The Music Achievement Council (MAC) has announced November 21st as the annual First Performance National Day of Celebration (FPNDoC) to celebrate, honor and encourage the early achievements of beginning music students across the United States. This innovative program provides a platform for budding musicians to showcase their newly-acquired musical skills in a public venue within the first 6-7 weeks of school to encourage continued engagement in music as well as to rally parents, administrators, the school population and the community-at-large in support of music education.
The growing program underscores the importance of active music-making in schools, and more so, to encourage the students’ demonstration of their musical skills in a positive environment. Studies continue to show that the benefits of robust, music education programs have ripple effects which enhance students’ acumen across the education spectrum: music students have higher achievement scores in English, math and science than those who are not active in music; and that increased music and art in school lead to increased graduation rates.
“Just as in sports, with games starting shortly after the beginning of the school year, music students and their directors should also have the chance to honor and recognize their work in creating the skills that last a lifetime,” said Doug Lady, Chairman of the Music Achievement Council. “By celebrating and honoring the early achievements of music students, we’re able to encourage continued development in music and the arts.”
MAC received passionate support and feedback from directors and retailers as a result of last year’s inaugural FPNDoC campaign. Glen Schneider, member of the Wind and Percussion Faculty at Metea Valley High School in Aurora, IL commented that the FPNDoC, “not only celebrates all of the ‘stuff’ that goes along with your program – like correct posture, notes, and rhythms, it also celebrates the student work ethic and support of the parents and administrators while also encouraging everyone to think about the long journey of music education.”
To support the effort for music teachers, band leaders, and school administration, MAC has produced a First Performance National Day of Celebration Toolkit, which includes links to scripts, letters to teachers, invitations to parents, and certificates of advancement for the participating students. Also included are links to an optional repertoire, however many directors choose to perform material right from the method book. First Performance, originally conceived by esteemed music educator, Sandy Feldstein, is another performance option and is available in physical form from local school music retailers or online. School music retailers may order physical copies from Hal Leonard.
Participating schools are encouraged to share the progress of their students by using the social media hashtag, #FPNDoC.