In May 2018, Sound United launched the Sound Start Foundation, with an ambitious goal to donate 10,000 instruments to children worldwide by the 2020-2021 school year. In the first few months of this partnership, the Sound Start foundation and Save The Music delivered targeted services and instruments to seven schools across the country, impacting schools in the Anaheim Elementary School District (AESD), CA, Chula Vista Elementary School District, CA, Vista Unified School District, CA and Paterson Public Schools, NJ. We recently spent some time traveling with them from coast to coast to see the impact they’ve made so far!
Our first stop was Stoddard Elementary to celebrate the rebuild of music education in AESD.
Back in 2015, we set out to jumpstart 23 schools that had insufficient or nonexistent music programs. In just three short years, STM has successfully restored music in 12 out of the 23 schools—and the results have been remarkable so far. Every 5th and 6th grader at all STM grantee schools in AESD currently plays an instrument. What a remarkable accomplishment!
Most recently, three schools received Core Band Grants from STM this fall: Paul Revere Elementary, Ponderosa Elementary and Stoddard Elementary, where the celebration took place. The event featured exciting performances and moving testimonials by students about how music has made an impact in their lives. For many, not only did they improve in other subjects in school but learning an instrument has also increased their self-confidence. It gives them a chance to collaborate with their peers and is something for them to look forward to when they come to school every day.
This would not have been possible without the generous support from Sound Start and the Henry W. and Ellen R. Warne Family Endowment Fund at the Orange County Community Foundation. We are so appreciative of their kindness and dedication to music education!
Check out this mini-documentary created by the AESD Digital Media Services team! This video is a great example of our community and partnership-driven work.
Next, we headed to Grapevine Elementary in Vista, CA where Sound Start donated an Intro To Music Grant. We were fortunate to be joined by some of Sound United’s senior leaders including their CEO, Kevin Duffy. Kevin shared a personal story about his connection to music, having been influenced by his grandfather at a young age.
Led by the wonderful music teacher, Susan Tuber, students played on Orff instruments, boomwhackers and drums. These are instruments that many students start off on their musical journey to learn the very basics and foundations of music such as rhythm.
Sound Start guests and Superintendent Kimble then joined in! Some employees were on the xlyophones while others had their hand on the boomwhackers. What is for certain is that all had fun learning a new instrument and playing alongside the students!
We then presented with Sound Start at MARVEL (Music and Arts Resurgence in Vista Extends Learning). Hosted by the NAMM Foundation and the Museum of Making Music, community arts partners came together to celebrate the work being done in Vista USD for music education and further build momentum. It was a great coalition of people with similar interests meeting to collectively work together towards a common cause!
We ended 2018 in Paterson, NJ. The Academy of Fine & Performing Arts/School 24 had been a beacon of music in the community as the only school in the area with a band program. As a role model for the town, they prided themselves on their excellent music program. Earlier this year, the building experienced devastating water damage, which destroyed their instruments. The community was absolutely disheartened because of the progress they had made just beforehand. Fortunately, Save The Music was able to step in and help rebuild their music program. With the help of Sound Start, we were able to replace what was lost by providing a Core Band Grant. To celebrate, we joined students at their Winter Showcase. Students performed classic holiday songs on their brand new instruments all of which was possible because of Sound Start’s incredible support!
By fall 2019, Sound Start and Save The Music will reach 19 more schools, demonstrating the shared commitment to delivering 10,000 instruments to public school students by the 2020-2021 school year.