With the school year starting back up again, the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, the CMA Foundation, is kicking off a busy season of supporting equitable music education initiatives across the U.S. with the announcement of Charlie Worsham as the non-profit’s newest Artist Ambassador.
“Charlie has been committed to helping students get excited about and stay involved with music for as long as I’ve known him,” says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director. “From his ‘Donuts & Jam’ fan club parties during CMA Fest benefitting the Quest Center for Art & Community Development to his Follow Your Heart Arts Program and Scholarship, Charlie is hugely passionate for this cause. I know his involvement will help us further our mission to serve even more students and educators.”
“From the Mississippi Delta to the halls of power in our nation’s capital, I’ve been proud to work alongside the CMA Foundation to advocate for music education,” says Worsham. “It is critical that we offer the next generation a chance to discover themselves through the power of music.”
As a CMA Foundation Artist Ambassador, Worsham will participate in a virtual panel that will be shared with Tennessee Music Education Association (TNMEA) membership later this month. Joined by his mother, Sherry Worsham, and TNMEA Advocacy/Government Relations Chair, Christopher K. Dye, the group discusses the life-changing impact of music on young people, specifically in rural communities. Sherry and Charlie have witnessed this positive impact first-hand following their 2016 launch of the Follow Your Heart Arts Program, a music education and advocacy program located in rural Mississippi available to elementary and high school students free of charge.
Worsham is also participating in season two of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s Words & Music at Home, which provides free, digital programming and resources to encourage audiences of all ages to try songwriting as a way of self-expression. His episode will premiere Thursday, Aug. 19 at 7:00 PM/CT on the museum’s YouTube channel.
Worsham joins the CMA Foundation’s Artist Ambassador collective alongside Jimmie Allen, Russell Dickerson, Lindsay Ell, Maddie & Tae, Ashley McBryde and Caitlyn Smith who have all promoted music education in ways that are personal to them.
Allen took part in a virtual meeting with a third-grade music class at Snowden Elementary in Memphis, TN to share his story and discuss music and songwriting with the students. He also participated in the CMA Foundation’s Teaching Artist Webinar Series to discuss culturally relevant teaching, music discovery and parenting in a pandemic.
Dickerson visited with band students at his former high school in May and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry during Teacher Appreciation Week.
Ell shared the healing power of music with Nashville’s Mt. View Elementary students during a virtual songwriting session in March, as well as teaching student guitarists how to restring and tune a guitar.
In April, Maddie & Tae met virtually with high school choir students and then sat down with female band directors.
McBryde served as the inaugural Artist Ambassador, meeting virtually with music teachers last year to discuss the obstacles faced while teaching amid the pandemic and sharing how music education led to her career in Country Music. She created a music lesson on building the major scale for teachers and students to use in both their in-person and virtual classrooms.
Smith created a Songwriting 101 video tutorial to give viewers an inside look at her songwriting process and performed as headliner during “Tuesday Night Music Club” at Basement East in July with merch sales benefitting the CMA Foundation.