CMA Foundation Makes Holidays Shine for Nashville Music Students

CMA Foundation Makes Holidays Shine for Nashville Music Students

CMA Foundation Increases Donation to the W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School by 50 Percent; Foundation Grant Announced at the School’s Annual Holiday Recital

NASHVILLE – The CMA Foundation is donating $75,000 to benefit music education programs for low-income students at the W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School – a 50 percent increase over 2014 and the fourth year the Foundation has supported the School.

To date, CMA and the CMA Foundation have committed more than $13.6 million to support local and national, in-school and after-school music education programs on behalf of the Country artist community. Support for programs includes purchasing instruments, but the Foundation is also focused on supporting teachers and creating sustainable music education programs that make a difference in a child’s life. The figure includes a recent $1 million grant to Metro Nashville Public Schools for instruments and teacher development initiatives.

“By providing funding for the outstanding music programs at W.O. Smith, we are able to supplement and bridge the work we are doing with Metro Nashville Public Schools,” said Ron Samuels, Chair of the CMA Foundation Board of Directors. “Keeping these deserving, talented students engaged in after-school lessons can further develop their skills as musicians and performers.”

“W.O. Smith Music School is very thankful for the support from our partners at the CMA Foundation,” said Jonah Rabinowitz, Executive Director of the W.O. Smith School. “For the students at W.O. Smith, weekly lessons provide more than music instruction. The consistent dedication from teachers, families, and staff create community. This generous grant from the CMA Foundation provides W.O. Smith with essential resources to provide a place where our community can come together to make music.”

The donation was announced at the annual holiday recital at the School, which is attended by families and friends of the students. The funds will be used to offer enriching activities and music instruction in a positive musical and social environment that many students could not otherwise afford.

Founded in 1984, the W.O. Smith School was created with the purpose of making quality music instruction available to talented, interested, deserving children from low-income families at the nominal fee of 50 cents a lesson. Instruction is provided by a 225-member volunteer faculty of area musicians from many elements of the Nashville music scene including studio musicians, symphony players, college professors, public school teachers, church musicians, private teachers, and university students, who each donate up to four hours a week teaching their students.

The school serves more than 700 students (ages 6 to 18), representing academic schools from across Metro Davidson County and Middle Tennessee. Students must qualify for the reduced or free lunch program in Metro schools to participate. The school offers introductory classes for pre-instrumentalists, individual and group lessons in all band and orchestra instruments, piano, guitar, and voice. The school, which is a nonprofit educational institution, also provides computer-assisted instruction in music fundamentals and theory, classes in composition, music technology, and recording. For information about the school, call (615) 255-8355 or visit

CMA created the nonprofit (501C3) CMA Foundation in 2011 as the charitable giving arm of CMA. Funds for the Foundation are provided by CMA on behalf of the hundreds of artists who perform and make appearances during CMA Music Festival for free.

Studies show students who participate in the arts are more likely to graduate, have better attendance rates, and higher GPAs than students not enrolled in arts classes. The CMA Foundation recognizes the importance of music education in keeping kids engaged and in school as well as providing access to higher education through scholarships.

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.

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