Mary Luehrsen: Hi! I am Mary Luehrsen and I am Executive Director of the NAMM Foundation, and I am here to talk about the value and importance of music and music education for young people that we know are our teenagers, and we know how difficult the teenage years are, both for the teens and for their parents and caregivers.
It's very important that teens have the opportunity to learn music and continue their musical learning during these periods. Sometimes they push back and they say they are not interested or they want to quit, but this is a time when we need to sort of propel them forward and encourage them to make connections.
Our research has shown that students and young people that are involved with music stay connected to their own values and explore their own values in an important way. They found a network of other teens that are interested in creativity and self-expression, and through all that they find that they feel safer and they feel grounded and they feel connected to a larger purpose, and it's something that truly values them.
It's important that they explore many different types of genres at this time of life. If they have come up through traditional band program or choral program, that they explore their ambitions, maybe it's guitar or drums or technology, because the world is wide open to them in terms of what they can do with their music as they go forward.
So to love and nurture these complicated and precious teenagers, we need to be sure to give them the greatest opportunities to learn and grow with music, to explore their musical potential, not only in school, but in the community, through church and after school programs and teen centers, because at the end of the day we want them to have a fulfilled and meaningful life, and music is a pathway for them to do so.