meta-script5 Organizations And Scholarships Supporting Music Education |
5 Organizations & Scholarships Supporting Music Education

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5 Organizations And Scholarships Supporting Music Education

Music education is an essential tool for growth and joy that should be available to all people, young and old. In celebration of Music In Our Schools Month, here are four non-profits and one scholarship dedicated to help more people learn music.

GRAMMYs/Mar 14, 2022 - 04:47 pm

Music and education are two things almost all of us can agree are vital parts of the human experience. Research has shown that musical training is good for the brain, improving memory and literacy.

Unfortunately, music education in American public schools tends to be limited or non-existent due to budget constraints and focus on subjects covered by state-led standardized testing. However, there are many great organizations that fill this gap and  to keep music alive by getting instruments in kids' hands.

To celebrate Music In Our Schools Month, has compiled a list of four organizations and one scholarship dedicated to supporting music education. Read on to learn more about them and the great work they do.

Quinn Coleman Scholarship

The Quinn Coleman Scholarship is a multi-year scholarship and internship program for Black college students pursuing degrees in music and related creative fields. The program "strives to elevate a new generation of Black music creators through a supportive career development program" and prepare them for full-time work in the industry after graduation.

The scholarship is named for the late music executive and DJ Quinn Coleman, who died at just 31 in August 2020. Coleman's family set up the Quinn Coleman Memorial Fund in his honor through the GRAMMY Museum, which supports the scholarship as one of its many music education programs.


Founded by artists LP Giobbi and Lauren A. Spaulding in 2019, FEMME HOUSE is a non-profit that addresses the gender gap in music production. The organization offers women and gender-expansive people tools and support to learn production, mixing, engineering, DJing and more. FFEMME HOUSE has delivered free in-person and online classes, which range from Intro to Ableton and Building Your Beats, to thousands of people across the globe.

They also offer a scholarship for BIPOC creators, which provides four artists per year with one-on-one mentorship and free music gear. FEMME HOUSE has partnered with She Is The Music and We Are Moving The Needle to create a free four-week virtual bootcamp She Is The Producer, which will have a second edition this year.

She Is The Music

She Is The Music is a non-profit founded by GRAMMY winners Alicia Keys and Ann Mincielli, dedicated to "increasing the number of women working in music — songwriters, engineers, producers, artists and industry professionals."

The collaborative network unifies women throughout the global music industry, and also offers resources and funding to women-focused music initiatives. Their extensive resources include writing camp sessions — which have been led by Keys, Kim Petras, Cyndi Lauper and others — mentorship programs, a job board and a member database. 

Girls Rock Camp Alliance

The Girls Rock Camp Alliance is the international membership network of Girls Rock and other youth music education camps. Its members host camps for girls to learn music and build confidence, creating them a fun and supportive space to be little rock stars. The Alliance aims to develop space for community and build "a strong movement for collective liberation" Rock on!

Harmony Project

The Harmony Project has provided free music education to low-income Los Angeles area youth since 2001, offering 282 classes a week to 3,500 students. K-12 students in underserved communities can sign up for the Harmony Project to receive an instrument and year-round lessons, along with performance opportunities, family support services, and college scholarships and readiness support. More evidence on the vital nature of music education programs: 98 percent of their students have been accepted into college.

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Students participate in Getting Funky In Havana
Cuban music conservatory students perform during Getting Funky In Havana 2024

Photo: Eduardo Reyes Aranzaez


At Getting Funky In Havana, Young Musicians Feel The Power Of Cross-Cultural Connection

An annual program organized by the Trombone Shorty Foundation and Cimafunk, Getting Funky In Havana explores the deep connections between Cuba and New Orleans — and provides student musicians with once-in-a-life-time learning opportunities.

GRAMMYs/Mar 25, 2024 - 08:34 pm

It’s sweltering inside the Guillermo Tomas Music Conservatory, a primary school in Havana’s Guanabacoa neighborhood, where American visitors enjoy what will likely be the best school recital they'll ever see.  

