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APSU student promotes music education in Washington, D.C.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In July, Austin Peay State University music education student Davey Edmaiston boarded an airplane for the first time. If he was nervous, the Troy, Tennessee, native probably calmed himself by thinking about the importance of his trip. In a few hours, he’d land in Washington, D.C., to ask members of the U.S. Congress to make music education a priority for American school children.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In July, Austin Peay State University music education student Davey Edmaiston boarded an airplane for the first time. If he was nervous, the Troy, Tennessee, native probably calmed himself by thinking about the importance of his trip. In a few hours, he’d land in Washington, D.C., to ask members of the U.S. Congress to make music education a priority for American school children.

“I’d never been anywhere out of the state before. First plane ride and everything. My mom was pretty scared,” Edmaiston said. “But we got to meet with senators and House representatives and talk about the Every Child Achieves Act, which identifies music as a core-curricular so every student has access to music.”

Edmaiston was one of only four college students from Tennessee asked to join a delegation from the Tennessee Music Education Association (TMEA) on its annual lobbying trip to the nation’s capital. TMEA is the state’s chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the professional organization for music educators across the country. Edmaiston, a member of APSU’s collegiate chapter of NAfME, joined the organization’s leadership team and students from Cumberland University and The University of Tennessee at Martin for the trip.

“This is a big deal for him,” Dr. Eric Branscome, APSU associate professor of music education, said. “It’s also incredible exposure for Austin Peay. I don’t know of a time when another APSU student has gone on this trip.”

Edmaiston spent three days in Washington, D.C., meeting with members of congress and telling them why they should vote for the bill. On one visit, he met U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, an APSU alumnus.

“I got to play guitar with him,” Edmaiston said. “He’s a really, really cool guy.”

After talking about the Every Child Achieves Act with Tennessee’s representatives and senators, Edmaiston returned to Clarksville and watched the senate

discuss the bill on C-SPAN. On July 16, the U.S. Senate passed the bill by a vote of 81 to 17. A news release issued that afternoon by NAfME said the “Senate’s action today is an important step forward in ensuring that all students—regardless of their socioeconomic status—experience the demonstrable positive impact that music education has on learning and life.”

For Edmaiston, the trip both bolstered his resume and got him thinking about how else he can promote music education.

“I’ve gotten really big into politics now,” he said. “I never saw myself as interested in politics. But I’ve really gotten into advocating.”