Music for All Resources
The Sound of Silence

The Unprecedented Decline of Music Education in California Public Schools:

A Statistical Review


The Sound of Silence - The Unprecedented Decline of Music Education in California Public Schools documents for the first time the impact of budget cuts, high-stakes testing, and the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act on actual student participation in music education programs. Using data available from the dataquest database at the California Department of Education and compiled by the Music for All Foundation in cooperation with several music and arts education organization in California and around the country, the report unveils startling revelations regarding the status of music education programs in California.

The Facts:

There has been a 50% decline in the percentage of students in music education programs over the past five years from 18.5% in 1999-2000 to 9.3% in 2003-2004

This decline represents an actual decrease of more than one-half million students.

The greatest decline was in the area of General Music which suffered an 85% decrease in student enrollment.

The number of music teachers declined by 26.7% during the same period. This represents an actual loss of 1053 teachers.

What is the most disturbing finding? The reductions in the percentage of students involved in music, the actual number of students involved with music, and the number of teachers significantly exceed all other subject areas. Reductions to music education programs in California have been disproportionate when compared to all other subjects.


There is much work to be done to turn this trend around. Here is what YOU can do:

Get Informed!

To learn more:

Download The Sound of Silence (SOS) Executive Summary (PDF)

Download The Sound of Silence Complete Report (PDF)

Read The Sound of Silence press release


Spread the Word!

Email the link to this page to as many people as possible that will share our concern. Encourage them to get involved and take action.

Get Involved !

Visit the American Music Conference web site for additional advocacy tools and information. California residents are eligible for a FREE music education advocacy tool kit!

Visit CMEA: The California Association for Music Education to learn more about music education issue in California.

Visit the California Alliance for Arts Education.

California Residents: Send a fax or letter to key California policy makers. For more information click here.


Stay Plugged In!

Help Us Make A Difference!

To support Music for All's continued work advancing music and arts education issues in California and around the nation you may make a contribution to the Music for All.<