Music Advocacy

In some communities - and even entire national education systems - music is provided little support as an academic subject area, and music teachers feel that they must actively seek greater public endorsement for music education as a legitimate subject of study. This perceived need to change public opinion has resulted in the development of a variety of approaches commonly called "music advocacy". Music advocacy comes in many forms, some of which are based upon legitimate scholarly arguments and scientific findings, while other examples rely on unconvincing data and remain rather controversial.

Among the more recent high-profile music advocacy projects that have become the subject of widespread controversy are the "Mozart Effect" (which is now widely believed to be based on misinterpretation and exaggeration), the National Anthem Project, and the movement referred to as Cultural Diversity in Music Education which seeks out means of equitable pedagogy across students regardless of their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic circumstance. Even though the “Mozart Effect” is a controversy it has some significance in proving that it is reliable. The test has two, a group that has music taught and a group with no music taught. When this test was given to three-year-olds their temporal test improved by 35% over those with no music; this lasted for several days. The only flaw to this test is the different age groups, the older you are the less of the effect it will have on you.

Many contemporary music scholars assert that music advocacy will only be truly effective when based on empirically sound arguments that transcend political motivations and personal agendas. This position regarding music advocacy has especially been advanced by music education philosophers (such as Bennett Reimer, Estelle Jorgensen, David J. Elliott, John Paynter and Keith Swanwick,), yet a gap remains between the discourse of music education philosophy and the actual practices of music teachers and music organization executives.