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Chili Peppers' bassist Flea says cutting music education from public schools is 'child abuse'

Laura  Barnes
Chili Peppers' bassist Flea says cutting music education from public schools is 'child abuse'

The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist has expressed his views on the current threat musical education programs in public schools are facing in the US, calling it “child abuse” and “just wrong”.

Talking to Rolling Stone, Flea described how there were barely any instruments in the music rooms when he went to visit his old high school.

"They had maybe one or two acoustic guitars, a boombox, a volunteer teacher, and they were sitting around talking about music,” said the world-renowned bassist. “I was so disheartened. I was like, 'Where's the orchestra? Where's the band?' And I was told they cut out all the funding for that stuff. They didn't have instruments for the teachers anymore. It really shocked me."

This experience motivated Flea to form the Silverlake Conservatory of Music – a non-profit school offering free music lessons to qualifying students.
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The school has expanded from a small storefront into a new space in the Los Angeles neighbourhood last year.

The school will be hosting its annual fundraising show at its new space on September 9th featuring an art auction with works by Thomas Houseago, Alison Mosshart, Shepard Fairey, Ed Ruscha and Jonas Wood, and performances by Randy Newman, Anderson .Paak and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

"We play it almost every year," Flea told Rolling Stone. "This year we're going to play acoustic and we're going to be joined by the children's choir from the school."

The fundraising has helped the school move into the new space, which houses 12 private lesson rooms, four classrooms and a performance space.

“We have about 800 kids that come through. Everyone that comes will be able to see the school, get a feel for what's going on and be a part of it,” said the bassist.

Flea also spoke about the Trump administration and its proposed cuts to arts funding. "I worry about a lot of things that that guy says, but that affects my worldview personally," he said. "It's not just music, but the arts in general – wanting to cut the NEA.

"I encourage everybody to reach out into the communities they live in and do what they can to help out. There are people that don't have money, people that don't have food or an education or healthcare,” pleaded Flea. “And yes, getting to change things on a fundamental, institutional level is an awesome thing, but we can personally reach out in our communities to do stuff that is profoundly helpful."

Main image by Carlos Delgado

Tags: flea , red hot chili peppers , musical education , Trump , school budget cuts , school funding cuts

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