Happy 2019, everybody. This year promises to be a special one for me, as my 30th birthday is coming up next week.

Aging is a strange phenomenon. Supposedly, most cells in our bodies are replaced and/or killed off roughly every seven years, so other than my cerebral cortex and some of my heart cells, there’s not much of me that is actually 30 years old. Memories are stranger. As good as my memory is, I’ve certainly forgotten more than I’ve retained, and I’m sure at least two-thirds of the things I think I remember have been distorted by the lens of emotion – that is, if they aren’t completely fictional. Stranger still: the culture of aging as a female. A subtextual sense that I ought to be transitioning into a sort of full moon-mother-goddess phase of life, clattering against other messages that I should eat this or buy that or do thus to project an illusion of eternal maidenhood.

Strangeness aside, I’ve always enjoyed birthdays, and not just the parties-and-presents part. As a kid, I likened it to leveling up in a video game. Surely as I got older and more experienced, people would take me more seriously. I’m still waiting for that to happen, but in the meantime, I’m happy to have made it another lap around the sun.

For the past few weeks I hemmed and hawed about hosting a fancy dinner party, or a concert or karaoke jam of some kind. But with my friends and family spread thin at various edges of the continent, nothing seemed quite right. So instead, I’ll be playing my usual Monday night piano stream on YouNow, and I’m asking for donations to VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is dedicated to helping kids, schools, and communities realize their full potential through the power of making music. Their goal is to give literally every child in America access to a musical instrument. Qualifying schools receive a grant and support to bring intro to music, band, strings, mariachi, or music technology programs to their curriculum.

I didn’t come from a musical family, so it was a great blessing for me to grow up with a good music program in my public school, great lessons outside of school, and parents who supported me even when my desire to pursue music had them raising their eyebrows. Those experiences are what helped me become the musician and human I am today. And I believe the best way to express my gratitude is to pay it forward, helping the next generation discover the wonders of making music.

If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll consider contributing here. It would mean so much to me, and I know it will mean the world to those kids who are struggling to find themselves through song. Like I was, and still am, all these years later. KM