NAMM Advocacy Summit: Speakers and Artists Sound Off

In This Article:

NAMM Advocacy Summit Quotes

On June 16, 2020 NAMM members and music education allies gathered online to participate in the NAMM Advocacy Summit. The summit provided participants to learn, engage and advocate for music education. 

Below is a compilation of soundbites heard during the educational sessions and live musical performances. Missed the summit? Watch it in its entirety on

NAMM Advocacy Summit

On Championing Music Education 

“We are all super heroes. We are waiting for a catalyst to unlock those powers. That’s what the NAMM Advocacy Summit is. You have the power to affect the change yourself.” – J. Dash, Producer and Recording Artist, Slapdash Productions

“Usually the loudest voices…affect the most change. That’s you, that’s me, that’s all of us. It is our responsibility.” – J. Dash, Producer and Recording Artist, Slapdash Productions

“It is important to keep music at the forefront in the ‘new normal.’ … If you are not at the table, you are on the menu. One person can make a big difference. Take that step and be at the table.” –  David Jewell, Marketing Communications Manager, Yamaha Corporation of America

“Nobody is against music and arts education. It is finding people who will champion it.” – Leo Coco, Senior Policy Advisor, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

NAMM Advocacy Summit

On Equity and Access 

“For such a time as this, our door is wide open. We can become more vocal about eliminating barriers, especially for those students that have commonly been left behind and ignored. We are empowered to be change agents.” – Mackie Spradley, National President, National Association for Music Education

“What we need is a new universal design for music making. [We need] multiple solutions. All of which keep safety and equity as prime concerns, proclaiming that black musician lives matter and that public health must be a component of our collective musical community.” – Bill Pelto, 
Executive Director, The College Music Society

“It is evident why we need advocacy when we see what’s going around the world around us.  We are obligated not just to stand on the side of what is right, but to fight for it and make it real- and in the process, change our world and change ourselves.” – Chris Cushing, Managing Director, Federal Strategies Team, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

“I know the profound impact music had on me as a child. I benefitted from music education programs in middle school, high school and beyond. It should be a right [for others] to have that same experience. The ability to use art to unlock different areas of the mind…every child should have [that] access.” –  J. Dash, Producer and Recording Artist, Slapdash Productions

NAMM Advocacy Summit

On the Future of Music Education 

“We need to be at the table. Say, ‘I want kids to be successful. I know music can help. How can I help?” – Lynn Tuttle, Director of Public Policy, Research & Professional Development, National Association for Music Education

“Music is the heart and soul of learning.” – Mary Luehrsen, Director of NAMM Public Affairs and Government Relations, NAMM

“I find it impossible to imagine any discussions about student learning, music making and curricula revisions that are not specifically informed by both the effects and threat of the pandemic and our wakeup to the realities of inequalities and racism that pervade our higher education institutions and organizations.” – Bill Pelto, Executive Director, The College Music Society

“There are opportunities in creating and connecting. Rather than creating performers how do we create musicians instead?’ – David Dik, National Executive Director, Young Audiences

NAMM Advocacy Summit

What You Can Do 

“All states have some sort of MEA association. [These are] a great way to get involved. I’ve found huge value in association work because bringing together the best minds-there’s value in that.” – Mark Despotakis, Director of Market Development, Progressive Music

“When you reach out to your congressman, bring them into your space. If you have a band concert or event, invite them.” – David Jewell, Marketing Communications Manager, Yamaha Corporation of America

“Be consistent and be resilient.” – Robin Walenta, President and CEO, West Music and former NAMM Chair

“We need to shift from ‘No, but,” to “Yes, and…” – David Dik, National Executive Director, Young Audiences

NAMM Advocacy Summit

Artists Sound Off 

“Once I discovered that I can really change someone’s day [through music], that really had an effect on me. Once I started performing in schools and teaching, I thought, ‘this is it.’ I love being able to influence people younger and older than me and share all of the knowledge I’ve been grateful to receive in 17 years.” – Ifetayo Ali-Landing, Sphinx Performance Academy Alum

“It’s [important to] lend my voice to make sure people understand how important music and the arts are.” – Bernie Williams, Latin Jazz Guitarist and NY Yankees World Series Champion