BENEFITING: BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA INC
EVENT DATE: Dec 01, 2014
We talk a lot about America's education crisis, especially in urban communities. When funding gets stripped, music programs are among the first ones cut. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the number of children who received any kind of arts education decreased by more than 21% from 1992 through 2008.
Yet there is a strong correlation between music performance and appreciation classes and academic performance. For example, students with a music education score 57+ points higher on verbal and 41+ points higher on math portions of the SAT compared to kids who've never been exposed to music classes.
I know how powerful a music education can be. My parents exposed me to rigorous piano and clarinet lessons from a very early age, which required me to develop self-discipline, motivation and sustained focus. I performed and was critiqued in front of large crowds, which meant constant lessons in winning and losing gracefully. Symphonic music is complex, so I learned to parse all those instruments, sub-melodies and tones in real-time as I listened and played. I believe that music underpins my successes today.
I live in Baltimore, a city grappling with low education funding. Most kids in this city will graduate public schools without ever touching any kind of instrument. They will never have seen an orchestra in action. They won’t be able to connect the dots between Beethoven and Jessie J.
Baltimore kids deserve better.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is working hard to set an example for other communities. They’ve launched OrchKids, an effort to get instruments into the hands of students across the city. It’s a program that earned the BSO praise from the White House earlier this year. The BSO is home to the only female conductor of a major symphony. Marin Alsop is a powerful leader, someone girls look up to. And they’ve created programming just for kids, to help expose them to our greatest composers.
The BSO is doing incredible work, and it’s a world-class orchestra. But programs like OrchKids cost real money. That’s why this year I’m donating my birthday to the BSO.
Whether or not you live in Baltimore, I hope that you’ll join me.