As we enter the 2019 holiday season, we give thanks to each and every one of our supporters for sharing the Spirit of Harmony's vision of music education for all children. Our enthusiastic team of hundreds of volunteers, donors, educators, partners, families, and community advocates make the Spirit of Harmony possible.
The purpose of this letter is to update you on the status of our work, and
ask for your continued support of the Spirit of Harmony's mission, advocating for the moral imperative of music education. Simply, we want to
LET THE CHILDREN PLAY!
Every day, we get requests from schools and organizations whose
music programs are woefully underfunded and understaffed, lacking instruments and basic gear. Across the country, established music programs need revitalization and schools and organizations that have no music programs need start-up assistance.
It might be a middle school in New Jersey with 15 instruments being shared by 70 students, or it might be an elementary school in Chicago that wants to start a music program but has no resources whatsoever for 300 eager children. It might be a community organization in California that wants to add music to its after-school offerings, or it might be a special needs school in Florida looking to add a music therapy component to its program.
There is a disconnect between self-congratulatory reports of the percentage of schools in the United States offering music programs, compared with that we know to be the reality. What does it take for a program to be considered a music program? In some schools, "Music Program" means children singing group songs at their desks for 15-30 minutes a week. In a great many schools, music lessons are offered to children whose families can afford to rent expensive instruments,
leaving lower-income families with nothing
Research tells us that the gold standard of music education to produce measurable
neurological benefits for a developing brain requires a minimum
two years of instrument-based music education, ideally
four hours per week, at the
youngest age possible. The benefits of music education literally
level the playing field for all children, regardless of socioeconomic status and life situation. Music is so good for kids; how can we possibly deny them the opportunity?
The Spirit of Harmony strives to provide music programs with the tools they need to be the best they can be, through hands-on support, one-on-one consulting, and through our
Music Education Advocacy Toolkit. We help music programs access compelling information about the benefits of music education for children by sharing links to the best data available, so they are better equipped to present their case at PTA and school board meetings or other funders.
We help programs identify and connect with resources within their own community to provide the ongoing support they require. Our approach is systemic and practical, challenging and rewarding. We're a dash of "e-harmony" and a whole lot of legwork.
The key to music education advocacy is
. If children are not getting a music program in their school or after-school program, we are committed to LET THE CHILDREN PLAY. Spirit of Harmony supporters organize and donate to used
musical instrument collections
for redistribution to schools in need in their own communities in addition to offering support in ways that are perhaps less tangible but equally important. In local communities, music education advocacy can include attending
local school council and PTA meetings
children's concerts and recitals
(even if you aren't a parent!), supporting local
fundraising efforts and events
, cheering for band members at
parades and sporting events
sharing your interest in music education
within your own social and professional networks.
For those of us who consider music as a vitally important part of our life, there is a karmic responsibility to ensure future generations have access to music. Besides, it's really fun to see the spark in a child's eyes the first time his or her group creates an exciting harmony or hits a difficult note. Music education advocacy brings beauty to the world, delivers tremendous developmental advantages to children, and fosters stronger community ties--a trifecta of benefits!
Please consider including the Spirit of Harmony Foundation in your year-end charitable plans.
Together, we can bring music to children who do not have it.
LET THE CHILDREN PLAY and let the music they produce be our legacy.
P.S. The Spirit of Harmony Foundation has been given a "
Top Rated Nonprofit" award by Great Nonprofits, and the "
2019 Gold Rating" award by GuideStar for nonprofit management. Please be assured that your donation dollars will be used in the best possible way to advocate for music education for children.