Jason Mraz Sounds Off on the Value of Music Education and Exposure to the Arts in Creating Opportunity
Career Development Best known for his catchy lyrics and uplifting harmonies, Jason Mraz also partners with programs like VH1 Save the Music to ensure people have exposure to music.
Jason Mraz didn’t know he would pursue music as a career until he was in high school, but music was a part of his life well before his teenage years. As a child, he would rather listen to music than watch TV.
Sowing the seeds
He credits his mother for inspiring his passion at such a young age and notes, “It takes parents to make this happen.” His parents never stood in the way of his desire to pursue music—“they never tried to talk me out of it.”
His parents weren’t his only support system. Jason was lucky to go to a school that invested in not only music programs, but high quality teachers as well. He says, “I was blessed to have amazing teachers in my public schools. They spent a lot of time on theory, studying classical music and the proper techniques. There was also a lot of emphasis on musical history.”
“Being in a music classroom, you’re working and harmonizing with others in unity. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone and gives you a sense of accomplishment.”
He worries that future generations won’t have the same kind of exposure to the arts. “It really breaks my heart and makes me so nervous. I can’t imagine a generation of kids that grow up without those opportunities. Music has given me everything in my life.”
In his school system, music was offered beginning in the second grade. He started playing the trumpet in fifth grade but quickly learned that he couldn’t sing music with a trumpet in his mouth, and by the next year he was set on chorus. By high school, his musical adventures expanded to concert choir, show choir, and different musical competitions, both during the school year and summer breaks. He says, “It was amazing to me how just singing could provide all this opportunity.”
Jason acknowledges that having a music education offers more than just an ability to play an instrument or sight read. “Being in a music classroom, you’re working and harmonizing with others in unity. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone and gives you a sense of accomplishment.”
Jason credits his musical involvement for not just social, but also educational success. Telling stories and learning different languages were both elements that attracted him to choral programs.
He and his musical peers were singing “quite a mouthful” at a very young age. He summarizes, “If there wasn’t music in my school, I probably wouldn’t have graduated from high school.”