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The mission of the San Diego Music Foundation is to enrich San Diego's diverse and creative music community through music education for youth, professional development for current and emerging industry professionals, live performances for the San Diego public, and recognition for San Diego artists of exceptional merit or service
Chartered in 1991, the San Diego Music Foundation was created to make music performance accessible to children of need in San Diego County by providing them with a hands-on vehicle, the guitar, to express themselves creatively. Over its 20 year history, the organization has served over 15,000 K-8 students county-wide from Chula Vista to Fallbrook. In subsequent years the organization has broadened its focus and service areas, providing forums to increase local musicians' understanding of the music business, garner performance exposure within the local and national music communities, and to publicly recognize the breadth and diversity of the San Diego music scene.
The San Diego Music Foundation focuses its efforts on four annual programs:
- Guitars for Schools introduces guitar performance to public elementary and middle school music curricula in San Diego County. The program was created both to augment existing programs and to offset the loss of arts instruction in public schools. The guitar's familiarity and popularity among young people makes it an excellent tool for getting them interested in music, and in the performing arts in general.
- Entering its 5 th year, the North Park Music Thing is an annual 2-day music conference that takes place each September at the historic Lafayette Hotel. Activities include expert panels addressing industry-related topics ranging from legal issues and social media to songwriting and demo review sessions. The 2011 North Park Music Thing will feature a music industry icon as keynote speaker; interactive and roundtable sessions with nationally-known panelists from New York, Los Angeles and Austin, who represent the best and most innovative aspects of the music business; as well as an evening Music Festival component, with over 100 local, regional and national bands performing at 10 venues around San Diego
- The annual San Diego Music Awards, now in its 21 st year, recognizes the achievements of our diverse local music community. Awards are presented in 27 categories, recognizing many different genres of music including Rock, Jazz, Hip Hop, Americana and World Music. The San Diego Music Awards is the primary fundraising vehicle for Guitars for Schools. The highlight of 2010 was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award by Mayor Jerry Sanders and local radio personality Jim McInnes to classic rock legends Iron Butterfly. Past performers at the San Diego Music Awards include Jewel, Jason Mraz, Switchfoot, Nickel Creek, P.O.D. and blink-182.
- The Festival of Beers is the perfect marriage of two of San Diego's best known exports -- music and craft beer. San Diego has emerged as one of the most dynamic beer cities in the United States, arguably the world, with a diversity of style and technique that is unmatched. With the participation of the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association, community business owners and over 30 local brewers and performances from local bands who match the brewers in diversity and dynamism, this event has grown into the Foundation's largest single event fundraiser for the organization.