NAfME completes successful fundraiser for local music education organization


Photo courtesy of the NAfME Press Room

NAfME is the largest music education organization in the country and the only arts education organization to address all aspects of music education.

Rachel Yim, Senior Reporter

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) OU chapter organized a fundraiser, “Practice-A-Thon,” for a local music education non-profit.

“The Practice-A-Thon went really well,” Hannah Combs, president of the NAfME OU chapter, said. “Truly, none of this could have been possible without the community we have cultivated through NAfME at OU and the support of the NAfME Collegiate state board.”

NAfME is the largest music education organization in the country and the only arts education organization to address all aspects of music education. NAfME actively works to support rising educators through their collegiate membership program. The NAfME chapter at Oakland University was reinstated in the fall semester of 2019 and subsequently was recognized nationally as a 2020 NAfME Collegiate Chapter of Excellence Recognition recipient for the Professional Development category.

In addition to their work with the OU chapter, Combs, a senior majoring in Instrumental Music Education, also serves as the social media chair for the NAfME Collegiate state board. Along with other E-Board members of the OU chapter, Combs brainstorms event ideas and plans professional development in an effort to “fill in some of the gaps and supplement what we learn through the Music Education degree.”

Initially starting as an idea to focus on professional development and community outreach, Practice-A-Thon engaged the community members and their families in sponsoring instruments and voice practice hours and in donations. In order to increase the reach of their fundraiser, Combs decided to bring the idea to the state level and involve the rest of the Michigan NAfME Collegiate state board.

“This helps me to stay in contact with NAfME chapters all over – we’ve had attendance from across the country at many of our virtual events, which has been super exciting. I love the networking opportunities I’ve been granted through this organization.”

According to Combs, the chapter collected a grand total of $270 for 14 days in November with 100 percent of the funds proceeding directly to Accent Pontiac – a non-profit organization based in Pontiac for music education.

Accent Pontiac is committed to lowering conventional barriers to music education, such as cost and transportation, and is dedicated to using music to effect social change. The non-profit now has approximately 200 students enrolled in its programs, which are entirely free of charge. Bucket band ensembles, enrichment programs and group training on woodwind, brass and percussion instruments are available to students. It also provides food to studentsparticiptiating in after-school programs.

“I’m so inspired by their commitment to providing accessible music education to the youth of Pontiac, MI  — it is really special to have such a powerful force for change so close by,” Combs said. “During a time in which music education was becoming increasingly inaccessible due to the inability to teach wind instruments in a classroom setting, Accent Pontiac offered “Porch Lessons.” Students were able to continue learning their instruments while adhering to safety precautions for the pandemic.”

Combs and other e-Board members of the OU NAfME chapter are currently planning more collaborative events for the winter semester, including interactive events for teaching Elementary music and several bigger projects.

“I am looking forward to using this experience to plan future fundraising events that can further support the students in our community,” Combs said.

Anyone interested in joining the OU NAfME chapter can visit their Instagram and Facebook pages @NAfMEOU, or reach out to Combs via email [email protected] If interested in gaining more information about Accent Pontiac, visit their website or Instagram page @accentpontiac, and support the organization in a variety of ways.