NAMM Members Join Forces to Overhaul Middle School Band Instruments
One of the more unique features of our industry is the frequency of manufacturers and retailers to rally around a cause that creates more music makers.
In this case, NAMM Members Conn-Selmer, Yamaha, Music & Arts, Needham Music, and Live Music Tutor have joined forces to resurrect the instruments in a D.C. middle school band program.
Charles Hart Middle School is part of the District of Columbia Public Schools and is classified as a Title I school. Hart Middle and other Title I schools are identified as having “high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families,” and receive funding from the federal government “to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.” Earlier this year at the 2019 NAMM Music Education Advocacy D.C. Fly-In’s Day of Service, it was discovered that out of over 100 brass and woodwind instruments, only one was in playable condition.
A longtime supporter of NAMM and Fly-In participant, Live Music Tutor, stepped in after their Day of Service experience to continue to support the students at Hart Middle School. President and Co-Founder Ted Gee commented, "Providing access to music and all of its benefits to all students, regardless of circumstances is a must in achieving a well-rounded education. The correlation between math and science is undeniable, and the creativity that music provides creates harmony like no other." Live Music Tutor offered the school their proprietary technology and over 3,000 vetted music instructors, many of who are college professors, to strengthen the band program.
Since this initial assessment, The NAMM Foundation has been working with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) music supervisor, the district repair shop, the school-site administrators, the music teacher, and NAMM Member companies to refurbish enough of these instruments in order for the school to start up a 50-piece Southern style marching band.
For another NAMM Member, Yamaha, it was imperative to get involved in making sure that the children of Hart had instruments in playable condition. David Jewell, Yamaha’s partnerships and alliances manager, stated, “The Day of Service during the NAMM Fly-In personally connects each of us to the true purpose of our advocacy in D.C. Seeing firsthand the kids at Hart Middle School playing on inferior instruments strengthens Yamaha’s resolve and commitment to music education, with all of our employees working to ensure that every child is afforded an opportunity to play on a quality instrument.”
Another NAMM Member involved in the project is Conn-Selmer who helped assess instruments during the Day of Service at Hart. Mike Kamphuis, Conn-Selmer’s managing director from their education division has been involved with NAMM Fly-Ins for many years and reflected on the 2019 Day of Service at Hart. “I was afforded the opportunity to help lead a team of a dozen NAMM Members to assess the inventory and create an overall plan to see how we could make more instruments accessible to the students. We are now at a point where Conn-Selmer, along with other NAMM Member companies, are helping with the repairs of instruments through monetary donations or helping with the actual repairs. Charles Hart will now be in a better place with their instrumental music program because of the efforts of many during the day of service. I look forward to returning to Washington DC in 2020 and locking arms with other NAMM Members in support of music education."
Ron Manus of Alfred Music commented on getting involved with the project saying, "We were so moved by the hard work and passion of the administration, teachers, and students at Hart Middle School that we felt compelled to get involved. Having music as a core part of a well-rounded education has proven to improve test scores, raise attendance and increase graduation rates. At Alfred Music our mission is to help the world experience the joy of making music, so getting our Sound Innovations books into the hands of students beginning their journey into a lifetime of music just made sense."
For more information about the NAMM Foundation’s Day of Service, please visit https://www.nammfoundation.org/projects/namm-foundation-day-service.