A series of teen and tween musicians — some in trios and quartets, others in larger ensembles — are playing a mix of Latin jazz, orchestral overtures and even a rousing rendition of the Ghostbusters theme. During an interpolation of Aretha Franklin's "Think," three young horn players burst to the front of the group in a competitive but friendly battle of brass. 

The performance is the centerpiece of Getting Funky in Havana, a four-day music and cultural exchange program developed by GRAMMY-nominated Cuban funk artist Cimafunk, GRAMMY-winning New Orleans multi-instrumentalist Trombone Shorty's namesake foundation, and Cuba Educational Travel. Now in its third year, Getting Funky brought nearly 200 American music lovers, artists and students to Havana in January to explore the deep connections between Cuban and New Orlenian sounds through a series of performances, educational activities and panels. 

"Cuba and New Orleans have a long line of influence, and we have special things that happen in both places that people can hear through our music," Trombone Shorty, born Troy Andrews, tells "Passing along music and knowledge is…how the music's staying alive. I always try to tell the kids, learn everything that came before you, but also be very innovative."

While there are many conservatories in Havana, Guillermo Tomas was chosen in part for its similarities to New Orleans' Treme neighborhood, where many of the Trombone Shorty Foundation students live. Guanabacoa is "probably the deepest Afro-Cuban cultural neighborhood" in Havana, says Foundation Executive Director Bill Taylor.

Those shared roots and experiences were on display during several capstone concerts, which were also open to Havana residents. At a massive outdoor concert blocks away from Havana's famous Malecón, Getting Funky attendees enjoyed performances from Cuban salsa legends Los Van Van, reparto star Wampi and Shorty's Orleans Avenue. At a pinnacle performance the day before, more than 30 artists gathered at Havana arts hub La Fabrica for a sold-out international jam. Shorty, Big Freedia, Ivan Neville, percussionist Pedrito Martinez, PJ Morton, Tarriona "Tank" Ball, drummer Yissy Garcia and others joined forces with Cuban artists Reina y Real and X Alfonzo to create an unceasing groove. 

Getting Funky In Havana outside school embed

Cuban and American students perform outside Guillermo Tomas┃Eduardo Reyes Aranzaez

While the concerts certainly brought the energy to a fever pitch, the beating heart of Getting Funky is its mission of music education. Ten members of the Trombone Shorty Foundation's brass band traveled to Cuba, where they performed at Getting Funky's opening night party and several other events. Throughout the week, the New Orleans students shared stages with their Cuban counterparts,  learning each others' musical idioms and finding common ground.

"So much of the music [we hear in New Orleans comes] from Africa through the Caribbean to New Orleans, then spreading throughout the United States. When our students connect with those [Cuban] students, there's a natural, symbiotic connection that takes place," Taylor says. 

High school senior and sax player Dylan Racine called the trip — his first time out of the country — a life-changing experience. "I learned so many new skills on this trip, including how to network, how to collaborate with young people from a different culture than me, and more," he says via email. Drummer and pianist John Rhodes, another senior,  added that the experience was invaluable. 

"I was able to interact with another culture and understand other young people through music. Although we couldn't speak the same language, we understood each other musically," he writes.

Both Cuba and New Orleans' unique musical cultures require constant innovation to survive, Taylor adds. "You honor the past, but it needs an infusion of new life in order to thrive. Getting Cuban musicians together with New Orleans musicians infuses a shot of energy into both of those musical styles." 

The trip also put students from both countries in contact with working musicians, whose own perspectives were expanded by the experience. 

"Music education and pedagogical expertise is so important. We need the next level to come up and be dope, just like we are," says trumpeter Keyon Harrold, whose work has taken him from sessions with Beyoncé to the 2024 GRAMMYs. This was Harrold’s second year at Getting Funky. "It's even more visceral and engaging to actually see these kids at the age of 10, 11, 12, and to know that in five years they're going to be the next." 

