Singers LeAnn Rimes, Elvis Costello and Seal are calling for increased funding to keep school music programs alive. A flurry of music stars are backing the MusiCares campaign urging the U.S. government to provide more money for the arts within education.
Costello is adamant the whole country will suffer if children don't have an outlet to express themselves. He tells Fox News, "You don't get it back once you cut it, and the country will be poorer. You can spend money on other things but unless you keep the balance between skills and arts, then you're not going to have strong people going in to the future."
Rimes adds, "It is absolutely necessary. There is research that shows that kids involved in music do so much better with all school work - math, science, English, as well as with their overall creativity and focus. I've been doing this since I was five years old and (music funding) needs to be back in schools. It comes from the heart and kids need that."
And they're not the only stars behind the cause - Seal claims that "without (music) in our culture, we'll all die", adding "Imagine what it would be like without music in our lives."
Actress Kristin Chenoweth is adamant she suffered because she didn't get to play music at school, "I just hope and wish and pray that the government will really see what the arts can do for the children. Growing up in Oklahoma, where football was the main priority and choir and drama were not, I can see the importance of it. My only way to perform was to be a cheerleader, as cliche as that sounds. There needs to be more instruments in schools and emphasis on the arts."
But jazz great Herbie Hancock insists U.S. President Barack Obama has more pressing issues to deal with first: "Obama is on to it, there is only so much he can do at this time. He can't just push a button and make things go the way he wants. We're not a dictatorship. Nobody wants a dictatorship,. (Proper arts funding) may take a while because we have to worry about jobs right now."