Are you concerned about the state of musical education in our country? If so, I must share with all of you a speech given last week by Wynton Marsalis. Marsalis, who has won a Pulitzer Prize in Music and several Grammy awards, delivered the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the evening component of the 22nd annual Arts Advocacy Day, organized by Americans for the Arts.? The organization's purpose is to promote the arts and arts education in America. The speech goes to the heart of the value of music in American society and our inherent responsibility to nourish it, regardless of its economic value. Marsalis cried at his speech's conclusion. If you are passionate about his message, you will too. "A financial inheritance can be accurately assessed in dollars, but what is the value of an artistic heritage? " - Wynton Marsalis A 60 minute video of the lecture can also be watched from the bottom of this page. Marsalis starts approximately 10 minutes into the video. A transcript of his speech can be downloaded here. It is a tour de force amalgamation of musical history, culture, and the collective wisdom of our nation. But if you are impatient and look at nothing else, at the very least read the final page of the transcript. The message is stunning and transparent - nurturing passionate musical education and appreciation is important not merely because it trains today's children to be tomorrow's financial donors, but more importantly, music uniquely defines us as individuals and creates a shared culture, strengthens our interpersonal bonds, and creates a common history. That history transcends the culture of what we are and what we do by instead fostering a culture of who we are. The power of music, when taught with passion and shared with joy, goes far beyond the notes and rhythms. Paul Krawitz, M.D.