For many of the musicians who attended, Getting Funky was an inspirational experience that furthered their existing work as well. "I perform for a living, but performing and playing with [students] is super dope. [Their energy is] clean," says GRAMMY-winning producer, rapper and mentor Deezle. "If I can in any way help to guide their path away from the pitfalls that I've encountered and endured, I would love to do that."

Legendary singer/songwriter Ivan Neville said he was blown away while watching young musicians from different worlds performing together. "This music was making their souls feel so good. I know music is good for the soul, but it was another level that I saw."

Getting Funky In Havana Primera Linea

Fabio Daniel (center) and members of Primera Linea, or "first line"┃Eduardo Reyes Aranzaez

Since Getting Funky In Havana was established in 2020, the program has had a measurable impact on Cuban students' lives. In 2023, several young Cuban musicians traveled to New Orleans during JazzFest, where they visited Shorty’s studio and performed together at legendary venue Tipitina's. When the group returned home, they formed their own brass band, Primera Linea. 

"This band is working; they are playing many places in Havana and that's thanks to the project. They were so into the satisfaction of [feeling] that they are valued," says Erik Alejandro Iglesias Rodríguez, who records as Cimafunk. "They are learning good quality things in terms of human relationships and in terms of music. [The program is] something that changes their mentality and lets them know that they can make it." 

While Cuba harbors an incredible amount of musical talent, "making it" as a musician in the country comes with a unique set of challenges. The country's shrinking economy, high rate of inflation and low monthly incomes have 62 percent of Cubans reporting that they "struggle to survive" financially, according to a 2023 survey. Purchasing a professional calibur instrument, which may cost hundreds or thousands of U.S. dollars, often comes with great sacrifice.  

It's an emotional day back at the Guillermo Tomas, where 10 of the school's top students will be awarded an instrument.

"An instrument is not something you can buy in a store," says Amanda Colina González, an art historian and one of the trip guides, who studied saxophone in conservatory. Colina González, like the majority of students, was given an instrument to play for the duration of her studies but had to return it to her school upon graduation. Remembering that moment brought tears to her eyes.

Because of its high cost and the possibility of leading to international travel, owning their own instrument can truly change a young musician's life. Getting Funky has donated approximately 50 instruments to Cuban students over three years of programming. 

Fifteen-year-old Daniela Hernandez was awarded a trombone for her skill and dedication to music outside of school. Harried and teary-eyed after the recital, she shared her happiness and pride for being able to play with musicians who she's long admired. She plans to use her new trombone to study and will "take it with me everywhere."

Daniela and classmate Fabio Daniel (who received a trumpet during the first edition of Getting Funky in Havana in 2020) joined Trombone Shorty onstage at Getting Funky, performing for more than 15,000 people. Several of their friends and classmates brought their instruments to the concert — the largest held in Cuba in the last four years — and played back at the band from the crowd. 

"Cuban musicians really enjoy playing and making other people feel joy through music,” Daniela says. Fellow trombone player and awardee Cristian Onel León says it's important to play for people outside of Cuba, and enjoys teaching people about his country's rhythms and keys. "I’m [also] learning other forms of playing, that aren’t mine. And it feels good,” he adds.

The program's instrument donation is spearheaded by the long-running nonprofit Horns To Havana, and supported by the Gia Maione Prima Foundation and private donors. Tickets purchased to attend the program also fund its efforts; Taylor says 2024's Getting Funky raised approximately $50,000. The Trombone Shorty Foundation hopes to continue the annual event, and expand into different countries; a 2025 Havana trip is already in the works.

For Rodríguez, who recently moved to New Orleans, the effect of this musical exchange is tangible. He's noticed more musicians who are open to collaborating across borders, and is working on new music with artists who have attended Getting Funky in previous years.

"Just jamming changes everything," he says. "That changes the minds of people; that changes the sound."

The connections made during Getting Funky have led to a variety of opportunities for students on both sides of the Gulf of Mexico. Foundation alto saxophonist Jacob Jones credits the trip for broadening his way of thinking while playing music; Deezle says he wants to get Cuban trumpeter and bandleader Fabio Daniel on a track; Primera Linea may perform at San Francisco's Outside Lands festival in August. 

