Research shows that active music making is linked to better language and math ability, improved school grades, higher test scores, and better-adjusted social behaviour. Yet music programs in some of the smaller public schools (and elsewhere) are in jeopardy. With schools’ ongoing budget restrictions, and academic priorities, there are often only minimal resources available for music programs. Many students from low-income families will have no access to musical instruments and will not realise the proven benefits of music making.
What can be done?
Many of the difficulties faced by schools can be readily overcome by the provision of inexpensive music instruments. Under this, or similar instrument recycling schemes, instruments will be made available to needy schools and their students for only a fraction of the market value of similar second hand instruments. Low cost rental or loan schemes may also be implemented.
Beware cheap Asian instruments such as those found on eBay. These are often of very poor quality and not recommended.
I have been focusing my attention on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. If you are from another locality there may be someone close to you doing similar work, however, I would still welcome both your donations or calls for musical help. I would like to think that at some time in the not too distant future this and similar schemes will be available in many places.
Brass and wind instruments of all types, percussion, electronic keyboards, guitars (electric & acoustic), even instrument amplifiers and related equipment are just some of the things which may be of use. Almost anything of a musical nature may be musically recyclable. For practical reasons, very large or heavy instruments such as acoustic pianos are beyond my ability to deal with.
I would also suggest, somewhat surprisingly no doubt, that any quality working instruments be donated directly to a school. Alternatively they could be sold and the funds donated to your local P & C association. I am of course only too happy to provide suggestions as to possible recipients of your generosity.
What happens to donations?
Although records will be kept, any instruments received will be the scheme’s property until repaired and passed on to a good home. Some instruments will be just used for parts. It is even possible that occasionally a higher quality instrument is sold on to subsidise the scheme. In all cases the only costs involved are for parts and material - all labour is donated by me.
I am an individual, not an organisation or company who has two children who play music. After having restored (recycled) and serviced a number of instruments for my family's use it seemed worthwhile to allow those same skills to be put to a far broader and rewarding use.
The scheme is non-profit and I gain nothing financially. In terms of personal satisfaction, however I gain a great deal.