Posts Tagged ‘music education’

Saturday = Worldwide Playing for Change Day

Time to tune up folks, from violins to washboards, because Saturday is Worldwide Playing for Change Day. This is the second annual event of its kind, and it takes months of preparation by teams around the world who are dedicated to connecting cultures by way of music. You can join the chorus tomorrow in person at 300 events across the globe, or online via streaming performances, and support global music education for children.

Here is an interactive location listing so you can find music events that are part of the celebration in your neck of the woods, and all donations raised go toward children’s music education–the arts being crippled by financial cutbacks not juts throughout the United States’ limping and neglected education system, but in countries everywhere. A side effect of becoming a more global society is the homogenization of culture, so some of the best indigenous art forms are being pushed back by major manufacturing and high tech ubiquity. It is fantastic to be connected as a global family, but in a way that celebrates our diversity and specialness, not in a way that seeks to burnish off the rough edges. PFC Day celebrates what is unique and honors and shares the bond of the arts.

Tune in–the music is always incredible (and explore the Playing for Change website as well, for amazing international performances from the past).

GLEE Give a Note

When I was in High School, the Band Geeks (it’s a loving term, used by them as a self-descriptor) were a decidedly different group than the ones with whom I hung out. They staked out different benches in the “forum” indoor quad, had different parties in different orchards on Saturday nights, and took different buses to different tournaments than I ever did (because I didn’t have a musical bone in my body), but in that group I saw the camaraderie and shared fun/angst/group incestuous romances/laughter/awkwardness/best friendiness of which any teenager longs to be a part. The music department kids—from Concert Choir and Jazz Band to Marching Band and sub groups plus rock and roll splinter  bands—had an extracurricular, AND curricular life that was decidedly better than kids who were loners. The arts programs in schools are not electives that can be dropped at the whim of a budget cutting administrator or school board member. Entire arts programs disappearing while the football team gets new jerseys is a crime of wildly misplaced priorities. Every kid MUST find his or her mojo, the thing they want to do when the bell rings, not because of how it will look on a college application, but because of how it feels. The arts, in my experience trying a zillion different teen activities from sports teams to debate to drama to service, science, and language clubs, is the category of community that creates lifetime friendships, familial bonds, and confidence unrivaled in other fields. You don’t have to be particularly vulnerable or open up your soul to run track or rebuild an engine in shop class (but you should ABSOLUTELY do those things if you find them interesting), but to sing a solo, do a monologue, audition, dance a recital, tell a personal story on video, play a difficult piece on your rented, dented brass instrument…these take real guts. And, sadly, these kinds of opportunities are disappearing from schools every day.

The folks behind TV superhit, GLEE, are helping support school music programs. If the miserable excuse used by administrators is that music gets cut due to lack of funding…then let’s fund! The Give a Note Foundation is renewing America’s embattled music education programs. That scrappy, wildly popular TV show, GLEE  is giving a million dollars to the foundation to help bring music into the life of every student, particularly those in underserved areas.

Support the arts, and support artists. It is not a world we want to have without them. You don’t have to give a million dollars, but you DO have to give a damn.


Music doesn’t just soothe the soul of savage beasts, it can heal and expand horizons, and touch us in ways for which we are unprepared.

Flobots is a Denver, CO band and also eponymous charity devoted to bringing music and expression to the lives of young people. Their focus is empowering youth to make a difference in their own lives and communities. They work to: create positive social change by harnessing the power of music and those who love it. We view music as a tool for therapy, community building, leadership development, and action.

In addition to a creative think tank/community space in Denver that youth-focused organizations can rent out and/or participate with others, Flobots has several outstanding outreach programs. The Art to Action Outreach Program has a music therapy program serving victims of extreme childhood trauma helping build self-esteem and confidence and facilitating cognitive behavioral change; after school music programs for middle and high school students; a speaker’s bureau for public presentations; a summer camp for youth; and a classroom lesson program for educators. Flobots also runs the Fight With Tools Institute with hands-on training for community organizing and nurturing leaders for change and social justice.

If you live in or are visiting the Mile-High City, volunteer some time with these game-changers…and send support from afar…or near.