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Annette D. Jackson, Executive Director, The Ken Ford Foundation

Music and arts are vital to a child’s education and the benefits are beyond what many imagine. “Statistics and data show that music stimulates the left and right brain, elevating the whole body, mind and spirit toward success,” offers Annette D. Jackson, executive director of The Ken Ford Foundation.
The proof of that premise is evident in our fascination with TV shows like “Glee” and “High School Musical” that we can’t get enough of the arts.
“We are working to convince the legislative body to make music a sport. That means that every single child from kindergarten up will have an instrument in their hands,” says Jackson, a former public school educator. “My daughter and son, Taylor Jackson and Thomas Christian, play violin. My son can play Ken’s [Ford] ‘State of Mind,’ by ear.”
The Ken Ford Foundation’s goal is to keep string music in arts programming through a program titled, “Making the Violin Fun.” It’s an effort to spark an interest in all students, not just members of the orchestra. “If they know that the violin is cool and fun, then they will have a greater interest in string music,” explains Jackson. “Education is so very important to us at the Ken Ford Foundation. Children in Georgia schools need to not just be adequately educated, but superiorly educated.”
With the help of dedicated volunteers, the foundation hosts a concert every year and is assembling a Ken Ford Symphony, which is an intergenerational symphony for 7-year-olds to seniors. “It will rival the Atlanta Symphony. We take our workshop for violin, viola, cello and bass players — and, of course, orchestra itinerants — into schools who seek more innovative ways to teach Bach and Beethoven, adding some jazz and soul so students are encouraged to play,” Jackson shares. –yvette caslin