When kids learn to play an instrument or sing, they are learning more than music. Research has demonstrated that children who study music often have improved self-esteem, perform better in an academic sense and increase their IQ.
Unfortunately, music programs frequently are the first to be reduced or discontinued in school districts where budgets are tight. Priority is given to subjects like math, science and English while the arts are considered an unnecessary extra.
Time and again, students suffer for lack of access to an adequately funded music education program. Perhaps instruction is not available or the student's parents cannot afford to purchase or rent an instrument. Wherever the lack exists, it creates a series of missed opportunities that may be impossible to make up elsewhere.
The good news is that there are numerous organizations out there that are dedicated to ensuring that all students have access to a quality music education. A particular emphasis is placed on underserved communities with low-income families, providing opportunities where once none existed.
These are just five of those outstanding organizations:
Working under the motto "Every Child Deserves Music," the Save the Music organization has been making a positive impact on students' lives since 1997. John Sykes, an MTV executive, established the program after he served as principal for a day at a Brooklyn school. In that one-day experience, Sykes discovered that the school's music program was seriously endangered. Even worse, he then learned that the situation at that school was not unique.
Sykes and a dedicated team launched numerous programs aimed at bringing music education to kids across the country. To date, Save the Music has assisted with the establishment of music programs in 2,000 schools, which means that millions of children have benefited from music education.
Save the Music operates a series of grants that are designed for specific academic levels. Pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students may benefit from an Intro to Music Grant that provides $22,000-worth of resources and instruments. For grades three through eight, teachers may apply for a Save the Music Core Grant worth approximately $61,000. Equipment such as instruments, music stands, method books and more may be included.
At the high school level, it's possible to apply for the J. Dilla Music Tech Grant so that students may learn how 21st-century technology is shaping the world of music.
Save the Music also advocates for music education and provides teacher resources.
This association is one of the biggest arts education organizations in the world. With advocacy at the community, state and national levels, the NAfME is instrumental in bringing music education to children. They have been doing so since 1907 by ensuring access to comprehensive music instruction that is provided by well-qualified teachers.
Just one of the things that NAfME does is to facilitate Title IV-A Block Grants. These grants also are called Student Support and Academic Enrichment, or SSAE, grants. It's a portion of the Every Student Succeeds Act, a law that offers extra funds to school districts where they are needed most.
For the last three years, more than $31 million has been directed toward music learning. The funding makes instruction programs possible, provides instruments to students and ensures that students receive a complete and well-rounded education.
The application process for a Title IV-A Block Grant is surprisingly easy and straightforward, making this an excellent opportunity for school districts.
A non-profit organization, the D'Addario Foundation focuses its efforts on identifying music instruction programs in need. Qualifying programs are awarded grants and provided with product donations to sustain them and help them to grow.
The D'Addario Foundation firmly believes that music instruction has the power to enhance a student's academic performance, improve their self-confidence and empower them to be more creative than ever before. Their conviction that music education makes better citizens keeps them dedicated to supporting music education at every level.
Organizations that have received assistance from the D'Addario Foundation include A Child's Song, 240 Strings, the Allegro Charter School of Music, the Harmony Project and the Young Musician Initiative.
In addition to grants, it's also possible to apply for the College Scholarship Fund. The D'Addario Foundation also directs a Music Education for Girls Initiative that provides funding for experiences and learning opportunities that are designed to nurture and motivate girls on their unique musical journeys.
When the Hollywood film Mr. Holland's Opus debuted in 1995, no one could have predicted that it would one day inspire a powerful force for good in music education. The film told the story of a dedicated music education instructor and the impact that he had on generations of students.
Michael Kamen supplied the film's score, and this influenced him to establish The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation in 1996. Mr. Kamen passed away before the foundation was fully functional, but a collection of dedicated professionals ensures every day that his dream keeps going.
The main goal of the foundation is to donate high-quality, reliable instruments to students who are learning in underfunded music programs. Also provided is an array of support services that help to maintain and improve quality and access to music education. This is accomplished by identifying schools that need support and what kinds of support will best serve the needs of the students.
Schools in low-income communities receive prioritized consideration for all instrument donations and support services.
The charitable division of the Renaissance Music Academy in Henderson, Nevada, the Classical Music Education Foundation was founded by an individual named Lilith Aryan in 2010. Ms. Aryan held a deep conviction that classical music had the ability to influence the direction of peoples' lives. Her belief that all children should have access to music education now makes it possible for underprivileged kids to receive one-on-one instruction in voice, music theory, guitar, cello, violin and piano.
Training at this prestigious school could be a gateway to a career in music or an opportunity for a deserving child to reach his or her full potential.