The CMA Foundation is donating $50,000 to benefit summer music education programs for 170 low-income students at the W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School. The donation is part of CMA’s Keep the Music Playing initiative, which supports music education on behalf of the hundreds of artists who perform during CMA Music Festival for free.
To date, CMA and The CMA Foundation have provided more than $6.1 million to support this important initiative, purchasing more than 4,000 instruments for 80 Metro Nashville Public Schools and providing the tools and incentives to help keep students engaged in school. The figure also includes a $1 million endowment gift to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Words & Music” program, which assists language arts and music teachers with classroom instruction in the basics of songwriting.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to bridge the school year by making music education available for these low-income children during the summer,” said Kitty Moon Emery, Chair of The CMA Foundation Board of Directors. “Supporting music education is an investment in the future of our city. Statistics demonstrate that students involved in arts programs have higher graduation rates and the benefits of music education translate to their other core curriculum.”
“W.O. Smith Music School is grateful to the Country Music Association and The CMA Foundation for their support of our summer music camps.” said Jonah Rabinowitz, Executive Director of the W.O. Smith School. “The CMA is making an incredible difference in the lives of our low-income students. This investment in children’s futures will bear fruit in our community for generations to come.”
The CMA Keep the Music Playing Camps at the W.O. Smith Music School offer an enrichment activity in a positive musical and social environment that many students could not otherwise afford. Four sessions for summer campers are offered including CMA Resident Camp; CMA Camp BackBeat; and two, week-long day camps for children ages 8 to 11.
In total, 170 children receive expert music training in a fun and rewarding atmosphere for an average cost of $300 per child.
“The camps are a natural extension of our school year program and demand a strong commitment from students toward their musical education and development of native and learned skills,” said Rabinowitz. “For many campers, more advancement in musical competency will be achieved during the concentrated week of learning than in the entire previous school year when attention and time is divided and at a premium.”
CMA Resident Camp is a six-day, residential camp for students ages 12-18 and includes a daily schedule of activities including private lessons, music theory, instrumental ensembles, chorus, self-directed practice time, and a musical theater production.
CMA Camp BackBeat is a weeklong experience for students ages 9 to 18 who are interested in commercial music. Students study guitar, bass, drums, piano, and voice. The camp is specifically designed to help bands form so that they can continue working together throughout the academic year. The students learn about a variety of genres from professional musicians including Country, rock, pop, hip-hop, soul, and R&B.
CMA Music Day Camp (two sessions) is a week-long program for students 8 to 11. This particular program provides a positive musical and social experience within a creative environment. Daily activities include theory class, chorus, performances with guest artists, and field trips. The camp culminates with a performance for the students’ family and friends.
This is CMA’s second donation to the music school. In 2009, CMA’s Keep the Music Playing program provided $14,000 to underwrite the travel costs to send 40 students from W.O. Smith School to Washington D.C. for a special concert series and educational workshop hosted by the President and First Lady. Part of the students’ trip was captured by a GAC crew for a one-hour, news special that aired on the cable network.
Founded in 1984, the W.O. Smith School was created for the purpose of making quality music instruction available to talented, interested, deserving children from low income families at the nominal fee of 50 cents a lesson. Instruction is provided by a 220-member volunteer faculty of area musicians from many elements of the Nashville music scene including studio musicians, symphony players, college professors, public school teachers, church musicians, private teachers, and university students, who each donate up to four hours a week teaching their students.
The school serves more than 700 students, ages 6 to 18, representing academic schools from across Metro Davidson County and Middle Tennessee. Students must qualify for the reduced or free lunch program in Metro schools to take part. The school offers introductory classes for pre-instrumentalists, individual and group lessons in all band and orchestra instruments, piano, guitar and voice. The school, which is a nonprofit educational institution, also provides computer assisted instruction in music fundamentals and theory, classes in composition, music technology, and recording. For information about the school, call (615) 255-8355 or visit www.wosmith.org.
CMA created The CMA Foundation (a nonprofit 501c3) in 2011. The Foundation exists to provide financial support to worthwhile causes that are important to CMA and the Country Music community. The group places special emphasis on serving the needs of CMA’s core constituents and nonprofit organizations with initiatives that preserve the legacy of the format, support music education, and respond to other needs identified by CMA.
CMA Music Festival celebrates the unique relationship between Country Music artists and their fans in the heart of Music City USA.
Featuring concerts, autograph signings, family activities, and more, CMA Music Festival is the Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience – a four-day celebration of America’s music. In 2011, the event drew a record-setting 65,000 fans from all 50 states and 26 nations and, for the second consecutive year, sold out in advance each night at LP Field for the star-packed Nightly Concerts. According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, direct visitor spending generated by the Festival totaled more than $30 million. CMA Music Festival is a four-time winner of the International Entertainment Buyers Association’s LIVE! Award for Festival of the Year (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010).
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