With enthusiastic kids holding musical instruments behind her, Monica said, "I think, first of all, music saves lives. Gives us something constructive to do, something to really express yourself through. And another way to connect with others."
Acknowledging the kids, she added, "We got real musicians behind us - they play trumpets, they play drums. You need these people. When I turn, maybe, like 40, and do my greatest hits record, they'll be playing for me. If we take that away from them, what else do they have constructive to do in their time?"
So she made a donation as well. She said, "These are my lace-up shoes from the People magazine shoot that comes out next week with the record. I thought it would be hot to auction those off. We got to get them some equipment." So look for them on eBay.
All these week, there were nearly $2.4 million in corporate pledges as well, a figure that is a much higher figure than last year's total.
- American Express: $1 million
- Steinway: $215,000
- ASCAP : $100,000
- Conn-Selmer $50,000
- And on Friday, Christina Johnson the president and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, pledged $1 million
In addition, more than 1,000 instruments have been donated around the country and more help is still needed-- the auction will keep going through June 20.
Why The Need
Recent budget cuts have put many music education programs at risk. From Providence to Portland, communities have reduced or eliminated public school music programs. This is occurring in spite of the growing body of research that documents the benefits of music education and some overwhelming public support. An astounding 95 percent of Americans believe that music is a key component in a child's well-rounded education, according to a 2003 Gallup Survey.
What You Can Do
If you want to help keep music in your local schools, here's what you can do:
Donate an instrument - If you live in New York City, bring your instrument to The Early Show Plaza at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, but there also are drop-off locations all around the country.
Bid on great stuff - Go to eBay where celebrities have donated various items. All proceeds go to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
Donate Money – Go to vh1savethemusic.com to make a cash contribution. Donations will be used to purchase new instrument.
Support your local programs – Help support public school music programs in your community. Visit the VH1 Save The Music Web site for tools and materials or go to supportmusic.com.
Saks Fifth Avenue has approached many of its designers and vendors to create exclusive products, which will be sold to benefit the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. The "Gifts that Give Back" promotion will display the products up in all 62 stores opening mid-October and will run through the holiday season.
As for Monica, Friday was not the first time she performed on The Early Show. She visited last August to perform singles from her album "All Eyez On Me."
She was first "discovered" as a 12-year-old singer by record executive Dallas Austin, who had worked with artists such as TLC, Grace Jones and Madonna.
Monica emerged in the mid-to-late '90s to add her own brand of R&B to music. Her first single from record executive Clive Davis's Arista Records, "Don't Take It Personal (Just One Of Dem Days)," topped the Billboard R&B chart in June 1995.
Other hit singles she has collected are "Why I Love You So Much," "Ain't Nobody," "For You I Will," and "The Boy Is Mine" — a duet with Brandy.
Her secret to success? "You always feel pressure. The one thing that I found is that when you don't think about it. A good friend of mine told me, 'Don't run the race looking back.' I found that works better," she said
And she graciously sang "Happy Birthday" to The Early Show co-anchor Hanna Storm, who turned 41 on the day of Monica's visit.