SEATTLE, Washington Music4Life is adding its 12th chapter serving the students of families in-need who attend the Lake Washington School District. Students receive ready-to-play musical instruments at no charge to the school district.

The Seattle-based non-profit acquires instruments from adults who no longer need them and decide that their highest and best use is to put them back into play. The Music4Life Donor Form must accompany the instrument. Music4Life started in 2007 by providing ready-to-play musical instruments to Seattle Public Schools. Since then, chapters have been added for Highline, Shoreline, Edmonds, Everett, Northshore, Bremerton, Auburn, Kent, Marysville, Riverview and now Lake Washington public school districts.

Dr. Gary Cohn, president of the Rotary Club of Kirkland, initiated the new chapter after having started a Music4Life program that is still serving Everett Public Schools. “Music4Life is a wonderful gift in our schools, especially those with larger numbers of students of poverty,” says the former Everett superintendent. “The program provides yet another support for students and contributes to reducing barriers to accessing music programs that serve students in school and for the rest of their lives.”

Prof. Jocelyn Reiter Ellison of the Rotary Club of Kirkland serves as the chapter’s founding president and notes that, “As a former music teacher and professional musician, I am especially excited to be chairing Music4Life's twelfth school district program.” Ellison is Professor Emerita from the University of Arizona where she was Director of Graduate Studies in Music.

Research shows that students who participate in school-based instrumental music activities do better in math, science, history, literature, international languages, reading and writing, even in computer science, in addition to what it teaches in terms of teamwork and self-discipline. “Not all children want to participate in instrumental music activities, of course,” says Co-Founder/CEO David Endicott. “But for those who do and whose families cannot afford a musical instrument, they are effectively barred from getting the full basic education guaranteed by the Washington Constitution. And the sad fact is that, even in today’s post-pandemic economy, many families cannot even afford to rent a musical instrument. So Music4Life is just as much an education program as it is an instrumental music program.”