One of Ashley McBryde‘s career accomplishments she is most proud of has nothing to do with awards or accolades. Instead, the singer-songwriter partnered with the Country Music Association to launch the Artist Ambassador Program, through Unified Voices for Music Education (UVME), advocating for music education in schools all over the country. For McBryde, the cause is personal.
“I’ve always been a huge advocate for music education, because the things that I learned when I was in band and when I was in choir, that all translated over and made me a better musician,” McBryde explains on The Doctors. “Being here in Nashville, doing country music, which has always been a passion. But as soon as I got the chance to give back, I let them know that if I ever had a chance, and I don’t care if it’s teaching a band camp, I don’t care if it’s doing a seminar, anything, I will do it.”
McBryde once thought she might be a music teacher or a band director, although she admits actually teaching is a lot more challenging than she anticipated.
“It was daunting,” McBryde admits. “I know that I have this knowledge in here, and I have to give it to you. But I have to start at square one. I can’t skip steps. So luckily, I had a really good team with the foundation, that could help me put a lesson plan together, and deliver it in the right way, and with the right steps.”
Still, the chance to instill in the younger generation her love of music is something McBryde will never take for granted.
“The whole reason I got into music, whether it was performing or learning or educating, was to give to someone else what music gave to me,” the 37-year-old says. “If I can do it for one person, that’s the whole reason we’re here. It’s the same reason all of us are here. It doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest country star there ever was, it doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest flugelhorn player there ever was, the reason you’re making music, is to give back to someone a little younger than you, what music gave to you.
“And so this has been — I don’t want to sound cliché or anything, but this was my dream, to be a band director,” she adds. “And so I got to do it … I got to give back.”
Watch one of McBryde’s teaching videos here.