The Sopris Sun

Schools short of musical instruments, launch donation drive

Sopris Sun Staff Report

The Roaring Fork Valley has long been
known for its amazing local music scene. Local middle and high school
instrumental music programs are now following suit and literally
bursting out of the schools’ band rooms.

This coming year alone there will be
325 new fifth and sixth grade student musicians in school programs in
Glenwood, Carbondale, Basalt and Aspen. With the help of Jazz Aspen
Snowmass and others, people up and down the valley are starting their
journey as life-long musicians in our public schools.

Unfortunately, schools are unable to
supply enough instruments for students that need them.

“I have 25 students who have chosen
to play the flute next year and I have eight flutes,” said
Glenwood Springs High School and Middle School band director Tami
Suby. Many parents buy or rent instruments, but those costs are a
struggle for many parents. “We always scrounge and find an
instrument for students who want to play,” Suby told The Sopris
Sun, “but it would be great to have a bigger fleet.”

In an effort to help provide more
instruments to students, the Carbondale Council for Arts and
Humanities (CCAH) and Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) are assisting school
programs with an instrument drive. The groups are looking to get
instruments out of people’s attics, sheds and basements, and into
the hands of young people.

Why are so many students interested in
music? Suby said she believes it has to do with the fact that “we
all relate to music on some level and it is one of the most powerful
ways to express ourselves.”

Suby also pointed to the innovative
approach to learning that happens in music classes. Education
reformers, including proponents of Expeditionary Learning, are
emphasizing the importance of project-based learning, collaborative
projects, public presentations and performance-based evaluations;
band class has used this approach for years, Suby said.

In band class, Suby explained, the
students must work together on a common project: learning and
performing a piece of music. Students periodically break up into
small groups (such as the clarinet players) to problem-solve and
develop their contribution to the group as a whole. In addition to
learning about music and musical technique, students develop
patience, listening skills, teamwork skills and meticulous attention
to detail.

After a significant amount of
individual, small group and whole-group work, the students come
together and present the result of their hard work in the form of a
public performance. As Suby describes it, “The adrenalin, love and
hard work that all come together at the moment of performance is
pretty magical.”

How to contribute

Drop off your used instrument at one of
the following locations: CCAH office in the Third Street Center
(between Aug. 15-Sept. 15); Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts
(between now and Sept. 15), or the JAS office in the Red Brick Center
in Aspen.

Send in a cash donation for the music
program through Jazz Aspen Snowmass or directly to each program. For
more information on how to contribute pleas, contact JAS at 920-4996
or Tami Suby at tsuby@rfschools.com.

Monetary and instrument donations are
tax deductible. You may specify which school you would like to
receive your donation.