With Americaʼs music education program in danger of being scratched off the list, people wait anxiously for the results of an online petition to save music education that had a Feb. 25 deadline. On March 9, the petition was delivered to Congress by young performers such as Justin Guarini, Diana Degarmo and John Stevens from Foxʼs “American Idol,” as well as the legendary Commodores. These artists joined other top performers from the music industry and education advocates to deliver the tens of thousands of petition signatures to Congress personally. Justin Timberlake told AMC-Music.com “Everyone knows how important music is to me, but this issue goes beyond performing and recording,.”
“This is an opportunity that every young person should enjoy, no matter what career they aspire to. I want to do everything I can to see people benefit from music education.” Nick Lachey, Sean Paul and Clay Aiken are some of the many celebrity signatures that appeared next to Timberlakeʼs name on the petitions that went to Capitol Hill on March 9.
At this time it is impossible to know exactly the number of petitions that have been signed. It is well over 33,000 at this point, but themusicedge.com, which was the Web site teens could visit to sign the petition, has offered a thank you to all of the fans. The site has also said that the petitions will be hauled out in truck loads.
The petition itself started in June 2002 when Justin Timberlake appeared on MTVʼs “Total Request Live” and broke the news. Since that time, many big names in true entertainment have teamed up with him, such as Ashlee Simpson, Pharrell Williams and Adam Brody, not to mention themusicedge. com, American Music Center, and Teen People, in an effort to encourage thousands of young people to add their names.
“Hundreds of thousands of kids are losing the opportunity to participate in school music programs because of drastic budget cuts in arts programs,”says Joe Lamond, the President and CEO of NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), which promotesthe benefits of music, music research and music education. “We need to give the kids an opportunity to have a wellrounded education and we need to empower more of them and their parents to voice their concerns.” The main argument of these groups is that although not all children like art and music, the ones that do should have the opportunity to explore these interests at an elementary level.
“I donʼt know if I would have become a musician if it was not for elementary school,” said Nick Lachey to AMC-Music. com. “When I was that young I didnʼt even like music the way I do today, but having those classes let me know what it was all about. Elementary school is the time where you start to shape all of your interests and it would not be right to take that away from children.” Nick Lachey, Justin Timberlake, and the rest of the people who signed the petitions will stand behind the many supportive organizations and hope for the best as congress makes the decision.
As for the organizations, NAMM is a non-profit organization that unifies, leads, and strengthens the $16 billion global musical instruments and products industry. This program is designed to promote music making to all ages. For more information, visit www. namm.com or call 800-767- NAMM.
AMC is also a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the importance of music, music making, and music education. For more information, go to www.amcmusic.org.
Teen People is a national magazine that considers itself the definitive voice of youth culture, keeping people clued in to what is now, and what is next. For more information, go to teenpeople.com.