With major cuts to education being implemented in state budgets throughout the country, the need to support students is at an all time high. When the ax falls on school budgets, the first to go are typically the arts and music programs. In this day of strained budgets and a heavy emphasis on test-intensive subjects such as science and math, schools in less well-to-do towns and city neighborhoods are often not so lucky. When the time comes for costs to be cut, the arts are seen as expendable — if not frills, then at least not essential to an education that will turn out productive members of America’s economic machinery. The arts and education have been intricately intertwined since the Greeks set up their first schools, with a focus on philosophy, art, mathematics and music, the first three relating to and impacting directly the most important of those, music.
A music education is critical in the development of a well-rounded education and helps to prepare students for life with a greater focus on self-discipline, improved focus and increased ease in learning and synthesizing abstract information. To ignore music is to set our students back in their academic progress and limit their capabilties in future endeavors. Treating music, art and even foreign language as an unnecessary appendage that can be cut as needed lessens the ability for the youth of the nation to develop strong backbones in the academic rigors that are avoidable when the budget ax falls, namely Math, Science, History and English.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a leading grantmaker in music education for children, the Foundation has now made over 300 grants in 47 states. Proceeds are generated through comprehensive books including three editions of The Phish Companion: A Guide to the Band & Their Music, innovative recordings, special art prints, creative donation premiums, and fan community events. At the beginning of Summer 2016, The Foundation announced that Phish fans have donated over one million dollars to charity.
The Mockingbird Foundation is entirely volunteer, with no salaries, paid staff, office space, or endowment — thus distributing all possible funds to education grants. No member or volunteer benefits financially from the Foundation, all proceeds from Mockingbird projects are donated to tax-exempt organizations.
Since 1994, Mockingbird has cultivated intellectual property on Phish and their music through phish.net, making it the leading provider of historical information about the band. It has published three editions of The Phish Companion as well as a Phish cover album,Sharin’ in the Groove. Through strategic partnerships, The Foundation contributes content to a dozen other Phish related site and four mobile apps.
With Board Members, phish.net contributors and volunteers across the country, Mockingbird exists almost exclusively online. Born from a Usenet newsgroup and started as a mailing list, it now sustains via online forums and blogs on phish.net, Facebook and Twitter.
What can YOU do to support music education?
Buy goods on Amazon through Mockingbird
Make a direct donation to The Mockingbird Foundation
Buy a copy of PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish, a 400+ page coffee table book featuring the art made by Phish fans over the course of the band’s first 21 years.
Pick up a copy of The Phish Companion or Sharin’ in the Groove
Each artist and Phish fan taking part in this website voluntarily donates money from sales (typically 10%) or art to be used in future auctions to benefit The Mockingbird Foundation.
Tell your representatives, school board and friends to support the arts and music education in schools, as they are vital to ensuring that students stay competitive and well-rounded in their education through academic reinforcement.
To apply for a grant from The Mockingbird Foundation, visit their funding page.
– PhanArt Pete Mason