Non-profit Music4Life this week announced that it set a new record of 334 musical instruments provided during the past year to local public school districts for use by students qualifying for free meals.  The old record was 311 instruments provided during the 2017-18 school year. 

The organization’s fiscal year ended Aug. 31.

Music4Life provides donated and repaired musical instruments to public school districts for use by students in need.  The Seattle-based non-profit acquires instruments from adults who no longer need them and decide that that their highest and best use is to put them back into play. Music4Life operates programs supporting Auburn (44 instruments valued at $17,200), Bremerton (11 at $6,375), Edmonds (4 at $1,050), Everett (100 at $36,723), Highline (77 at $50,157), Kent (29 at $9,925), Northshore (35 at $11,250) and Shoreline Public Schools (34 at $13,685).  Numerous instruments are being held for delivery this year to Seattle P.S.  Instrument values are delivered on the basis of the relative fund raising productivity of booster clubs supporting each school district-based program.  Music4Life also accepts donations to help pay for instrument repairs.

“We were able to burst through the old record in June,” David Endicott, Music4Life Co-Founder and President, said.  “The 334 instruments had a fair market value of $157,221 that included another 1,788 recorders provided to Highline and Everett students.”

Endicott says that fair market value is determined by independent vendor/experts that include Kennelly Keys Music, Ted Brown Music and others.

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 said, “this effectively bars them from getting the full basic education guaranteed them by the Washington State Constitution.  And the sad fact is that, in today’s economy, many families cannot even afford to rent a musical instrument.  So Music4Life is just as much an equal opportunity program as it is an instrumental music program.”

Ready-to-play musical instruments are provided to these school districts for use by students in any musical activity they choose, as long as they stay enrolled in that public school district.

“We figure that the more they use them, the better they’ll get,” Endicott said. “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 can benefit from its use.”

Music4Life gets instrument donations from adults who have them stored in their garages, closets or attics.  The Music4Life Donor Form must accompany the instrument.  Music4Life was created a dozen years ago in memory of Endicott’s boyhood band director, Emory O. “Nordy” Nordness, in Viroqua, Wisconsin.

Music4Life enjoys the support of notable music advocates and other community leaders.  Gerard Schwarz, world-renowned conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, has 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.”

Music4Life™ is supported in part by grants from 4Culture (formerly the Seattle-King County Arts Commission); the Auburn, Everett, Highline, Kent and Northshore Schools Foundations; Windermere Real Estate; the Knossos Foundation; the Hazel Miller Foundation; various local Rotary, Kiwanis & other service clubs; the Community Foundation of Snohomish County; Kirkland’s Lime Restaurant; Tito’s Handmade Vodka;  as well as by the law firm of Garvey Schubert Barer; Seattle Symphony Orchestra; the Seattle Folklife Festival; Rafael Carrabba Violins; Lamar Advertising; Encore Media Group; 98.1 Classical KING-FM; KNKX Radio; GMA Research; Cascade Symphony Orchestra; the Washington State Blues Society; Randy Oxford Entertainment; the Stacy Jones Band; the Edmonds Center for the Arts; Kennelly Keys Music stores; Hammond Ashley Violins in Issaquah; Ted Brown Music; and others.

Music4Life™ provides ready-to-play musical instruments to participating public school districts for use by students in need.  Participating school districts include Auburn, Bremerton, Edmonds, Everett, Highline, Kent, Northshore, Seattle and Shoreline public school districts.  A community-wide activity, participants are local leaders who understand the unique role that participation in instrumental music has on the life and education of a child. For more information or to donate an instrument to Music4Life, contact [email protected] or go to our Website at www.Music4Life.org. Instrument donation forms are required and available online, as well as at designated instrument drop-off sites.