Why We Play It Forward
In the beginning of 2009 when Play It Forward was created we knew music and art in our schools were struggling. We also knew there had to be a way to assist the the children that had a desire to play music. We believe that children who come from a certain level of poverty and are placed into a lower income school district, have been told countless times we just don’t have the money to buy a guitar or rent you a trumpet so that you can play in the school band. In addition, that same child goes to school and is being told by the school we just don’t have the budget to provide the additional instruments that are needed for you to play music. It’s no wonder their self-esteem struggles and their desires and passions are left unattended.
When Play It Forward launched we had no idea whether our efforts would make a difference or not. However, it did not take long to discover that our efforts were making a difference. The first time we provided a school with 22 instruments off of their 26 item wish list we knew our mission was going to be beneficial to students and to educators whose hands were tied because of school budgets and finances. Doing our initial research and start up we spoke with several music teachers and we understood their frustrations with not having enough instruments for students and not having the funds they needed to educate and to provide the musical tools they needed in order to teach.
During the early marketing stages of Play It Forward we soon discovered that there were more instruments in our homes than there were in our schools. We quickly realized many people have trumpets clarinets, drums, guitars, cellos, instrument accessories, oils, music stands, drumsticks, guitar strings and more! All these items were in their spare rooms, their basements, their closets.
These items were available
Before long, Play It Forward’s mission grew into ‘let’s get the instruments out of our homes and place them back into our schools’. We discovered that with most instruments that were donated, the donor explained that they had this instrument for 10 years, 15 years, and more. We soon realized many years ago the economy was in a better condition than perhaps it is today and people were purchasing instruments. We discovered that there were more instruments in our homes than there were in our schools. Play It Forward’s mission soon became extremely important to gather those instruments out of our homes and place them back into our school music programs.
With a grassroots effort and local community support we soon were able to do just that. Most importantly it did not take getting hold of funding to be able to do that, we simply got people to give us their previously played instruments that they were no longer using and place them into a child’s hands. They get the multiple benefits of performing, playing, and in being involved in music.