Trading Out Tunes
“Being a musician has changed me profoundly as a person,” said Jamestown High School senior Asha DeHarder who is a member of the JHS Concert Band, A Cappella and the student representative on the Jamestown PROMISE Fund Advisory Board. Asha plays French horn, which she started in the fifth grade at Washington Middle School. “Beyond the songs and the notes — music teaches you to have strong character and responsibility.”
Asha is just one of the hundreds of Jamestown Public School students who have benefited from the district’s wonderful music programs. Our bands, orchestra and choruses are known, not only locally, but also nationally and internationally. Tight budget years did not allow for the regular maintenance and repair of instruments, or the routine addition of all the needed new ones in the district. That means that some of our students who would like to play an instrument would either have to find a used one or pay to rent one. Many of our potential music students cannot afford this expense. In order to fill that gap, the Jamestown PROMISE Fund stepped in, collaborating with the Jamestown Schools Music Department and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to hold a Community Musical Instrument Drive on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Jamestown High School.
“The Jamestown PROMISE Fund’s Musical Instrument Drive is so important,” said Asha. “As a music student, I personally understand that students may have ambition, desire, and dedication to enhance their musical education, but lack the tools to do so. The instrument drive allows more children to be exposed to and reap the benefits of a proper musical education. I am proud to be the student representative of the PROMISE fund. Our programs and initiatives are designed to help the community in various ways. I am glad to reflect the voice of the younger generation. I believe a board like the PROMISE Fund is invaluable to our community and I am beyond happy that our most recent initiative — the Instrument Drive — will help my fellow student musicians.”
There have been numerous studies that show the benefits for students who play musical instruments including stress relief, fostering self-expression, building confidence, helping with socialization and building friendships. Studies also show that playing an instrument increases blood flow in the brain, which can help an individual think more clearly and also contributes to an increase in brain development and long-term memory abilities. This, in turn, also leads to improvements in cognitive abilities, especially in math and reading.
“Research clearly shows us that the number one activity that stimulates brain growth and productivity, especially in developing brains, is the study and practice of instrumental music,” said Dr. Carrie Pawelski, Jefferson Middle School Band Director. “TIME Magazine recently published an article stating the top activities to involve your children in if you want them to get smarter. The number one activity was instrumental music lessons. We want every child in our district to be able to study instrumental music, but currently only those who can afford to rent an instrument can play in our programs. The district is working with our department to purchase more instruments every year but in the meantime, collecting used instruments from our community will make a big difference in the lives of many young people for many years to come.”
At the PROMISE Fund Musical Instruments Drive, many volunteers will be available in front of Jamestown High School to accept your donation of a used or new musical instrument. They will tag the instruments and gather contact information in order to send thank you letters from the PROMISE fund and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Information for a tax deduction, if applicable, will be included.
“It has been important to help with the musical instrument drive because the JPS music department is in need of musical instruments for students because either the school cannot afford to replace them, or there are students who are just starting out so that a gently used instrument might be a good springboard to a future in music,” said Gary Kindberg, who is on the committee for the PROMISE Fund Musical Instrument Drive and also volunteers with the JHS Red Raider Marching Band. “There are so many people in the community who are involved in the Jamestown music program. Music is something that stays with you your entire life. You always have something to contribute when you have been a musician.”
Once the drive is completed, musicians including Bryan Eckenrode, John Cross and Rick Lundquist, among others, will examine all of the donated instruments and help refurbish them for Jamestown students to use for their musical education.
If you don’t have a musical instrument to donate, a financial donation is also very welcome. Checks can be made out to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for the JPS PROMISE Fund. Any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
“It’s a great feeling to know that so many people are enthusiastically helping with our very first Music Instrument Drive,” said Dr. Lilian Ney, Jamestown PROMISE Fund Vice Chair and Coordinator of the Music Instrument Drive Committee. “They are inspired by recognizing that more of our students will soon have access to the outstanding music programs at JPS. Music can bring out the best in everyone!”