CMA and the CMA Foundation unveiled its new “Music Education Matters” campaign during CMA Music Festival and announced that superstar Keith Urban will be the first national ambassador for the program, which provides musical instruments and teaching support to programs serving inner-city youth.
“Music is not only powerful, it’s magical,” said Urban. “It has the ability to bring people together, to inspire, calm, enhance creativity and intelligence, and to improve concentration. There is nothing like seeing the genesis of the relationship between an instrument and a child or young adult. I’m so honored and proud that the CMA Foundation has given us this opportunity to be a part of something that can have such a positive effect on so many young lives.”
Getting instruments into the hands of children is not just something that Urban has championed through the years, but is something he’s supporting with a personal donation. He is contributing 60 Keith Urban guitars complete with amplifiers, strings, and picks to five Music Education Matters partner programs across the country including programs in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City, and San Francisco.
“Several of these programs have instruments that were provided by the Foundation, but thanks to Keith’s generosity some of our most ambitious and talented students will have a guitar to take home for practice and improving their skills,” said Ron Samuels, Chairman of the CMA Foundation Board of Directors. “This donation is life changing and central to our message that Music Education Matters.”
“I am extremely grateful for Keith’s generosity and his commitment to advancing music education,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “I have witnessed the difference an instrument makes in the development of a child. Just imagine if someone hadn’t put a guitar in Keith Urban’s hands.”
Young performers from Metro Nashville Public Schools – one of the recipient programs – participated in the announcement at the AT&T U-verse® Fan Fair X in the Music City Center. Students from JFK Middle School and Antioch High School surprised Urban with a rendition of his hit, “Days Go By” and four, high school guitar students from Nashville School of the Arts joined Urban and his band for a performance of Urban’s new single “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.”
“I have witnessed first-hand the effect a musical instrument can make in the life of a student,” said Linda Friend, a Metro Music Specialist at John F. Kennedy Middle School. “Rex Yape, a 2014 graduate of Antioch High School, was first provided with recorders through CMA while just a young performer in the Antioch-based ‘Renaissance Kids.’ During his sophomore year, while auditioning on recorder for membership into the Tri-M Music Honor Society, one of the judges suggested that Rex might make a fine oboe player. On Monday morning of the next week a brand new CMA oboe was presented to Rex. Rex used that oboe to audition for All-State and to play as a member of the Curb Youth Symphony. Rex has just completed his first year at the Curtis Institute of Music, undeniably one of the top music institutions in the world, and is looking forward to a career as a professional musician, something that would not have been possible without the generosity of CMA.”
The guitars will be distributed to five separate in-school and after-school programs including Notes for Notes, which constructs and operates recording studios in Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide. The CMA Foundation has funded studios in Atlanta, Austin, Brooklyn, Detroit, Nashville, and San Francisco, with plans to expand into other markets in 2016.
“Everyday youth in our studios are getting their hands on instruments but thanks to Keith we will be able to gift these guitars to our most dedicated players to take home and shred into their musical dreams,” said Phil Gilley, CEO/ Co-Founder Notes for Notes.