Two of the EdLab’s current grant projects, YoungArts and Rock N Roll Forever, are dedicated to the arts and music respectively. There has been a lot of talk and movement towards reigniting interest in the arts and music in schools but school districts continue to cut art and music programs as a result of budget shortfalls.
Nashville, the music city, is hoping to buck that trend by unveiling what it is calling the “world’s most ambitious music education program.” The program, “Music Makes Us,” will upgrade existing music programs in the city’s public schools and introduce new classes where students will engage “playing rock ‘n’ roll bands, spitting hip-hop lyrics, DJing, writing and composing contemporary songs, and learning modern production techniques.”
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean noted that music “enriches a person’s life, makes them a well-rounded person and helps them academically.” Though the announcement of the music program didn’t note where the funding would come from, it is expected the music industry will bear a large brunt of the cost. Nashville’s program is part of what many are hoping to be a continuing trend towards teaching young people contemporary music. New Jersey’s Little Kids Rock is one such program. It has over 74,000 students playing instruments with a focus on contemporary music.