Thought-provoking documentary "Race to Nowhere," screened last week near my home, underscores how pressured many teens' lives have become, with expectations to excel in academics, athletics, arts & community service. Structured, longer-term service projects can be tough to commit to when there's so much more to juggle. That's why the second annual Generation Cures"Battle of the Bands" online music contest is so appealing. Teen musicians can do something they already do for -- gasp ;) -- fun, within a limited timeframe, and in the process raise money for Children's Hospital Boston.
Band members ages 13 to 20 are invited to post an original song on their own personalized fundraising web pages. The theme ("make it better") is loose enough for plenty of creativity. Once songs are posted, bands' family and friends can log in, vote for their favorite tunes, and support the cause with an online contribution. The winning band earns a recording session at the Real School of Music, plus their song will be featured on the Rock Band Network.
The contest -- kicked off in September by pop rockers We The Kings -- starts next month and wraps in January, so gentlemen (& ladies), start your amps.