From The American Teacher December/January 2006 edition
There’s a lesson in the music  by Roger Glass

It’s difficult to appreciate the artistry and beauty of real instrumental music—or the talent of those who
create it—when you’re constantly inundated with music from electronic devices. An entire generation
of young people have been brought up on an unhealthy diet of electronic sounds, says trombonist
Gregory Royal. “They don’t even know the sound of a cello, clarinet, French horn or flute.”

Royal, an alumnus of the modern-day Duke Ellington Orchestra, says his primary concern is what will
happen to instrumental music if current and future generations fail to support it. Instead of blaming
hip-hop music and its purveyors for failing to appreciation what he calls “traditional” music, Royal, the
executive director of the American Youth Symphony (AYS), and his colleagues at AYS are seeking to
work with hip-hop artists, producers and record labels on a project called “The Plight of American
Music Initiative.”

“We in the artistic community must make up lost ground for our abandonment and lack of guidance of
this generation,” AYS executive director Susan Veres says. The initiative is intended “to persuade
organizations interested in the preservation of traditional music to offer grants to hip-hop producers
who choose to use real instruments in their music.”

The initiative has materials educators can use to conduct class discussions and demonstrations
related to the preservation of instrumental music. Also available on CD or DVD is the stage play “It’s
a Hardbop Life,” which features a cast of top jazz musicians.

For information on how to register for “The Plight of American Music Initiative,” visit www.hardboplife.