Los Angeles, CA – September 9, 2015 – Because The Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) is dedicated to celebrating and nourishing the craft and discipline of songwriting that Johnny himself mastered, it is involved in a number of educational programs geared towards students of all ages. In 2002, JMF initiated Accentuate the Positive (ATP), a lyric writing program to teach students about the art of songwriting and introduce them to the works of the Great American Songbook.
At the center of this program is a student activity guide that explains how a song is born, how music and lyrics are conceived and written and how these songs reflect our passions and ideals. Accentuate the Positive is currently part of the curriculum in numerous schools in Los Angeles, New York City, and Miami.
JMF partnered with the Kaufman Music Center in New York City to launch its residency program with visiting artists that give underserved children in Title 1 schools the opportunity to write their own lyrics and gain a better understanding of how songs are actually composed. This residency program – which is provided at no cost by The Foundation – was expanded to include other schools.
Through a unique ATP pilot program and the ongoing JMF Fellowship program at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, JMF has joined with FIU to enrich music education in Miami-Dade County schools by developing innovative educational opportunities, delivering high-quality instructional materials, and providing professional development opportunities for music and language arts teachers. This pilot project was instituted at FIU in 2013 when student teachers incorporated the program into the curriculum.
The program was expanded in 2014 to include a workshop for Miami-Dade teachers at FIU’s ARTS Day, at which The Foundation again brought in Sari Poll Barron, Director of the Los Angeles Project, to present the workshop to teach educators how to implement ATP in their Language Arts and Music curriculums. JMF provided 12,000 booklets free of charge to Miami-Dade educators for use in their classes. In 2015, FIU is partnering with Miami-Dade Public Schools to bring the program to 25,000 students while also presenting several workshops to educators.
In an effort to expand their outreach, JMF and Georgia State University, in collaboration with Atlanta Public Schools, presented the Accentuate the Positive workshop to educators in July 2015. The future plans are for The Foundation to provide students in the area with free activity guides to facilitate the lessons. Educators will teach four lessons based on the ATP Activity Guide to further develop the reach and influence of the program.
“Art and music are critical components of a child’s education. Sadly, many public schools have discontinued these programs,” said John D. Marshall Jr., President and Chairman of the Johnny Mercer Foundation. “ATP helps fill the need for music education in our classrooms, and perhaps with this program we can help nurture the great songwriters of the future.”
If your school district is interested in including the ATP program in their curriculum, please contact JMF at www.johnnymercer.org/about-the-foundation/contact-us/
About The Johnny Mercer Foundation:
The mission of The Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) is to support the discipline of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook as exemplified by the life and work of the legendary Johnny Mercer: lyricist, composer, performer, collaborator and producer. The Foundation continues Johnny’s legacy by partnering with individuals and organizations dedicated to celebrating and nourishing the disciplines he mastered and the causes he and his wife Ginger Mercer championed.
JMF has created a number of dynamic creative joint ventures with several prestigious institutions to facilitate our goals, including the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, Accentuate The Positive Programs (New York-Kaufman Music Center, Los Angeles and Miami), The Musical Theater Program at NJPAC, Georgia State University Fellowship Program, Florida International University Fellowship Program, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project with Northwestern University and the Johnny Mercer Archives at Georgia State University, In addition, JMF also supports various charitable causes including UCLA’s Art of The Brain, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program), Braille Institute (Johnny Mercer Children and Adult Choirs) and KCET TVs Cinema Series.
For more information please visit www.johnnymercer.org
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