Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and others join the DC Fly-In

NAMM's annual event saw a multitude of music education advocates

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Former West Virginia Governor and music education advocate Sen. Joe Manchin realizes how important it is to have arts in the school. He is very appreciative of VH1's Save the Music Foundation and its efforts to ensure that West Virginia schools have the right resources available to keep music education active. Since 2009, the VH1 foundation has given instrumental music education grants to 35 schools in 30 counties throughout West Virginia.


“Not only does playing in a school band help students learn about team work and practice, but playing an instrument also helps them improve their academics and become better students,” fellow music education advocate Sen. Jay Rockefeller commented.

Smith was joined by NY Yankee-turned-guitarist Bernie Williams and students from the Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Middle School jazz ensemble — Save The Music Foundation's 2012 grant recipient — in a performance that included a reading of jazz standard "St. James Infirmary," and singer/songwriter/musician Vanessa Carlton rounded it out with some thoughtful.

During the NAMM's annual D.C. Fly-In, artists and NAMM Members visited the U.S. Capitol and Congressional office building to advocate the importance of music education and the need for change. NAMM Members also trained on developing state-level advancement efforts for music and arts education that could be taken back to their communities in time for budget season.

As Smith put it, "Every kid — and I mean everyone — needs a chance to learn and grow with music." It just takes a few people to come together and make a difference. The arts shouldn't be considered disposable anymore, and it is time for change.

Senator Rockefeller (WV) receives the SupportMusic Award from the Sheperdstown Middle School Jazz Band
  • Senator Rockefeller (WV) receives the SupportMusic Award from the Sheperdstown Middle School Jazz Band

Photo Credits to: The National Association of Music Merchants

Grammy winner Chad Smith, drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, recently made a trip to Washington DC to advocate for music education and appear as part of The National Association of Music Merchants' annual D.C. Fly-In. Smith is extremely proactive about the issue and supports many groups associated with music education, including, but not limited to, Little Kids Rock, Music Drives Us, Fender Music Foundation, and Percussion Marketing Council's Percussion In The Schools campaign.

"If there hadn't been a music program in my public schools, I would not be where I am today," Smith said during the SupportMusic Award presentation last week.

When schools are looking to make budget cuts, the arts are usually first to go, but statistics show that music programs increase school attendance and graduation rates, with a reported 90.2% graduation rate compared to 72.9% at schools that didn't have arts programs.

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