Thanks to the efforts of Drum Corps International strategic partner National Association for Music Education (NAfME), annually March is marked as Music In Our Schools Month in the United States.

Music In Our Schools Month is the perfect opportunity to bring light to music education advocacy and the positive benefits of participation in the arts for students.

NAfME says: "Music programs nationwide are in danger. State and local legislators are attempting to make up for funding shortfalls in this difficult economy by cutting education budgets, which can place school music at risk. Advocacy takes place on many fronts, and advocates for music education need to learn to speak to different audiences, each of whom has a key contribution to make. Music In Our Schools Month—March 2013—is a perfect time to get involved and do your part to ensure that America's students have access to a comprehensive, sequential music education taught by exemplary music educators."

Here are just a few of the ways you can get involved:

Share your story

Through social media, NAfME is collecting personal experiences from people around the country about how music education has been an important part of their lives.

"NAfME wants to hear from people whose lives have been positively affected by music," Executive Director and CEO Michael A. Butera said. "We are collecting 'stories'—any kind of personal testimony—from teachers, students and parents about why music education is important. We are posting these on our advocacy blog and on a special page on our website. We will use these stories when we visit Capitol Hill later this year to make our case for protecting music in school. The more we can collect from constituents, the better positioned we will be to garner support in Congress for our legislative agenda, which includes supporting the arts as a core subject in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act."

Celebrity Public Service Announcements

From Harry Connick Jr. to the Backstreet Boys, NAfME has an extensive library of celebrities endorsing the importance of music education. Download the audio files and encourage your local radio stations to play the 60-second messages on air.

Music education fact a day

Throughout March, NAfME is posting a "fact of the day" on its Facebook and Twitter pages to reinforce the benefits of music education. Follow the organization on social media and re-tweet and re-post their messages.

Establish March 4th as National Marching Arts Day

Drum Corps International has started a petition with President Obama's administration at the White House, to establish March 4 as "National Marching Arts Day." With the help of other like organizations, we are looking to use this opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the positive effects on young people and our society from lessons learned and life skills acquired through involvement with the unique collection of activities comprising the "marching arts."

In order for this petition to be considered, we need to collect 100,000 signatures by April 2, 2013. Help create this outstanding opportunity for our country to recognize the remarkable achievements of people engaging in the marching arts.

Learn more about Music In Our Schools Month

NAfME has plentiful resources dedicated to promoting and celebrating this very special month.