Making Musical instruments More accessible to students

CHRISTOPHER JOLIVETTE | University of Bristol | Mc Calla

  1. The goal of this wider project is to give students who are unable to afford musical instruments the opportunity to participate in band programs across the country. By decreasing the price of instruments, giving older instruments a new home, or even giving students better rental options I hope to give more students the chance to be involved in this form of artistic expression. By increasing access to instrumental resources (including technology, software, and instruments) we may be able to give more students the opportunity to express themselves through the arts.
  2. The primary actions I will take will be communicating with schools and music shops in my local area in order to understand how wide ranging of an issue this is. Afterwards, I hope to research in the community to see if members of the Starkville area would be interested in a more affordable instrumentation option as well as which families may be in the most need. From there, I will be able to set up a meeting between local music shops, principals, and possibly a few members of the community in order to draft a plan that would work to aid the most troubled and/or struggling members of our community, i.e., those that need the most help in affording an instrument. I hope to be able to graph and chart the information out in a way that makes the most sense for decision makers and afterwards lay out a simple plan that could be pushed out to the wider community. Throughout this process, I hope to use my connection to collegiate NAfME to raise awareness of the issue of lack of musical instruments and get more and more people involved in the cause.
  3. I have an innate passion for music and musicianship. I am thankful for my parents every day that they were able to afford to buy be not one, not two, but three saxophones. I can proudly say that I am an amateur budding musician because of them. Through their contribution to my ambition, I have developed a connection to the arts that cannot be severed. Music is an essential part of me, and I can only hope to infuse myself in the music that I play. I often say that if my life had gone a slight bit differently, I would have become a musician. I often wonder how many other young people are in this same predicament—where if they had had access to musical instruments and musical instruction, they would have pursued this avenue. My goal is to ensure that these individuals’ dreams are realized—that they have that opportunity to pursue what they love. On the opposite side of this same spectrum, I want people to be able to realize that they don’t love music. I want individuals to be able to pursue a new interest and decide for themselves whether they are invested in it. This small passion for the arts drives me to help others in the arts in any way I can.
  4. Of course, there are numerous counterarguments and issues that can be drawn on from this project. Namely, that it is difficult to give so many people instruments because someone must be paid for the service of creating and selling instruments. That is why I am hoping that this project will not only be about increasing access to instruments through shops but raising funds for children in the community who want to afford instruments, donating old instruments, and improving the rental system so that more people can have access to this important and powerful form of expression.
  5. A further expansion of this project would be to de-gentrify the exclusive realm of music and increase access to education on music, arrangement, and performance. Music oftentimes seems exclusive and elitist when in reality it should be free and accessible to anyone who wants to express themselves. It is often difficult to enter music due to its difficulty, but if we can make the art form more accessible, then I’m sure this elitist mentality would soon dissipate.
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