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The Double Dream Hands Phenomena

By Donna Letterese

Youtube is a site with millions of hits per day, with videos often becoming overnight sensations. John Jacobson's video, "Double Dream Hands," recently took on a Youtube life of its own. Yet, Jacobson isn't concerned with Internet fame. His goals are to teach children to reach for their dreams, and to teach everyone the importance of arts education - no matter how they're introduced to it.

John Jacobson

After growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, under music-teacher parents, Jacobson and all of his ten siblings went on to be educators. A music major who thought he would start out teaching, Jacobson first worked in professional entertainment for close to a decade. Ultimately, he combined his entertainment and teaching know-how to create his own brand of music education.

"I've always lived my life seeing what a need is, and trying to fill it," Jacobson explains. Since music education is frequently jeopardized, he wanted to create something accessible to keep children excited about the subject. Fortunately, through his freelance work with Hal Leonard, this dream became a reality. "I write five to six musicals a year for them. They're wonderful! They're the biggest print music publisher in the world," Jacobson elaborates. Ultimately, through a collaborative effort, Music Express Magazine was born: an affordable periodic publication read by over 3,000,000 students, which supplements what they learn in the classroom.

Another issue Jacobson works to combat is America's childhood obesity problem. His dance/fitness program is called "Jump." After teachers learn the songs from Music Express Magazine, they proceed to Jacobson's website for accompanying instructional dance videos. The idea behind setting these exercises to music is actually to make them easier to learn. "When you learn the alphabet through music, you don't forget it," Jacobson points out. "There's no reason fitness can't be the same."

Last December, one student from Washington State was so entertained by the "Double Dream Hands" video; he set it "Planet Rock" and posted it on Youtube. At 2.1 million hits, it's become a viral sensation. It's surprisingly popular with adults, and has even inspired parodies that Jacobson finds hilarious- particularly the Bollywood version. "I look ridiculous doing it!" he laughs. "But it shows I'm into what I'm doing. If I look a little silly, big deal!"

If it seems like Jacobson could easily be a fan of the hit show "Glee," that would be correct- and not simply because there is an active campaign to get him a cameo. Jacobson loves that the show encourages kids to be themselves. In addition, "Glee's" popularity has made it possible for kids who perform to not feel shy about it. " 'Glee' shows that the place you belong is in the Glee Club," he smiles. "And not just literally. No matter who you are, you legitimately belong somewhere in the choir of humankind." Jacobson also appreciates the show demonstrating how diligently the students practice their craft, as he believes practice is the best way to improve. He states that he would love to watch "Glee Junior:" the same show, yet with subject matters appropriate for elementary school children.

Jacobson hopes that his forays into the spotlight can serve a larger purpose. He recently appeared on the Ellen Show. He would also love to appear on "Glee," if offered. Yet, his ultimate goal is simply to spread the word. Jacobson's own "Double Dream" is to have a platform to promote how much can be taught, and learned, from the arts: "As an adult in arts education, I want to put my money where my mouth is. I hope people learn to keep dancing and singing- it's good for you, and it makes the world a better place."

For more information on John Jacobson and the "Double Dream Hands" video, please go to:

For information on subscribing to Music Express magazine, please go to:
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