expenditure of budgetary funds
  • Demonstrate need for budgetary funds in the coming year

Music Coalition

  • The Administrative Liaison Committee of the Music Coalition should prepare the report in cooperation with the music teachers.
  • The Administrative Liaison Committee should present an abbreviated oral report at a public meeting of the school board, based on the formal written report.
  • The report should summarize the activities of the Music Coalition and its contributions to the district, including fundraising.

Finally – don’t forget to express your appreciation to the administration, board and community for accepting the report and for their past support for the program!

-- Dr. John Benham is a leading music education advocate, consultant and teacher, who served two terms on a Minnesota school board of education.