Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

June 11, 2007

Contact: Contact: Mike Emery
713.743.8186 (office)
713.415.6551 (pager)


HOUSTON, June 11, 2007 – Music inspires creativity and enhances learning abilities. Soon, young Houstonians and their teachers will discover the difference music can make in the classroom thanks to the Lisa and Agbo Abiola Initiative in Music Education.

Houston’s Abiola family recently donated $25,000 to the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music (MSM) to fund this program that will provide music lessons at the UH Child Care Center (UHCCC), the Third Ward Head Start Program and Houston’s Challenge Early College High School. All lessons are coordinated and supervised by MSM’s Prepartory and Continuing Studies (PCS) department.

“We would like to help bring music to children who might not otherwise experience its beauty and joy,” said Lisa Abiola.

None of these institutions have music programs due to budgetary constraints. With assistance from the Abiola Initiative, PCS master teachers – many of whom are UH alumni – will provide twice-a-week lessons for children and students and will work with teachers to incorporate music into daily curriculum. Lessons will begin this fall.

“Music is a natural and enjoyable part of people’s everyday lives that helps them understand their world,” said Sherry Howard, UHCCC director. “It stimulates the brain with a combination of sound, rhythm and rhyme and involves lots of repetition, which strengthens the connections in one’s brain.”

Studies have reflected a correlation between musical study and academic achievements. Research also shows lower incidence of drug and alcohol use among students who have studied music.

“The Abiolas commitment to opening the minds of our young citizenry is truly inspiring,” said Jessica Smith, director of PCS. “Their vision combined with the university’s support is a sign of wonderful things to come.”

Lisa and Agbo Abiola reside in Houston and have three children. Agbo Abiola owns RCN Limited, an international communications company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.

PCS offers vocal and instrumental classes to the public each spring and fall. Classes are taught by MSM faculty and student instructors and are not part of UH’s curriculum. Class fees vary, and a schedule of courses can be accessed at or by calling 713-743-3398.

For more information on the Moores School of Music, visit or call 713-743-3009.

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at