Michigan Music Education Task Force

Formation of Michigan Music Education Task Force

Committee Mission:

Create a statewide committee of major music education associations (Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, Michigan School Vocal Music Association, Michigan Music Education Association and the Michigan Chapter of American String Teachers Association), to develop strategies and plans to adapt to the Governor’s Guidelines for Return To School, Fall 2020.

  • Provide teachers with ideas and strategies for returning to school (all models – normal opening, hybrid or distance-learning).
  • Provide administrators with facts and creative solutions for opening schools to ensure music education thrives.
  • Prevent the current health situation from having irreparable long-term damage to student music education in Michigan.

Framing the issue:

This unprecedented time in our lives has produced an extraordinary time in education and an unparalleled challenge for educators. The needs of every student in Michigan must be in the forefront as we venture into new territory and expectations in the upcoming fall school year.

The united conviction of the Michigan Music Education Association, the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, the Michigan School Vocal Music Association and the Michigan Chapter of American String Teachers Association are as follows:

1.  Music Education fosters the emotional well-being of all students.

  • Music is a vital part of human life. Music education allows the student to experience the world in many ways, no matter what the world around them is currently experiencing.
  • Music is intrapersonal. It allows each student to connect to other learners, other creators, other ideas, and other cultures when social distancing keeps them apart.
  • Music bridges gaps. As students learn music together, whether in the same room or apart, equality is promoted. All music learners have a voice. All music learners have choice. Voices and choices come together in a music environment to create meaningful connections to each other.
  • Music provides an important outlet for people of all ages, but is crucial for young people as they navigate a world that is testing our ability to cope with isolation.

2.  Music Education can occur safely in all school situations.

  • The Michigan standards, benchmarks, and content expectations and the National Core Arts Standards provide meaningful experiences students can have outside of a large performance-ensemble setting.
  • Performances in a public setting are not an immediate need for music learners, considering the current CDC guidelines.
  • Physical distancing can take place in a music learning environment with necessary recommended guidelines.
  • Must be fact-based and backed up by science.
  • Instruments/equipment can be sterilized in a way to eliminate any threats of spreading contagious material.

More than 45 national organizations have joined together to commission a study on the effects of COVID-19 relative to the safety of students and faculty returning to rehearsal halls. This study will provide science-based facts. The study will be conducted primarily in the aerosol laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder and is being conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations and includes American Coral Directors Association, College Band Directors Association, and the National Association for Music Education.


Michigan Music Educators can deliver quality, engaging music education that meets national standards without focusing solely on performance.

Next steps:

  • Committees formed
  • Research conducted
  • Communication strategy
  • Written guidelines

If your district has made decisions regarding implementation of music education next fall, would you please share any details you are comfortable reporting. This is merely to help the task force understand what circumstances are before us and to provide solutions or advocacy for members as desired. Please provide any details at any time over the summer by filling out this form here.

Created: 5/18/2020

Collaborators: Greg Normandin, Charles Bullard, Kevin Culling, Angel Gippert, Jo Ann Gross, Michael Hopkins, Erik Jacobson, Brian Mangiavellano, Christopher Pratt, Janis Peterson, Heidi Schlosser, Dan Scott, David Thornton, Gail Worden, Spiros Xydas, William Vliek