May is “Music4Life Month” say County Executives Dow Constantine and Dave Somers, as well as the mayors and city councils of several cities in King and Snohomish Counties.
Music4Life the Seattle-based non-profit that acquires “lovingly used” musical instruments from adults who no longer need them, gets them repaired and then provides them to participating public school districts for use by elementary-aged students of low income families. Besides Seattle Public Schools, Music4Life also operates programs supporting Bremerton, Edmonds, Everett, Highline, Mukilteo, Northshore and Shoreline Public Schools. The program acquires used instruments from adults who understand that their highest and best use is to put them back into play. With adequate resources, Music4Life also buys new musical instruments for school districts.
“Summer is when we have to focus on getting used musical instruments repaired and ready-to-play so that students this fall can start to use them as soon as they are enrolled in school,” says David Endicott, co-founder and president of Music4Life. “We’re very grateful to Dow Constantine, Dave Somers and the mayors of our participating communities for their support in drawing attention to this critical educational need.”
Proclamations declaring city support for the Music4Life initiative have been enacted by Burien, Des Moines, Shoreline in King County and by Edmonds, Everett and Mill Creek in Snohomish County. Endicott expressed thanks to the mayors and city councils of those communities for supporting the initiative.
“The reason this is so important is because research shows that students who participate in instrumental music programs tend to do better in math, science, history, literature, computer science, international languages, reading, writing and other academic disciplines,” Endicott says. “This is in addition to what they learn in terms of teamwork and self-discipline.
“All this is true, unless their parents can’t afford to get them a musical instrument in the first place. And in today’s economy, many parents can’t afford to rent a musical instrument. To this extent, Music4Life is just as much an ‘education program’ as it is a ‘music program.’”
One recent national report found that half of all public school students are from income-eligible families that qualify for participation in the Free-and-Reduced-Lunch program. The Puget Sound area is no exception.
“Our hope is that adults who know of Music4Life will donate their musical instruments to us now so we can get them repaired over the summertime,” Endicott says. “An instrument Donor Form that must accompany the instrument is available for downloading on our website.”
Music4Life enjoys the support of notable music advocates and other community leaders. Gerard Schwarz, world-renowned conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, has endorsed the program, saying, “This wonderful program begins with children in elementary school at a time when, if they’re interested and talented in any way, they have the greatest chance of success. Many people tell me of the impact that direct knowledge of instrumental music has had on their lives. We intend to give this advantage to all our children.”
Music4Life is supported in part by grants from the Hazel Miller Foundation, First Choice Health; 4Culture (formerly the Seattle-King County Arts Commission); the Knossos Foundation; various local Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs; the Highline and Northshore Schools Foundations; as well as by the law firm of Garvey Schubert Barer; Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Cascade Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonds Center for the Arts, Kennelly Keys Music stores, Ted Brown Music, Hammond Ashley Violins in Issaquah, the Guitar Center stores and others.