Encore is our flagship program, giving youth opportunities to put musical instruments back on stage.
The program involves an easy 3 step process:
- Collect Instruments
- Refurbish Instruments
- Award Instruments
The first step requires us to collect instruments. The majority of our instruments are donated by individuals who no longer play them or have switched to a different instrument. Often the instruments are abandoned in closets or garages. It is also the case that many former band students after graduating from high school or college drift away from music, leaving their instruments to gather dust.
Our goal is to get these forgotten instruments playing music again. We feel the best way to do this is to put them into the hands of youth who do not otherwise have access to instruments. And that is our priority—to connect these abandoned instruments with children and teens that would love to have the opportunity to learn an instrument. Sometimes we find underfunded school band programs to award instruments, and other times we provide them to youth directly.
Involvement with music from an early age positively impacts youth with lasting social, academic, and confidence boosting effects. Research consistently shows that learning an instrument and playing music is very important in the development of the mind, and can significantly improve a child's learning, memory, and social abilities. Those who take up instruments perform better in school, are less likely to get involved in harmful activities, learn a skill that benefits both them and others around them, and have fun in the process!1
Greater society also benefits from creating more music opportunities for at-risk youth. A California study concluded that "implementing strong arts programs for 'at-risk' youth 4th through 12th graders, the state can recover one and a half times its investment through savings to the criminal justice system and increased tax revenue."2 Even on a smaller scale, spreading access to music is win-win!
ALL children should have access to such a powerful activity!
More often than not, when a locality has to cut school programs, music programs are among the first to go. Our organization aims to increase access to musical instruments so that all children who want to participate in music programs are afforded that opportunity. We also want to see that school music programs have the instruments they need—it is sad to see children having to sit out for half a class because they must share an instrument. Music is a gift that keeps on giving, and we want to ensure it's a gift for everyone to unwrap!
Because it is important to us that instruments do not sit unused, recipients who no longer actively use a provided instrument are required to return the instrument so that we can re-distribute it to other youth so that the music can live on.
» Have an instrument to donate? Learn more about donating an instrument.
» Know someone who wants an instrument? Learn more about applying for an instrument.
1How Music Affects Us and Promotes Health. eMedExpert.com, 2007. Web. 08 September 2010 <http://www.emedexpert.com/tips/music.shtml>.
2Silbert, Tony and Lawana Welch. "A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Arts Education for At-Risk Youth." MA thesis. University of Southern California, 2001.
Another aim of ours is to use music to improve other areas of the community and help out fellow organizations.
We assist other non-profit organizations with their fundraising activities, helping with live entertainment and sound set-ups. Many of our volunteers also take an active role in their local music and arts communities to keep music strong and vibrant into the future. You can even occasionally spot us performing on the street to entertain people passing by.
In the future we hope to expand our programs to involve more communities and more people within each community. A program we operated for a short time before our hiatus, and one we hope to implement again, was "Songs for Seniors". For this program we organized music events at senior living facilities.
It is our belief that music brings people together—it is difficult to find where this is not the case. Despite our differences, music is an awesome force of good within each and every community. Let's all work to fill the world with music!