Music4Life™ Program coming to Edmonds School District

MyNNNA new community initiative will expand instrumental music education for children in the Edmonds School District, making it the fourth such program in the area to do so.

The “Edmonds Music4Life program” will acquire musical instruments and supplies for eligible elementary students.

“Our goal is to provide every student in the district an opportunity to play a musical instrument, if they want to, regardless of their ability to afford it,” said Dr. Nick Brossoit, Superintendent of Edmonds Public Schools. “We do this at a time of financial challenge because research shows that students who study instrumental music do better in math, science, history, languages and many other desirable academic disciplines.”

“Music4Life is a great example of how the community is partnering with schools to support our students,” said Edmonds educator Scott Barnes, Manager of Visual and Performing Arts and President-Elect of the Washington Music Educators Association. “We are grateful to area Rotary clubs for initiating this project. Many children who cannot afford an instrument will now have the opportunity to participate in band and orchestra. That’s especially important in the Edmonds School District where the needs of students and families continue to grow.”

Edmonds Music4Life is a community service activity that is Rotary-inspired, but you don’t have to be a member of a Rotary club to support it, said David Endicott of Music4Life. “We’re very glad to have the support of anyone who understands the immense value of instrumental music in a child’s life.” He says musical instruments are acquired for Edmonds Schools in two ways.

“Many adults no longer play musical instruments that are gathering dust in their attics and garages,” he says. “We gratefully accept those ‘lovingly used’ instruments, repair them as needed and then donate them absolutely free of charge or lend them on a long-term basis to Edmonds Schools.” Used musical instruments can be dropped-off at any Kennelly Keys Music store or at one of several conveniently located sites being identified.

“If resources allow, we can also buy new musical instruments that the Edmonds band and orchestra directors tell us they need for eligible young musicians.” Donations help take care of musical supplies and repairs. Endicott says monetary donations can be made via PayPal accounts or by visiting the website.

Edmonds Music4Life begins by providing musical instruments to fifth graders who qualify for the free- and reduced-lunch program. “In special circumstances, we can provide instruments to older children, as well,” Endicott said. “Our goal is to enable as many young people to take advantage of these instrumental music opportunities as possible.”

“We know that there are students interested in instrumental music but don’t have the resources to acquire an instrument,” said Ann McMurray, President of the Board of Edmonds Public Schools. “As a matter of equity, we need to increase the availability of instruments to all of our students, especially for our schools in high poverty areas. With enough new or used instruments, we can increase elementary instrumental music participation significantly.”

Currently, 40 percent of students in Edmonds Public Schools who participate in instrumental music programs are income-eligible. The Edmonds Music4Life™ initiative intends to begin by helping as many of those as possible.

Rotary has a history of supporting music education in area public schools. The Edmonds Music4Life program is the fourth in the area. Other Music4Life programs support the Seattle, Highline and Shoreline school systems. Music4Life enjoys the support of notable music advocates and other community leaders.

Gerard Schwarz, world-renowned conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, 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.”

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