"To be able to facilitate that, and give to these young musicians of Cuba, is unbelievable," Andrews says of the program. "It's just a blessing to be able to be a blessing and help out the next generation, and help those musicians see a brighter future."

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Filmmakers Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers pose with LAUSD band high school participants.
Filmmakers Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers pose with LAUSD band high school participants.

Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images


'The Last Repair Shop' Filmmakers Share Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Oscar-Winning Documentary

The L.A. Unified School District's Musical Instrument Repair Shop is the subject of 'The Last Repair Shop,' which won the 2024 Oscar for Documentary Short Film. The filmmakers talk about creating the documentary short and the impact of music education.

GRAMMYs/Mar 5, 2024 - 02:27 pm

Editor’s Note: Updated Sunday, March 10, to reflect the results of the 96th Academy Awards.

Since it opened its doors in 1959, a repair shop in a downtown L.A. warehouse has been making music accessible for kids.

The facility is owned by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and has restored many of the 130,000 musical instruments in circulation for more than 500,000 students. It’s one of the last publicly funded services of its kind in the United States and provides repairs at no cost to students or their families. 

The LAUSD’s Musical Instrument Repair shop has largely operated under the radar until Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ben Proudfoot and GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer Kris Bowers shone a cinematic light on it. Their film, The Last Repair Shop, won the Oscar for Documentary Short Film at the 2024 Academy Awards.

The 40-minute documentary profiles four of the shop’s 12 technicians. Each is responsible for repairing a different class of instrument: brass, woodwinds, strings, and pianos. In touching interviews, the technicians share their stories and how the work has transformed their own lives.

Proudfoot, the 33-year-old founder and CEO of L.A.-based Breakwater Studios Ltd., tells that the "magic" of these personal stories created a unique narrative.  Much like the instruments they repair, Proudfoot says the technicians were once "broken" and were "restored by music in some way."

In the film, guitarist Dana Atkinson, who works in the strings department, compares detecting a buzz in a cello with the process of coming out as gay.

"I thought I was broken," Atkinson says in the film, crediting his musician mother for teaching him that "music is like swimming. The rhythm is constantly in the moment, and if you stop, there is no music. Whatever you do, don’t stop."

Paty Moreno left her native Mexico to pursue the American dream more than two decades ago, but found herself struggling to survive in L.A. as a single mother with two young children. "We were so poor. Sometimes, we didn’t have food," she recalls tearfully in the documentary.

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Driven by her mother’s words to her as a child that she could "do anything in life," Moreno took a complicated instrument-repair technician test to work in the brass section in the shop, which at the time in the early 2000s, had only ever had male employees. 

Woodwind technician Duane Michaels shares in the film that he was often bullied as a child, but found solace in the 1935 film, The Bride of Frankenstein. In one scene, a soothing violin played by a blind man brings tears to the monster’s eyes. Michaels was immediately bitten by the "fiddle bug," convinced his mother to buy him a $20 violin, and went on to help form a hillbilly-bluegrass band, called the Bodie Mountain Express, which opened for Elvis Presley at his 1975 New Year’s Eve concert.

That $20 instrument set Michaels on a life path, and he recognizes the power of music education to do the same for others. "Kids have a chance to play instruments that they can’t afford," he says in the film. "That one instrument can change their whole life."

Duane Michaels

*Duane Michaels*

The Last Repair Shop took four years to complete, and became deeply personal for 34-year-old Bowers, a former LAUSD student. The pianos Bowers played during his elementary and middle school education were tuned by shop supervisor Steve Bagmanyan — another of the film's subjects.

Bagmanyan remembers falling in love with the piano as an ethnic Armenian boy growing up in then-Soviet Republic, Azerbaijan. He fled to the U.S. with his mother in the late 1980s during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in which his father was killed.

Bowers says that including Bagmanyan in the film became an expression of gratitude for “someone who did directly impact me.”

“I was able to say thank you,” recalls L.A.-born Bowers. “It was very special.”

