Rich Winer

Some of my best childhood memories revolve around music and the music education I received in school. I remember our elementary school music teacher, Mrs. Lee, playing Joni Mitchell’s Circle Game on the guitar for our first grade class. I remember playing Pinball Wizard on the guitar for my 2nd grade class and starring in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe in 5th grade. In 7th grade, I did a report for music class on “Why I like the rock group YES.” 34 years later, I had the thrill of playing guitar at a charity event for The Guitar Center Music Foundation at which our band followed Chris Squire and Alan White from Yes, and I was able to meet those members of the band whose music I loved so much as a child.

Today, many public schools have no music program. My friends who are music teachers in the public school system spend their summers wondering if there will be enough money in the budget to pay their salaries in the fall. Without help from organizations like The Guitar Center Music Foundation, many more public schools would be without the sound of music in their classrooms.

As musicians, we owe it to the next Eddie Van Halen, Snoop Dog, Stravinsky, Garth Brooks and Andrea Bocellis of the world to help support their music education. In many inner cities, after school music programs help keep children off the streets, out of trouble and out of harm’s way. They help build confidence, instill discipline and teach skills that can be applied to other areas of a child’s life.

Many of you are musicians. And as musicians, you more than anyone understand the importance of having music in our children’s schools and music programs for children who cannot afford to buy a musical instrument or pay for lessons. That is why I am asking you to support The Guitar Center Music Foundation, an organization that helps provide funds for school and after school music programs around the country as well as instruments and lessons for those who cannot afford them.