Teen People and Pencil Kick Off Music Appreciation Day at a New York City Public School with Special Guests

December 29, 2003

TEEN PEOPLE and PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning) team up to host the first Music Appreciation Day at a New York City public school on January 13, 2004. Pharrell Williams (record producer, "The Neptunes," and member of N.E.R.D.), Ben Jelen (musician, Maverick Records) and FeFe Dobson (singer, Island/Def Jam Records) will lend a hand to empower, educate and motivate students to realize their dreams through creativity.

Along with the American Music Conference (AMC) and its new Web resource for teens, themusicedge.com, TEEN PEOPLE and PENCIL are all joining forces to help show teens at a New York City school the importance of musical education and to give them access to making music—something that fewer and fewer of them are getting the opportunity to experience in school.

TEEN PEOPLE kicks off its music appreciation program to coincide with its fifth annual What's Next issue, a look at the rising new talents in 2004. Pharrell was named one of TEEN PEOPLE's What's Next artists in 2001 and FeFe Dobson and Ben Jelen are named in the new issue (on newsstands nationwide January 2). TEEN PEOPLE aims to bring its new What's Next issue to life with an interactive event that will allow students to hear from buzzworthy new talent.

To help raise money for New York City schools and raise awareness for the importance of music education, TEEN PEOPLE and themusicedge.com will host a celebrity memorabilia auction on eBay. Users can log on to eBay, register as a user, go to the charity page and bid on celebrity autographed items such as autographed CDs and more. All of the money raised from the online celebrity auction will go to PENCIL and AMC to help raise money for music education. For further information or to view the celebrity memorabilia, please visit www.ebay.com and click on the Charity page.

In addition to the money raised through the online celebrity auction, Coca-Cola and Maybelline New York, sponsors of TEEN PEOPLE's What's Next, will each be contributing a donation to the New York City school that will host Music Appreciation Day.

The positive effects that music education and music making have on developing minds are better understood today than ever before. A recent Gallup Poll shows that 95 percent of Americans believe that music is a key component in a child's well-rounded education. Unfortunately, despite Americans' clear support for music education and participation, budget cuts and shifting priorities have placed those programs in more danger than ever. Already, up to 28 million American students do not receive an adequate music education, and cuts in education funding are either pending or have been enacted in more than half the states nationwide. This despite the fact that active music making has been shown to correlate with better reading ability and math scores, and lower incidence of drug use and antisocial behavior among teenagers.

"Music matters in teenagers' lives," says Amy Barnett, TEEN PEOPLE managing editor.  "We're bringing in three wonderful music talents—Pharrell, FeFe and Ben—to a New York City public school so they can share some of their stories and interact with teens about why music matters to them. We want teens to hear from the artists themselves and find out how music has changed lives."

"themusicedge.com has a petition on its Web site that allows teens to voice their support for music education and let local and national lawmakers know that quality music education is important to them," says AMC Associate Executive Director Laura Johnson. "By aligning ourselves with partners like TEEN PEOPLE, PENCIL and this great event, we will be giving teens the opportunity to become involved with legislation and have a say in the future of their education."

About Teen People
TEEN PEOPLE, launched in January 1998, is a National Magazine Award winner for General Excellence. With an editorial mix covering celebrities and entertainment, fashion and beauty, and real teens and their accomplishments, TEEN PEOPLE keeps its readers clued in to what's now, what's next and what matters. Published 10 times a year with two newsstand special editions, TEEN PEOPLE's guaranteed circulation moves to 1.45 million, effective with its February 2004 issue.

PENCIL's mission is to galvanize and coordinate meaningful civic involvement in New York City public education, believing that the private sector can and must play a vital role in improving the quality of education of 1.1 million New York City public school students. For further information, please visit www.pencil.org.

About AMC
Founded in 1947, The American Music Conference (AMC) is a national nonprofit educational association dedicated to promoting the importance of music, music making and music education to the general public. For more information on the American Music Conference, go to www.amc-music.org.