Thanks to Erica Wells and Neighbor Newspapers for the opportunity to talk about The Gift of Music Foundation and for a great article in Wednesday’s paper!
The Gift of Music Foundation, an organization based in Buckhead, hopes to begin its music education awareness efforts on a high note.
The mission of the organization is to preserve the “gift of music,” educate the public about its benefits, ensure a lack of resources does not deter young musicians from participation in music programs and provide for a diverse and quality atmosphere in music programs.
The nonprofit, which launched May 15, hopes to raise $25,000 by the end of the year, said spokesman Scott Keefer. The organization’s goal is to support young musicians and music programs of all types with educational resources, fundraising, grants, instruments and scholarships.
The foundation will raise the money through crowdfunding, an option the organization will later provide for music programs to directly raise money online, Keefer said.
Executive Director Chris Monroe, of Marietta, and Keefer, of Smyrna, who both studied music education and come from radio broadcast backgrounds, started developing the foundation in January.
Keefer said he hopes the community will assist the foundation so it can begin to fund programs including independent musicians; choirs, choruses, and vocal groups; church music ministries; school music programs and other music groups.
He said he was concerned about where children would learn about music since programs are diminishing in schools.
“There’s a definite correlation between kids that study music and how well they do in a lot of other areas,” Keefer said. “There are so many things you learn in music program from the math and the subdivision on the music and the individual self-discipline and concentration. Also, how to perform in a group.” Young people who spend time in band and other music programs develop social skills, self-esteem, self-discipline and other life skills, he said.
“There are way too many kids out there that sometimes hit that crossroads where they have several choices of what path they’re going to take, and I want music to be one of those things that at least gives them a tool in their arsenal to help them get ready for the world,” Keefer said.
Teachers have asked for instruments and other resources, which students could not afford to purchase, especially families that are not considered low-income but also are not affluent, Monroe said.
“Handing a kid an instrument or presenting a band or music program with a check — I just get chills thinking about it. Being able to make an impact on somebody’s life like that is what drives this whole foundation,” Monroe said.
Less money is being allocated to music and fine arts programs, which leaves students and their families left to cover increasing costs, Monroe said. The organization hopes to spread awareness of how much of a presence music has in everyone’s life, Keefer said.
“Imagine a military funeral with nobody playing ‘Taps,’” he said. “It takes out so much of the power and emotion from our life when music is not there, and that’s the kind of message that we want to send. I think people take [music] for granted sometimes.”
Monroe said the organization will start in Atlanta and hopes to later expand across the country. He said the organization will determine qualifications for programs to receive assistance, which the foundation will provide as resources become available. It accepts donations of instruments, money, time and resources and volunteers to help spread awareness.
The organization plans to host a golf tournament and benefit concerts this fall and offer master classes at local schools. In the future it hopes to offer private lessons exchanges, provide instrument repair resource and create a network of street musicians.