December 19, 2019

Music Performance Trust Fund: Enhancing the Lives of Audiences and Performers

Since 1948, the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) has been working to fulfill its mission of contributing to the public knowledge and appreciation of music and making music a part of every child’s life experience. Today the MPTF brings music to the public at no cost and supplements musicians’ incomes.

We recently caught up with Dan Beck, MPTF Trustee, to talk about the important work MPTF does for communities and the musician community. 

What is MPTF is all about?
Dan Beck: We’re all about helping performing arts entities and musicians’ unions present free, live musical performances in communities throughout North America. Our trust was founded by a landmark agreement between the national musician’s union and the music recording industry more than seventy years ago. The agreement created a revenue stream that flows from the music sales, licensing, and streaming from every major record label into our trust, which then directly supports live music performed by professional musicians.  We co-sponsor events at schools, festivals, parks, senior centers and the like. And we partner with select national groups to support our national treasures: the veterans, the forgotten jazz greats and diverse cultural and ethnic groups, including the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival and Jazz Appreciation Month, to name a few. 

What drives your mission?
Research indicates that active engagement with music enhances well-being for audiences and performers alike, and we believe that creating greater access at no cost to high quality musical expression can enrich and inform the lives of the general public, young and old.

Tell us about your programming:
DB: More than 35% of our grant funding supports communities through our Music In The Schools program, a signature initiative which began at our inception. Our program is united with the national effort to advocate for a complete education that includes music instruction for all students. We recently began developing strategic partnerships to strengthen efforts to increase access, beginning with key leaders. We are proud to have recently affiliated with the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition and are discussing ways to support communities together. 

What’s coming up next at MPTF? 
 We’re developing an exciting initiative with another GMEC affiliate, the Save the Music Foundation, to co-sponsor quality musical experiences in selected school settings. We’ll be announcing more details soon. And we have become active again with the Board of Directors of the National Music Council, which has a leading initiative to promote music education in the United States, and which endorses the five music rights of people worldwide, as stated by the International Music Council. In this time of great change in our world’s leadership and vision, we need to defend all people’s right to express themselves freely through music, to develop their artistry, and to receive fair remuneration for their efforts. 

What makes music education so important for you? 
The erosion of the arts in the American educational system is creating a two-dimensional product, diminishing the abilities of children to interact and the development skills for self-expression and communication. In a world of technological isolation, we need music’s emotional, physical, and intellectual social impact now more than ever.