The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) and the CMA Foundation have announced a partnership that will bring the museum’s collaborative project, Music Legends & Heroes, to select high schools within Metro Nashville Public Schools. As part of the program, country artists Breland, Willie Jones, Reyna Roberts and Tiera will mentor students, sharing their stories and answering questions about the music industry.
The Music Legends & Heroes program will focus on engaging the students in learning the impact of African Americans on music and songwriting; encourage leadership, teamwork and mentorship; and will allow students to take a leadership role in organizing and implementing a live virtual performance element at their school. The CMA Foundation and NMAAM will share a commitment to providing resources and experiences for students through music.
Music Legends & Heroes will conclude in June with a songwriting contest for participants to write a song with their class based on Black history and Black musicians, artists or activists. The program is expected to reach more than 200 students across Nashville.
“NMAAM and the CMA Foundation have long shared the same mission of supporting Nashville schools through extensive music education and programs, so this partnership was a natural fit,” says NMAAM Director of Education and Public Programs, Tamar Smithers. “Through our Museum Without Walls program, NMAAM has already reached more than 132,000 individuals through our programming, and we hope this is just the beginning of our work with the CMA Foundation to share our message across the city.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the National Museum of African American Music, which has already become an important fixture in the downtown Nashville landscape,” says CMA Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Trahern. “NMAAM’s mission to educate the world, preserve the legacy and celebrate the role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack goes beyond any single genre. We are delighted to work alongside Henry Hicks and his team on the Music Legends & Heroes program, which will provide students the opportunity to learn about all genres of music.”
“We are honored to have this opportunity to partner with the National Museum of African American Music in bringing a special program like this to our schools, with the goal being to expand accessibility to music,” says CMA Foundation Executive Director, Tiffany Kerns. “We have seen time and time again that music unlocks the creative capacity of our students. Having African American artists shaping country music share insights about the business and the art of songwriting allows students to imagine what is possible. We appreciate programs like Music Legends & Heroes for valuing the importance of representation. All too often, youth do not see themselves in country music, and removing barriers of entry has always been and will remain a core focus of the CMA Foundation.”
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