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.
Since its inception in 2011, the CMA Foundation has been committed to improving and sustaining music programs throughout the U.S. so all students have equitable opportunities to participate in a high-quality music education. The CMA Foundation believes music and the arts are part of a well-rounded education, investing $27 million to support these efforts over the last 10 years. During this time, the CMA Foundation has observed why music programs are not thriving, seeing first-hand the challenges educators are facing and, most importantly, the systemic issues that must be addressed in order for every child to have access to music. Committed to its vision, the CMA Foundation is working directly with school districts to identify needs, understand their challenges, build community support and develop local and national resources from partners as part of the non-profit’s systems change model.
The CMA Foundation will continue to provide unique opportunities and support for music teachers and students as more Artist Ambassadors are announced throughout the year.
About Charlie Worsham
One of Nashville’s most respected and beloved artists, Charlie Worsham released his new EP, Sugarcane, last month via Warner Music Nashville. Produced by Jay Joyce, Sugarcane is an emotional homecoming for Worsham. What began as personal reflections from a daily writing exercise grew into six songs that celebrate the love, perseverance and struggles experienced through life. Released to widespread acclaim, The Tennessean praises, “In releasing what may be his most personal collection of songs yet, Charlie Worsham has never sounded more universal,” while Forbes declares, “Its six tracks are fit for Country radio, packed with Worsham’s personal anecdotes and full vocals.” In addition to his own work, Worsham is a frequent collaborator, having recently worked with Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Brandy Clark, Luke Combs, Vince Gill, Kacey Musgraves, Marty Stuart, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban among several others.