GRAMMY Youth Programs: Apply Now

Young Guns: The GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble

Unlike my sister, Blanca, who would spend endless spells conjuring songs from her guitar or piano when we were kids (and still does), I preferred to listen from my room next door than practice. It's not that I didn't want to play. I loved the piano, and even flirted with the violin (our otherwise supportive parents wisely nixed my interest in the drums). And my proficiency for sight reading would get me through unprepared lessons. That is, until, inevitably my teachers would sniff out my scam.
But, from a very young age, my bottomless appetite for music manifested in other ways. And whether it was collecting hard-to-find vinyl, consuming live bands nightly, or writing about one underground scene or another for college mags and as a young reporter at The L.A. Times, that time personally spent in front of the keyboard continues to inform the way I consider the world, from culture and history to fashion and society. I, literally, owe my way of living and way of ilfe to music.

The dearth of music programs in public schools is hardly headline news anymore. Yet it should be. We shouldn't be a country that leaves the elemental education of our population for private and corporate-funded entities to solely fund.
Thankfully, even in this wobbly economy, there are concerns still writing checks toward music education. The GRAMMY Foundation enlists Gibson and Ford to sponsor its Signature Schools program, and Nike-owned Converse and Epiphone to contribute to its camp.
The academy also offers Jazz Ensembles, a program with $2 million in scholarships to prestigious music schools, performing during GRAMMY Week and a slew of other opportunities for teens.

Consider this a PSA of sorts, since this post comes purely as a result of my enthusiasm for such programs, which there should be more of in every area of the arts.
Applications are due this Thursday, October 22 for students and schools interested in participating in the 2010 GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles and GRAMMY Signature Schools programs. Whether it's for this cycle, or the next, pass this along to any young musician you know. And if they need a push to meet the deadline, be there for them. Just duet.

Photo: Courtesy of The Recording Academy/Jesse Grant/

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