I'm so pleased to announce that my new book about some of the biggest names in musical instruments will raise funds for music-in-schools advocacy group SupportMusic.com. Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers takes a behind-the-scenes look at the personalities, innovations, and perseverance behind Zildjian cymbals, Steinway pianos, Martin and Fender guitars, Conn horns, Ludwig drums, Hammond organs, and Moog synthesizers.
Written to get young people excited about making music, the 140-page, full-color hardcover book is published by Boyds Mills Press, an imprint of Highlights for Children magazine. Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin' features more than 200 photos, many rare and vintage, plus loads of intriguing music history, from classical and jazz to country, rock, and hip-hop. All eight of the instrument makers profiled in the book kindly opened their archives to me and vetted their chapters for accuracy.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each copy of Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin' will be donated to SupportMusic.com, a music education advocacy effort seeking to improve access and opportunity in music and arts learning. SupportMusic is a public service initiative of the NAMM Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by the National Association of Music Merchants, and MENC, the National Association for Music Education.
As a proud former school band geek, the daughter of a music teacher, and now mother to a pair of budding vocalists myself, I'm well-aware of the enormous value of school music and arts programs. SupportMusic works to ensure that every child who wants to make music is given that important opportunity. I appreciate that and want to do what I can to help, especially during this time of drastic school budget cuts.
Of Raggin' Jazzin' Raggin,' Kirkus Reviews enthuses, “This absorbing history examines the lives and work of eight innovators in the design and manufacture of musical instruments. From Avedis Zildjian, who brought his family’s centuries-old cymbal-making business from Turkey to Boston, to Robert Moog, whose electronic synthesizer rocked the music world, VanHecke’s portraits celebrate… inquisitive scientific tinkering, dedication to craft and business moxie… Students and teachers of music are the natural audience for this unique treatment.”
To learn more, visit www.SupportMusic.com, www.MENC.org, www.NAMMFoundation.org, and www.RagginJazzinRockin.com.
Causes Susan VanHecke Supports
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Trust For Historic Preservation