Last week, 222 music educators from across the U.S. were recognized as quarterfinalists in the 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator Award. The GRAMMY Music Educator Award program began in 2012 and named its first recipient, Kent Knappenberger, late last year. Music for All is proud that 11 music teachers who participate in MFA programming were honored by the GRAMMY Foundation. More than 7,000 nominations from all 50 states were submitted this year. Semifinalists will be announced in September, with Finalists and the winner named in December.
In a middle school band, just the thought of performing could send a student into a panic attack. For several students in Florida, their nervousness likely went a step further. Phil Collins came out of semi-retirement last week to perform with the Miami Country Day School band, where his son attends. The British musician and singer-songwriter performed some of his hits with the middle school band. While definitely before any of the kids' times, I'm sure the kids had a blast playing with Collins. The performance has also generated plenty of press for the Miami Country Day School band, as this video had close to 285,000 views when this blog was posted. The performance, which you can view below, was Collins' first since 2010.
I can still remember vividly field trips in elementary school to the local symphony orchestra for matinee concerts. Musicians would also visit the school and introduce each of the different instruments and feature an instrument petting zoo for students who would then begin band the next year. For kids across the country, this is a common experience, including students across the Bay Area in California. 30,000 students visit the San Francisco Symphony each year, providing many their very first live music experience. The San Francisco Symphony also features an outreach initiative for underserved areas of the Silicon Valley called Concerts for Kids. Volunteers of the Silicon Valley League of the San Francisco Symphony bring students to concerts and introduce them to live classical music. Does your community feature a similar program? We'd love to hear about it – click here to tell us your story!
We have featured several articles and social media posts about the incredible work of Dr. Nina Kraus at Northwestern University, who has been a leader in researching the scientific benefits of musical instruction. A student of Dr. Kraus wrote this recent blog post explaining why scientific evidence is an excellent resource for making the case for music education. Jessica Slater states: "If a policy-maker isn’t swayed by music teachers telling them that the kids who play music seem to do better in school, perhaps they will listen to researchers saying that music training strengthens attention and memory skills, or improves the ability to hear a teacher in a noisy classroom, or the precision of neural responses to speech." If you're having trouble convincing a representative of the benefits of music education in your community, I encourage you to check out Ms. Slater's blog post for plenty of scientific research to make your case.
If you are not familiar with a YouTube phenomenon called "ASAPScience," I encourage you to click here, block out an hour or two of your time and learn the scientific reasoning behind tons of phenomenon in our society. From "The Science of Laziness" to "Which Came First: The Chicken or The Egg," ASAPScience is an easy way to learn more about our fascinating world. Last week, the creators of ASAPScience featured a post focusing on our ears and followed up with a moving video on how music can impact your life. They referenced clinical trials where playing music from each decade has helped brain injury patients regain some memories, as well as a trial where individuals associated the happiness/mood of a photo depending on what type of music was playing in the background. Watch the video for yourself below, and let us know if you think music can save a life!