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GRAMMY In The Schools Live! 2019 Celebrates The Power Of Music & Educators
On Thursday, Feb. 7, The Montalbán in Hollywood was filled with music, laughter, cheers and plenty of inspiring stories as GRAMMY In The Schools Live! celebrated its 10th annual GRAMMY Week event. The evening's music was provided by the talented GRAMMY Camp Alumni Band, who not only wowed the packed theater with show-stopping covers but poignantly answered high school students' questions about being an artist in the real world.
One of the highlights of the night was meeting Music Educator Award honoree, choir teacher Jeffery Redding, and hearing his passion for music and how uses it to inspire his students at West Orange High School in Florida. "Your job is to maximize the gifts that have been given to you," he said during his speech.
The band brought together nine young musicians from across the U.S., all of whom were once aspiring musicians honing their skills at one of the GRAMMY Museum's student-focused offerings: GRAMMY Camp, GRAMMY Camp—Jazz Session, or the GRAMMY Museum Summer Session. In addition to tearing up the stage covering hits from the likes of GRAMMY winners Justin Timberlake and The Weeknd, they answered students' questions, fielded by David Sears, the museum's Executive Education Director.
The talented group showcased not only their musical prowess on stage, but also their insight into how to successfully navigate the music industry. Luca Mendoza, a pianist and college sophomore, poignantly answered a question about balancing music, school and social life.
"I think the one thing that has stayed with me is to really listen to myself and be honest with myself with what I need in the moment. It's really easy to get caught up in 'work, work, work,'" Mendoza said. "It's easy to forget that that’s what this is really about, about playing music for people, to connect with people."
These artists are shining examples of the power of music education to touch lives and allow young people the platform on which to explore their unique identities and skillsets. Programs like GRAMMY Camp, a five-day summer intensive with eight tracks spanning potential music industry careers, from audio engineering to vocal performance to music journalism, offer participants practical experience and advice to help them dive deeper into their passions, and allows them to connect with other young aspiring artists.
Thoughtful educators also play a huge role in helping students to find their joy—Music Educator Award honoree Redding is one such teacher. A powerful segment from "CBS This Morning" offered a look into how the choir teacher has made a meaningful impact on all his students.
"I stand here humbly as a music educator here to serve," Redding declared as he took the stage. After sharing how music had helped both him and so many others he's worked with overcome live's challenges, he encouraged the students in the audience to share their talents with the world. "Your job is to maximize the gifts that have been given to you."
When we asked Redding why music education was so important to him, his passion was palpable in every word.
"Music education touches and changes lives, it inspires. In a classroom it provides a safety from the world. There's a song for everything that you're going through. It teaches community…it deals with vulnerability, with a transparent heart," Redding told us.
As the recipient Of the 2019 Music Educator Award he is recognized for his "significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education" and will receive a $10,000 honorarium, plus a matching grant for his school.
These programs would of course not be possible without one of the GRAMMY Museum's longest-standing partners, The Ford Motor Company Fund. We also spoke to Pamela Alexander, Director of Community Development for the Fund, about what the partnership means to her.
"Music education is an opportunity for a student that has the talent, or even just the interest, to really express themselves and explore themselves and grow as a person. It also means achievement, because know that schools with music education programs have higher graduation rates and higher test scores," Alexander explained.
Nominations for the for the 2020 Music Educator Award are open until March 15. Click here to nominate a well-deserving teacher in your community.
The GRAMMY Camp 2019 summer session in L.A. is also currently accepting applications until March 31. For more information, click here.