Music4Life brings instruments to school districts

The program takes gently used instruments and repairs them for classroom use in different school districts in King County.

Music changed David Endicott’s life.

When he was 10, he remembers his life heading in a bad direction. If it weren’t for his sixth grade music teacher, Emory Nordness, he believes his life would have taken a completely different direction.

“I asked myself, ‘How can I say thank you for what [Mr. Nordness] did for me?’ ”

So Music4Life was born. Endicott helped found the program 12 years ago as a way to repay what his teacher did for him.

The purpose of the organization is to repair old musical instruments for local school districts to fill their music classrooms.

These instruments can range anywhere from the recorders that every fourth grader learns how to play to grand pianos and more professional equipment for the high school-level classes.

This organization accepts and repairs instruments year-round, but Endicott said they’re promoting the month of May as Music4Life month in an effort to prepare music classrooms in schools for the start of the new school year this fall.

Stefan Nelson, the Music4Life representative for Highline Public Schools, appreciates the opportunity this organization gives to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have access to musical instruments.

“There is always a need,” Nelson said. “We look for ways to serve the needs of our students.”

Nelson said Highline Public Schools alone has probably been given over 1,000 instruments through Music4Life, along with donating recorders for fourth graders each year.

Since they joined the organization, Highline Public Schools has been given instruments ranging from grand pianos to traditional wind and band instruments, Nelson said.

The program is holding the month-long effort to help them acquire as many lovingly used instruments as possible, which the program will repair and then distribute to nine school districts in King County for students in need.

“Summer is when we have to focus on getting used musical instruments repaired and ready-to-play so that students this fall can start to use them as soon as they are enrolled in school,” Endicott noted.

According to a May 8 press release, proclamations declaring city support for the Music4Life initiative have been enacted by Des Moines, Lake Forest Park, Kent and Shoreline in King County and by Edmonds, Everett and Mill Creek in Snohomish County.

Providing instruments to grade school students is important to Endicott to help growth and development at a young age.

“The reason this is so important is because research shows that students who participate in instrumental music programs do better in math, science, history, literature, computer science, international languages, reading, writing and other academic disciplines,” Endicott said. “This is in addition to what they learn in terms of teamwork and self-discipline.”

Endicott said Music4Life is as much an education program as it is a musical instrument one.

According to the release, one recent national report found that half of all public school students are from income-eligible families that qualify for participation in the free-and-reduced lunch program. The Puget Sound area is no exception.

“Our hope is that adults who know of Music4Life will donate their musical instruments to us now so we can get them repaired over the summertime,” Endicott said. “An instrument donor form that must accompany the instrument is available for downloading on our website.”

Helping out

Anyone is welcome to donate any gently used instruments. More information on how to donate instruments can be found at www.music4life.org.


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