The end result of the restorative work provided by Bagmanyan and the other shop technicians has a more far-reaching effect, according to Proudfoot. "Learning how to play a musical instrument has a profound impact on who you are that makes not just good musicians, but good citizens," he says.

Bowers also spent about 45 minutes interviewing student musicians, each of whom details what their instrument means to them. 

Ismerai Calcaneo talks about how music "changed" her life when she started playing saxophone in school at the age of 9. The instrument helped her "be more disciplined."

"I have to be on time, I have to practice, I have to look good — it helps me focus more," she says in the film. "When I am feeling tense, when I’m feeling sad or angry, the saxophone calms me down."

For Amanda Nova, playing the piano before an audience is a source of empowerment and a way to reduce stress. "I’m scared that I might not find a purpose in life," she says. "But once I’m on stage, all that tension goes away."

Bowers hopes that the stories in The Last Repair Shop shine a light on "how much music education can do beyond create incredible musicians." He tells that being in a school jazz band had a significant impact on his life. 

"Listening in the jazz context is such a deep form of communication, and it definitely translates into how I listen in my life outside music," says Bowers, who directed the 2020 Oscar-nominated documentary short, A Concerto is a Conversation, with Proudfoot.

"When it comes to young people, we’re very clear on the idea of what sports can do when it comes to discipline, but not everybody wants to be an athlete," he says. "If we’re able to understand the value of sports in helping them with other aspects of their lives, I really feel that the same argument can be made for music." 

Proudfoot echoes Bowers’ sentiment.

Music "teaches you how to listen, how to play in harmony and collaborate," he says, adding that, hopefully, the experience "provides you with a reasonable example of having discipline and learning how to conquer a complex thing, which is a useful skill in life."

Both Bowers and Proudfoot hope the film inspires people to invest in music education.

Their film certainly seemed to strike a chord. On Feb. 20, the LAUSD Education Foundation launched a $15-million capital campaign called The Last Repair Shop Fund to support the restoration operation.

As the final moments of The Last Repair Shop, an orchestra featuring LAUSD alumni and current students perform a piece composed over a weekend by Bowers, who also penned the score for the movie-musical, The Color Purple, which was shortlisted for best score at this year’s Academy Awards). The scene sweetly threads the impact of music education on youth and adults.

The dedicated technicians toiling away in a nondescript shop also have high hopes for the musicians whose instruments they care for. 

“In a way, you can feel like you’re fixing an instrument for a future GRAMMY winner,” says Michaels. “If you want to kind of dream a little bit." 

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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John Legend with students in 2012
John Legend sings for students at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in 2012.

Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images


8 Artists Who Were Inspired By Their Teachers: Rihanna, Adele, Jay-Z & More

In honor of Music In Our Schools Month this March, take a look at how teachers made a heartwarming impact on superstars like Katy Perry and John Legend.

GRAMMYs/Mar 16, 2023 - 03:55 pm

Before Rihanna, Billy Joel and Jay-Z became some of the biggest names in music, they were students just like the rest of us. Without some particularly special teachers, they might not be the superstars they are today, and they all remember who first encouraged them.

Within the past few years, Rihanna made a special trip to a cricket match in England to reunite with her old P.E. teacher from Barbados, who she calls her "MVP"; Joel traveled back to his New York hometown to honor the teacher who said he should be a professional musician; and Jay-Z told David Letterman that his sixth grade English teacher made him fall in love with words. 

In honor of Music In Our Schools Month — which raises awareness for supporting and cultivating worthwhile music programs in K-12 — highlights eight artists who have praised their teachers for making a lifelong impact.

Billy Joel

After watching Joel tackle Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23, his high school music appreciation teacher Chuck Arnold suggested that he consider music as a career.

"He said to me, you should be a professional musician," Joel recalled of his Hicksville High School mentor during a 1996 event at C.W. Post College. "Now, for a teacher to say that, it's like condemning someone to a life of poverty, drug taking, alcoholism and failure.

"A teacher is telling me this," he added seriously. "It had a huge influence on me."

