Forget about your legacy…whether it’s a billion dollar fortune that will power industry and fund foundations or a starlit piece art that will entrance millions, the true legacy we leave behind is the generation that follows us. If this year’s Next Generation Jazz Festival is any indication, Jazz will reach new heights in the coming decades. The caliber of musicians that took the stage over the past two days is extraordinary….and they’re just starting out! What is it about Jazz that captures the hearts of all these teens? Whatever the magic, it sure seems powerful. These young women and men are not just accomplished musicians, they’re polite, motivated, individuals who will be a credit to our society. Hanging out around them all weekend has dissipated my doubts about the future of our country. If this is the stock that will be producing our leaders, woe be to those who obstruct us. The beauty of this situation is the cause: Music…and more specifically….music education for our youth. Time and time again studies have revealed that the introduction of music education in a curriculum produces a better student, both academically and socially. So here’s where the doubt comes in…who has children in a public school that actually has a music program? The answer is fewer and fewer every year. Why? How is it that after so many positive results from studies of the effects of music education on students that we aren’t overloaded with music in our schools? Is it simply this elixir that produces such well-rounded individuals is not affordable? Bah Humbug!!! There’s no excuse…we must succeed in instilling music curriculum in all our schools from elementary through high school. How are we going to do it? What exactly are our elected officials for? Time to start the letter writing, emailing and faxing. And what of that bloated bureaucratic beast called the county office of education? Perhaps it’s time to have fewer administrators and more music. Whatever the method, success will bring bountiful benefits to our country and our society. It would be a legacy that ensures we don’t follow in the footsteps of Rome or one of the other world powers that faded away. In the end, let me simply say, Hooray for Monterey Jazz Festival Education Programs, Huzzah for the Next Generation Jazz Festival, and thank you to all who have contributed to these efforts that produce such great future members of our society.