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The Recording Academy Honoring Keith Urban for Commitment to Music Education

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The Recording Academy (the Grammy Awards‘ parent organization) will be honoring Keith Urban‘s commitment to music education during the 2017 Grammys on the Hill Awards, set to take place in Washington, DC, in early April.

On April 5, Urban will receive the Recording Artists’ Coalition Award in recognition of his “continued commitment to numerous music education programs,” a press release reports. The release goes on to explain that Urban’s philanthropic efforts “[have] not only served to inspire young musicians [but also] provided thousands of greatly needed musical instruments to underserved programs across the country.”

“Through music education programs, Keith Urban has encouraged aspiring musicians by giving them the opportunity to perform and achieve their dreams,” says Recording Academy President / CEO Neil Portnow. “An engaged member of the music community and the Recording Academy for many years, Keith is an outstanding music citizen and supporter of the future of music, so it is our great pleasure to honor and recognize his dedication at Grammys the Hill.”

For almost 10 years, Urban has been a supporter of numerous music education programs, including the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and the Grammy in the Schools program. He was the CMA Foundation Education Program’s first ambassador and has donated money from his signature guitar line to, among others, Music Education Matters partner programs, the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares. Urban has volunteered for the Recording Academy’s Grammy Camp program, supported their grant-based education initiatives and participated in the Grammy U Soundchecks program.

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“The opportunity to work with aspiring musicians and kids, who are just discovering music for the first time, really inspires me,” Urban explains. “Creativity is at the heart of an innovative society — it brings people together and teaches children self-expression, creative confidence and improvisational skills, which are essential to their development. Being honored by the Academy, especially given the fact that they’re the ones that have given me the chance to be part of their work in this area, is humbling. It’s an incredible honor.”

Urban tells Rolling Stone that, in terms of music education, he “had it pretty lucky” as a child: Music classes were part of his school curriculum, “and when kids at lunchtime would go down to the oval and kick a ball around, I’d go to the music room and mess around on the guitar.”

“I took it for granted until all these years later, where I’m looking at schools that do away with music programs quickly, because it’s seen to be the easiest thing to get rid of,” Urban adds. “I find that shocking. I’ve met so many kids over the years that use music to communicate. It’s where they get their self-esteem from. To just do away with that is scary to me.”

In addition to Urban, the Grammys on the Hill ceremony will also recognize legislators who have advocated for music creators’ rights, and will feature a number of live performances and surprises. The next day, on April 6, the Recording Academy will host Grammys on the Hill Advocacy Day, during which music professionals visit lawmakers to discuss the issues facing them and their peers.

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