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.