International jazz recording artist, Eric Darius, who is currently touring the country to promote his latest album “Retro Forward” is also visiting schools in those cities in order to promote the importance of music education and inspire the youth to express themselves through music and follow their dreams.
Darius attributes his successes in his career to the opportunities he had in school and feels that music is a vital part of every child’s education. Now he wants to pay it forward. He officially kicked off his “On A Mission in the Schools” national campaign several years ago in his hometown, Tampa, and now he’s partnering with schools and colleges nationwide and scheduling appearances in conjunction with his album tour. During each visit, he will not only perform for the students and share his story with them, but also perform with students from their music department.
Eric’s energetic performances and motivational speeches are deeply resonating with both students and teachers, as the response from them has been remarkable. His impact on the youth has been immediate, as they are flooding his social media pages with their excited and awe-inspired feedback.
Inspire the Youth
“I want them to know that it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice in order to succeed, regardless of what it is they want to pursue in life. I challenge them to prioritize their time by spending less time watching TV and playing video games, and to instead dedicate that time to learning what will get them what they want in the end: a great college education, a fulfilling lifestyle, and a profession that they are passionate about.”
Darius inspires the students to challenge stereotypes, in both music and in life. “A lot of younger people generally associate jazz with music that puts you to sleep and that only old people listen to,” he laughs. “Then I play one of my songs, and they hear elements of Hip-Hop, R & B, Pop, Gospel and Rock – all the types of music they love and can relate to. At that moment, that’s when their eyes and ears begin to open, and they begin to realize that jazz can be cool. In order for jazz to grow and evolve, it’s going to have to start with the younger generation. This is where mission comes into play.”