The benefits of school music programs are far reaching and life spanning. Beyond simply learning how to play a piano or a violin or a guitar, etc., young students of music also gain important life lessons. School music programs directly help shape character and individual abilities, as well as offer a way to help channel ideas and ideals throughout ones life. Hence, it is disheartening when, especially in these harsh economic times, the budgets for school music programs as well as other areas of the arts are typically the first to get slashed.
It was with this in mind that the three concerned individuals behind this week's fun & eclectic Soul Food No. 2 benefit for San Francisco music programs pooled their creative resources. Skateboarder and musician Tommy Guerrero, musician Marc Capelle, and artist & Gallery 16 owner/operator Griff Williams -- all vocal supporters of music in school programs -- are throwing the second in the Soul Food series of benefit shows "that present film and music together in a gallery setting to raise funds for local charities that have an obvious, honest, effective, and immediate impact on our neighborhoods," according to Williams. Following the success of their last Soul Food benefit (for the San Francisco Food Bank) they decided this time work to help support MuST (Music In Schools Today), geared to get musical instruments into SF area schools. Longtime SF artist Tommy Guererro, himself a former SF school district student, is most passionate about the need for school music programs and for their continuation. "Music is the only language that everyone understands: the great communicator," he told me when asked what he saw as the main benefits of school music programs. "Oh, and jocks don't hang out in music class...less beatings that way," he added with a laugh.