Browsing Category

BMTL In the News

Colorado Public Radio: Find your old band or orchestra instrument a new home in a Colorado music program

March 6, 2024

By Jessie Jacobs, March 4, 2024, for Colorado Public Radio

CPR/Karla Walker

Last year was another banner year for the Bringing Music to Life Instrument Drive. Coloradans donated 1,100 used instruments that were repaired when possible and donated to schools. Individuals and organizations also gave monetary donations vital to funding repairs, making 2023 the second most successful year in BTML’s 13-year history.

These instruments have made a difference for over 20,000 students in more than 300 music programs. During this last year it was clear just how valuable Bringing Music to Life is to educators across the state.

BMTL Executive Director Christine Andresen says the success of 2023 is in the growth of some returning music programs. “Programs that had started kind of small, when they had gotten our help over a couple of years… Kids were telling other kids, their band was becoming more popular, we’ve had teachers show us programs that are growing in popularity and in participation.”

One of these repeat educators, Andrew Campo, travelled from Cortez to Denver for Bringing Music To Life’s instrument presentation in August, where 770 instruments were awarded to 52 music programs. Campo and his music program at Montezuma-Cortez Middle School have turned to Bringing Music to Life five times in the last 12 years. Currently, 200 of the school’s 550 students are enrolled in band. Campo credits Bringing Music to Life for making that possible.

Read the full story here.

Washington Park Profile: “For the Love of Music”

March 6, 2024

by Christy Steadman, March 5, 2024, for the Washington Park Profile

When I was in elementary school (fourth and/or fifth grade, I can’t exactly recall), I played the clarinet. I’m not sure why I didn’t stick with it. Perhaps my passion for the written word took over, but I loved my instrument so much that I even gave it a name: Clara the Clarinet.  

Each year, there is an instrument drive that allows you to share your love of an instrument with a music student. It’s called Bringing Music to Life and, this year, it takes place March 4-16.

The drive takes gently-used musical instruments and gives them to underfunded school music programs across Colorado.

What is so cool about this drive is that although the instruments are given to the schools, they are assigned to a student for the entire time the student is in the school’s music program. That means the student gets to treat it as their own — and take responsibility for it – because they take the instrument home with them for practice and, whenever they want to, elsewhere, like to jam with friends, learning from peers.

Those who do not have an instrument to donate can give funds to the drive’s instrument repair fund.

I’ve interviewed the founder of Bringing Music to Life, Steve Blatt (you may recognize his name from his time with Colorado Public Radio many years back), a couple of times. Something he said stuck with me: the repair fund is just as important as the instrument part of the  drive.

Every used instrument is going to need some sort of repair, he said, and beginning music students don’t know the difference between an instrument in “excellent playable condition” and one that’s not functioning properly. For example, if an instrument is not sounding right because it is in less-than-good condition, the student may get frustrated with it, thinking they lack talent and that might cause them to give up. So, it’s important that every student not only gets an instrument, but that it is in “excellent playable condition.”

Bringing Music to Life is a nonprofit, and it partners with a number of local businesses — Denver Percussion, Luther Strings, Monkton Guitars and Rocky Mountain Music Repair – that provide repair services on the instruments for a discounted rate.

Bringing Music to Life accepts nearly any type of musical instrument – particularly those used in band and orchestra. There are drop-off locations across the metro area, with the two in Denver being Twist & Shout, 2508 E. Colfax Ave. in the Congress Park neighborhood; and Luther Strings, 2018 S. Pontiac Way near the Virginia Village/Indian Creek area. Donations for the repair fund can be made online.

Read the full story on the Washington Park Profile website by clicking here.


August 28, 2023


Bringing Music to Life, a Denver nonprofit, gave away hundreds of musical instruments to teachers from 52 Colorado schools (including 9 Denver Public Schools pictured above) on Aug. 12 at the Robert & Judi Newman Center at the University of Denver.

It was the thirteenth year the nonprofit has awarded instruments donated during its annual Instrument Drive. Assistant executive director Christine Andresen and board chairman Michael Frank welcomed the teachers, some of whom had driven eight hours to attend.

“Our theme this year was With a lot of help from our friends’, Andresen said, “because we wanted to recognize all the partners who make this possible.”

See the full story here.


March 28, 2023

The organization that provides instruments to students in struggling music programs needs more schools to apply.


 At Rocky Mountain Music Repair in Broomfield, owner Brian Stevenson is no stranger to cleaning old student instruments.

“Get all the chocolate chip cookies, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and things out of ’em and kind of get ’em all refreshed that way,” he said while scrubbing a tuba.

Stevenson has become an expert in cleaning donated instruments that have sat in closets for decades. He can handle that. It’s the next step of the process he needs help with.

“We don’t yet have enough applications from schools,” said Steve Blatt, the program’s executive director. “We just want to give these away to schools that need them.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, 28 schools have applied.

Last year, they donated 684 instruments to 45 schools.

For the full story and to learn more click here.


March 17, 2023

The nonprofit drive asks the public for money to pay to repair instruments that are donated for students in struggling music programs across Colorado.


The sounds of school have a different meaning in the band room for sophomore Sam Riggleman, who plays the trombone and the double bass in orchestra at George Washington High School.

“I feel like almost all of my friends are from band or orchestra,” Sam said, who added that music dominates her life. “… Thinking about, you know, what we’re gonna play next in concert band. What key should we learn next?”

Band director Rick Grassler wants to grow his music program to impact more students like Sam. He turns to nonprofits like Bringing Music to Life to provide curious musicians with donated instruments like Sam’s trombone.

9NEWS partners with the nonprofit Bringing Music to Life every year to ask people to donate used instruments to help students in struggling music programs across Colorado.

View or listen to the entire feature story and hear the George Washington High School orchestra here.