Keith Urban was in Los Angeles on Friday (July 23) to headline the Grammy Foundation's Starry Nightshow, which benefits the Grammy in the Schools music education programs for high school students. Keith says it's very important to have music programs in schools, and notes that one of the reasons he wanted to lend his time and talents to the program was because of his life-changing relationship with music.

"I feel really fortunate that I got to start at such a young age," Keith explains to The Boot. "I was six when I started playing guitar and devote the 10,000-hour[s it generally takes to learn how to play]. I was able to rack that up at a good age and get professional at what I did ... I was impacted by, first of all, having an opportunity to play an instrument, which a lot of kids can do, but they don't have any access to instruments. And then if they do, they don't have access to teachers, they don't have environments that really foster that focus."

With the loss of music programs in many schools, Keith feels very strongly about raising money and awareness to assist children in pursuing a love affair with an instrument and finding places where they can develop and nurture their passion. "There's a lot of talented kids that are just looking for that place where they can apply their being to," he says. "They're sort of born to be a guitar player, born to be a piano player, fiddle, sax, whatever it is. And all they have to do is find an instrument, and then they're off to the races ... I'm passionate about continuing that at schools where the funding cuts off the arts and the dramas."

The saucy Aussie also feels passionate about kids actually practicing a real instrument as opposed to video games, and to actually create as opposed to imitate. "It's really important for the kids to put in the time," states Keith. "Right now, we're seeing a lot of kids with 'Guitar Hero,' and I'm not dissing 'Guitar Hero,' but it's not a great use of hours and hours and hours of time ... it's not about 'I've got to create. I want to create. I'm an artist, and I want to create.' Hopefully, getting involved in this [program] will allow kids to be able to create and have the right thrust for this."

Next, Keith will take his passion to the Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles, Ca., on Wednesday, July 28.

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