John Jacobson is a man who has completely dedicated his life to the betterment and enrichment of children. He has chosen musical education as his path towards enhancing the lives of children around the world. He explains, “There is no more noble profession than teaching. For me, music was the added bonus”. He grew up in a family of teachers; all nine of his brothers and sisters teach and are married to others who teach. With his extreme devotion to teaching, it only made sense to do it through the means of song and dance. “I loved to sing as a kid”, John says, “and I never saw a reason to stop. I worked my way through college performing, got my degree in music education”. For John, working with children is the most rewarding and important thing he could be doing.
I asked John what it is about musical education that is so beneficial for children? He passionately and clearly explained, “What you learn through music you don’t forgot. You sing it, you don’t forget it. You can learn anything from your math facts to the musical adventure of Lewis and Clark. You remember facts like that, and that’s really important. They might learn those things some place else. But who else is going to teach kids to have honor, compassion, honesty, and passion? The really big things, I think we can teach those through music, but better.”
John writes his own music to teach kids these hugely essential life lessons. He has written songs such as, “Respect”, that have been learned by school children across the nation. His staggeringly large musical catalog ranges from fun to life changing messages that all children can benefit from.
John is constantly working on new and different exciting programs geared towards musical education. He also has a musical fitness video program called jJump! It is geared towards getting younger kids to form positive habits of movement and exercise. The fun, fast-paced tunes come in 30-min videos that will surely get kids excited and jumping around! The jJump! Program is available on DVD as well as CD.
He not only does motivational lectures at schools, writes his own music, and choreographs his own routines, he also founded a non-profit organization called America Sings! This organization brings together school choirs from across the nation to unite in their favorite pastime, song. The children learn from each other and are impassioned to sing for their peers in this non-competetive choral celebration. What makes America Sings! truly unique and inspirational is that it is also very involved in charitable work. Everyone who is attendance participates in service work during the festival. These services range from making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for homeless shelters or preparing care packages. The foundation is completely self-supported through volunteer work and donations. John explains, “It came as a result of my own belief that kids and adults need to do service in their life. Most people think that to do service you need to go out of your normal life, but America Sings! is about doing what you love while helping others.”
Many of you may have stumbled upon John Jacobson through the viral video sensation, Double Dream Hands. This video features John teaching choreography for his song “Planet Rock”. The video came from a vault of hundreds of free choreography videos John has posted on his Music Express website. Music Express Magazine is a magazine John created to help teachers enhance their musical education programs. It is a magazine that comes with instructional cds, though anyone can access the free online content. If you enjoyed Double Dream Hands, you will love the other videos John has posted online for you!
When I asked John what the one message he wanted to get out to the public was, he spoke from the heart and said, “Musical educations needs to be supported locally and all over the world. You have to keep your eye, ears, and heart on the kids. You have to make your decisions for them. We need to be their advocates, in every decision we make. Children are listening, children are watching, we need to be the adults.”
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