In 2022, Joel was on hand to congratulate Arnold during the dedication of the Charles "Chuck" Arnold Theatre at the school. "This is for the coolest teacher there ever was," he praised.


In 2019, CBS Sunday arranged a surprise visit with the singer and Manny Gonzales, the former band director at her alma mater, Elsik High School in Houston. She told the network that Gonzales helped her get a scholarship to study classical flute at University of Houston.

"You told my ass!" Lizzo exclaimed as she squeezed him. "You were like, 'Get it together, girl, 'cause you are special. Apply yourself!' Those moments meant so much to me."

Lil Jon

The Atlanta DJ/producer and king of crunk has done more than take parties to the next level — he has invested in the educational future of children in Africa by building two schools in Ghana with the non-profit organization Pencils of Promise. He credits a mentor at Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta for sparking his brain when he was a teenager.

"It was my music teacher [who inspired me to dream bigger]," he said in a 2019 interview with Yahoo! "I wanted to play drums, and if I didn't play drums, I wouldn't make music, and drums are the foundation for what I do."


Roddy Estwick was Rihanna's P.E. teacher in Barbados and is now the assistant coach of the West Indies cricket team. The two had an emotional reunion at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.

"He made a lasting impact on my life and he really offered great advice to me and many others when we were at school at Combermere," she told Barbados Today amid their reunion. "I just wanted to let everyone know what he meant to me in my development and what he did for us back at school in Barbados." Essence reported that Rihanna described him as, "My mentor, my champ, my MVP" on her Instagram stories.

John Legend

The Ohio native credits his English teacher Mrs. Bodey at North High School in Springfield for setting him on the path that culminated in his music career.

"Until her class, I hadn't believed in my ability as a writer," Legend shared in a 2017 op-ed for Huffington Post. "She recognized my potential and showed me that I could write with creativity, with clarity, with passion."

He continued, "Mrs. Bodey, along with a few other teachers, helped me gain confidence in my skills and pushed me to challenge myself. They pushed me to graduate second in my class. They pushed me to deliver the speech at our graduation. They pushed me to earn a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, to hone my writing as an English Major and, ultimately, toward a successful career as a songwriter."


The singer was reunited with the most pivotal teacher in her life during her "An Audience with Adele" concert special in 2021. While the singer took questions from the crowd, actress Emma Thompson asked Adele if she had a supporter or protector in the past.

"I had a teacher at [south London high school] Chestnut Grove, who taught me English. That was Miss McDonald," Adele said. "She got me really into English literature. Like, I've always been obsessed with English and obviously now I write lyrics… She really made us care, and we knew that she cared about us."

Miss McDonald then surprised Adele on stage, and the singer was brought to tears — a touching highlight of the special. She even told her former teacher that she still has the books from her class!

Katy Perry

While Perry has admitted that she wishes she had a better overall education, her former music school teacher gave her confidence to pursue singing seriously.

"I'm kind of bummed at this stage that I didn't have a great education because I could really use that these days," she said in a 2014 interview with Yahoo! "There was a teacher named Agatha Danoff who was my vocal teacher and music teacher at the Music Academy of the West. It was very fancy and I didn't come from any money… and she always used to give me a break on my lessons. I owe her a lot of credit and I appreciate that she looked out for me when I didn't have enough money to pay."


Picture a young Shawn Carter — now better known as Jay-Z —  with his head stuck in a dictionary.

"I had a sixth grade teacher, her name was Ms. Lowden and I just loved the class so much," Jay-Z said during his appearance on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman in 2018. 

He later realized how much Renee Rosenblum-Lowden, who taught him at Intermediate School 318 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, had an influence on his passion for language. "Like, reading the dictionary and just my love of words," he explained. "I just connected with her."

"I knew he was extremely bright, but he was quiet," Rosenblum-Lowden told Brut in 2019, sharing that he scored at the 12th-grade level on a sixth-grade reading test.

"He's been very kind," she added. "Every famous person has a teacher who probably influenced them, and I wish they would all shout out the way Jay-Z did."

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