Music Education Was Front and Center at the Miami-Dade School District SupportMusic Community Forum

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The third leg of The NAMM Foundation’s SupportMusic Community Forum and Lennon Bus two-day residency took place on October 29th in Miami, Florida. Schools in Miami-Dade Public County Schools(MDPCS)were among more than 400 NAMM Foundation-designated Best Communities for Music Education. They were invited to showcase their musical chops to both the local community and to the NAMM Foundation’s national audience after winning a NAMM Foundation-sponsored video contest that explained ”What Makes Music Education Great in My School District”.

Having won the video contest, the district earned the opportunity to be one of six stops on the SupportMusic Tour. Students who attend MDCPS are known for their creativity, which was on full display in their winning video, “This is Miami,” that featured spoken word narration set to music.

The Community Forum was a continuous celebration of the music programs offered during the school day at MDCPS with performances by The Ferguson Pan Life Steel Drum band and the Cutler Bay Middle School Marching Band.

"Music is imagination. It is self-confidence,” said Paul Pfieffer, Principal of Cutler Bay Middle School.

Without a doubt, music is part of everyday life in Miami-Dade County Public Schools; and parents, school board members, and leaders in the community whole-heartedly encourage student participation.

A special surprise occurred mid-forum when Tricia Steel, from Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and Jessica Erskine from StubHub presented Cutler Bay Middle School students with $70,000 worth of new band and orchestra instruments. The young band and chorus kids were awestruck as they stared at the instruments on stage that now belonged to them—a priceless moment that highlighted the value of collaboration among community partners and schools.

Cutler Bay Middle School’s brand new music teacher, Chris Castro, told the local NBC station what it meant to receive the donation. He said, “It is important that we keep advocating for music. It helps students have an outlet.”

By the end of the action-packed SupportMusic Community Forum, the young musicians headed back to the classroom with a renewed sense of pride and inspiration. Keynote Howard Herring, from New World Symphony said it best, "I invite us all to be brave. Congrats!"

In 2015 Miami-Dade County Public Schools received a Best Communities for Music Education designation. Click here, if you are interested in learning how to apply to be considered for this national designation for 2016.

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