Even though experts have shown that music education improves performance in and out of the classroom, increases SAT scores and keeps kids in school, budget cuts have been breaking up marching bands and silencing school choruses across the country.
|Paul McCartney in Prague, Czech Republic, 2004.|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
To combat this trend, Fidelity Investments joined music icon Paul McCartney to launch a new public charity, the Music Lives Foundation, aimed at increasing funding for music education programs in schools.
"As a boy growing up in Liverpool, I was surrounded by music," said McCartney. "That's just the way it was. The problem is that more and more music programs are in danger of being eliminated. That's why I'm proud to join Fidelity in supporting the Music Lives Foundation. After years and years of playing in a band and making a living doing what I love, I can honestly say, 'Where would I be without music?'"
Initially, the foundation plans to raise funds through special promotions of a limited edition "Music Lives" pewter bracelet with McCartney's signature and "Fidelity Investments" engraved inside. Each person contributing at least $40 to the cause - the cost of putting one musical instrument into the hands of a child - will receive the commemorative bracelet for showing support. You can make a donation at www.musiclives.org.
"School music education programs mean more to kids than learning how to play an instrument or carry a tune; they significantly add to a student's academic and social life," said Robert L. Reynolds, Fidelity vice chairman and chief operating officer. "Music education is a critical program of study that gets scant attention and fewer and fewer dollars every year. The Music Lives Foundation wants to combat this trend and keep music alive in our schools for years to come."
Studies show that students who are highly involved in music and arts education have higher SAT scores, measurably better potential for math learning, lower drop-out rates and fewer disciplinary problems.
"School music programs across the country are facing a serious threat as budgets are chipped away in favor of a narrow view of what kids need - despite the fact that music education actually helps kids achieve in all sorts of studies," said John Mahlmann, executive director of MENC: The National Association of Music Education. "Support by a musician of Paul McCartney's stature and of a leading corporation like Fidelity will bring much-needed national attention to this issue."