CMA Foundation Music Education Matters Ambassador Keith Urban Meets Music Students During Today Show Appearance Scott Frans August 19, 2015 NASHVILLE – Keith Urban, who performed this past Friday before a jam-packed Rockefeller Plaza crowd for the Today Show Summer Concert Series, took time both before and after the show, to meet Education Through Music (ETM) students from the Bronx. The middle-school students are the recipients of a donation of guitars (by Urban), made possible through the CMA Foundation’s Music Education Matters initiative, which provides musical instruments and teaching support to programs serving inner-city youth. Urban, the first CMA Foundation Music Education Matters initiative Ambassador, invited the middle and elementary school students to the taping where they had ‘front row seats’ for the superstar’s five-song set, which included a performance of his latest Top 10 single “John Cougar. John Deere. John 3:16.” Providing special opportunities for students to experience music is something that Urban has championed on and off stage. In June he announced a donation of his signature guitars complete with amplifiers, strings, and picks to five CMA Foundation Music Education Matters partner programs across the country including Education Through Music (ETM), which brought the students from their summer camp program to the taping. ETM partners with under-served schools to provide all students with music as a core subject and to create school communities that value the arts. In the 2014/2015 school year, ETM served 20,000 students and 40 teachers in 37 inner-city schools in New York City, and their model reaches another 8,000 children through the work of their licensed affiliate organization in Los Angeles. The CMA Foundation receives the bulk of the funding to support these and other programs from CMA Music Festival. To date, CMA and the CMA Foundation have donated more than $11 million to this worthy cause on behalf of the artists who perform at CMA Music Festival for free. The Foundation has made Music Education Matters its core initiative. Statistics show it is making a difference. Studies have proven that people who play instruments from childhood have above average general reasoning skills and verbal intelligence. Other studies indicated that learning music increases fine motor skills, enhanced hearing ability, and memory. CMA created the nonprofit (501C3) CMA Foundation in 2011. Guided by the generosity of the Country Music community, the CMA Foundation focuses on improving and sustaining music education programs everywhere while supporting worthwhile causes important to the Country Music Association. For more information, visit CMAfoundation.org.