Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Music National Service Initiative (MNSi) and the Music Service Corps Proposal—A Logical Next Step for National Youth Service Policy?

A recent Blog by Kiff Gallagher on Huffington Post explores the merits of creating a national service to bring music to underprivileged areas of the United States. Gallagher reports on the Music National Service Initiative’s MusicianCorps, which would attempt to foster the “critical skills a child develops when she struggles with her instrument, writes a song, joins a band or finds her voice in a choir”—skills that would help a young boy or girl succeed and contribute to the economy and help address future challenges. These capabilities are also what employers in high-end industries look for in their search for productive, flexible, adaptive and imaginative employees.

The correlation between engaged and active youth and music education has been proven in a variety of instances. Involvement in the arts results in lower rates of recidivism, 17% higher rates of graduation and better test scores in English and science. This is due, in no small part, to the fact that young men and women love music. In a MTV survey cited by Gallagher, teens said that music “defines them more than family, moral values, religion and style.” MusicianCorps would provide a medium through which successful and more affluent people could connect and impact society for the greater good—transcending social and economic boundaries.

This truly innovative route towards civic participation deserves support and advocacy from any service oriented non-profit. Already on board with the MNSi’s proposal are City Year and ServiceNation, who are both organizational partners. This group, led by MNSi, has begun to push legislators for consideration of an Artist or Music service along with current GreenCorps and HealthCorps Initiatives. MusicianCorps is a logical addition to US national youth service policy in the spirit of the founders of AmeriCorps.

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