Florida-Georgia-Line-photo-by-Kristin-BarloweCMA IN THE SCHOOLS

Keep The Music Playing

At most I was half awake between 5 and 6 a.m., the TV still on from falling asleep watching the night before, when the news reader said something to the effect that not even 10 percent of school kids today know what the Declaration of Independence is about—even though it’s kind of right there in the title.

She said they don’t know who their U.S. senators are, either, but I’d heard that one before, years ago, so it was no surprise.

But everyone knows who Miley Cyrus is, she said, certainly even the president.

I probably wouldn’t have thought of any of this fully conscious at the press event at the Best Buy Theater yesterday for the 2013 CMA nominations announcement, had they not included a performance of Dierks Bentley’s “Home” by an Education Through Music Choir of fourth and fifth graders—all in their cute little Education Through Music t-shirts—before Florida Georgia Line and Sheryl Crow read off the nominees.

Sheryl-Crow2As CMA Board of Directors President Ed Hardy noted, the choir was returning the favor, as Bentley had a year ago visited P.S. 103 in the Bronx on behalf of CMA’s “Keep The Music Playing” music education program, which provides instruments to kids who need them most. Education Through Music, meanwhile, is a nonprofit organization promoting the use of music in inner-city and disadvantaged area schools as a means of enhancing students’ academic performance and general development.

All this is well and good, I guess, though it reminds me of VH1’s old Save the Music Foundation, another nonprof org dedicated to restoring music programs in America’s public schools and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education—though it might have first focused on saving the music on VH1, not to mention MTV. Or the Grammy Foundation’s “Grammy in the Schools” program, which hooks high schoolers up with music professionals to promote music business careers.

Then again, watch the Grammy Awards and decide for yourself if you want the Grammy anywhere near the schools. Me? I’d post signs saying “Grammy Free Zone” right next to the “Drug-Free” ones.

And as for “Keep The Music Playing,” well, in light of the CMA noms, I’d have targeted country radio programmers way before inner-city kids. But that’s just me.

Jim Bessman


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