Music4Life reports delivering 258 full-sized ready-to-play musical instruments during the 2022-23 school year to its 11 participating public school districts. The instruments are free-of-charge and intended for use by the students of families in-need.
Also provided were 1,375 recorders (the little flute-like instrument that sticks straight out of the mouth) for use by third- and fourth-graders in the Link-Up program with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. The youngsters get their recorders in the fall, learn to play them and are then invited to Benaroya Hall to play the instruments with the Seattle Symphony.
“The total value of instruments provided is $126,923 as determined by our independent vendor/repair experts,” says Music4Life C-Founder & CEO David Endicott. “Need” is often demonstrated by a family’s participation in free-or- reduced lunch programs and determined at the teacher level, he adds.
Research shows that students who participate in school 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.
“But for those who do and whose families cannot afford a musical instrument,” Endicott says, “they are effectively barred from getting the full basic education guaranteed to them by the Washington State Constitution. And the sad fact is that, in today’s pandemic-recovering 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.”
During this fiscal school year, Music4Life delivered ready-to-play musical instruments to Auburn, Bremerton, Edmonds, Everett, Highline, Kent, Marysville, Northshore, Riverview, Seattle and Shoreline Public Schools. Several new public school districts are being considered and others are welcome to apply. It is sponsored by Rotary clubs and other community service organizations, corporations, foundations, government agencies and individual donors.
Ready-to-play musical instruments are provided to qualified students in these as long as they stay enrolled in that public school district. “We figure that the more they use the instruments, the better they’ll get,” Endicott says. “If they leave the school district for any reason, such as graduation or the family moves, the instrument needs to be returned to the school district so another student of a family in-need can benefit from its use.” Each instrument has a remaining useful life of three-to-15 years, meaning that multiple students may benefit from its use.
“Local enthusiasts who share our values of service to ‘kids,’ ‘instrumental music’ or ‘education’ are welcome to join one of our local Chapters,” Endicott says.