Press Release – Trisha Yearwood, Al Jarreau, Kathy Mattea, Edgar Meyer, and Bonnie Rideout Answer the Question Why Music?

Trisha Yearwood, Al Jarreau, Kathy Mattea, Edgar Meyer, and Bonnie Rideout Answer the Question “Why Music?” for Music In Our Schools Month

Musical Stars Explain the Importance of Music Education in Award-Winning Radio PSA Series Produced by MENC: The National Association for Music Education

RESTON, VA (February 20, 2007) — MENC: The National Association for Music Education released a new series of radio public service announcements featuring top pop, country, and classical musicians for March, Music In Our Schools Month. The series, called Why Music?, features musical stars talking about the value and importance of music education.

New artists joining the lineup for MIOSM 2007 are Trisha Yearwood, Al Jarreau, Kathy Mattea, Bonnie Rideout, and Edgar Meyer. Returning artists include Gloria Estefan, Boys II Men, Joshua Bell, Vanessa Williams, Patty Loveless, Janis Ian, Faith Hill, Chely Wright, Tim McGraw, Roger McGuinn, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Taylor, and many others. (A complete list of artists participating in the series since 1997 can be viewed at

Country superstar Trisha Yearwood knows personally how a music teacher can make a difference in a student’s life. “My high school was very small, just 25 people in my graduating class,” she said. “Our music teacher was the person who encouraged me beyond my home town, made me feel like anything was possible.”

Jazz legend Al Jarreau participated because, he explained, “I love teachers! My mother taught music.” Jarreau said he believes that learning music keeps kids out of trouble and that it helps them with learning in other subjects, as well.

Each PSA features an artist talking about the importance of music education for today’s youth or a personal experience he or she had with music in school. The PSAs are available for radio stations to download from the Web site.

The PSAs are part of MENC’s unceasing efforts to keep music programs strong in America’s schools. “MENC’s mission is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by everyone,” said John J. Mahlmann, MENC’s executive director. “We believe that the celebrity messages significantly raise the public’s awareness of the positive effect music education has on kids.” The previous Why Music? MIOSM edition, released in March 2006, generated more than 206 million verified gross impressions over a month. “Music is intrinsically valuable on its own, of course,” continued Mahlmann, “but it doesn’t hurt, at a time when school budgets are so tight, to spread the word about the ways learning it can be beneficial to students. For instance, research seems to indicate that learning music can improve SAT scores, increase spatial I.Q., and decrease disciplinary problems.”

MENC releases Why Music? twice a year–in March to coincide with Music In Our Schools Month, and in September as children head “Back to School.” The most recent “Back to School” PSAs, sent to 2000 radio stations and networks, generated more than 152 million verified gross impressions over two weeks in September 2006.

Why Music? has been the recipient of several prestigious communications awards, including the League of American Communications Professionals 2002 Magellan Awards Publicity Campaign Competition Bronze Award for Community Relations and The Communicator Awards 2002 Audio Competition Crystal Award of Excellence. In addition, MENC was awarded Honorable Mention in the PR News 2002 Platinum PR Awards for PSA Campaign, and the 2001 Bronze Anvil Award for Best Radio Public Service Announcement by the Public Relations Society of America. The series was awarded the Mercury Awards 2003 Honors for the Campaign/Public Service Announcements category and the APEX 2003 Award of Excellence in the Public Relations and Information Video and Electronics Publications Category.

Wolf Trap, America’s National Park for the Performing Arts (, located in Vienna, VA, facilitated the participation of Trisha Yearwood, Bonnie Rideout, and Al Jarreau.

For more information on this series, contact Elizabeth Lasko at MENC, 703-860-4000, or by e-mail at MENC’s Web site is

MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the world’s largest arts education organization, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. More than 130,000 members represent all levels of teaching from preschool to graduate school. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC’s activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education.