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Parents Help Schools Get Free Musical Instruments

United States
17 June 2008 — Educators have long sung the praises of music programs, whether it has been for the academic and creative skills they can foster or the confidence it builds in children.

Encouraging kids to join a school band or orchestra can be easy, even for parents who are less than musically inclined. Experts say the key is to provide plenty of support, just as you would with any other positive endeavor. In the case of music programs, that can mean encouraging kids to practice their instruments regularly, getting to know the band or orchestra director, and even becoming a school music booster. For instance, a new incentive program called SMART Parents sponsored through Conn-Selmer Inc., allows parents to earn points for their children’s music programs at school. With the SMART Parents program, parents are really supporting the music program because the points can be used by the school to get free instruments that the school normally purchases. These can include bass drums, tubas and bass clarinets for the band or string basses for the orchestra. The music program can grow and everyone wins! Many instrument brands qualify, including Bach, Selmer, C.G. Conn, Armstrong, King, Holton, Ludwig, Emerson, Leblanc, Vito and Artley band instruments and Scherl & Roth and Glaesel string instruments.

To participate in the program, parents need only ask their child’s band director to enroll the school. When the school participates, parents can register their new or used instrument at www.firstinstrument.comand the school music program will start collecting reward points.

This website also provides parents valuable information on how they can support school music programs and their children’s musical interests. It features information on topics such as “Knowing and Working with Your Director”, “Buying or Renting an Instrument”, and “Giving Your Child the Best Chance for Success”, just to name a few, as well as other tips to make parents informed partners with instrumental music programs.

Featured tips for parents whose children are first-time band members, include:

How To Choose An Instrument

Be certain the instrument brands your children bring to their lessons are easy to play, easy to use, reliable, in tune and repairable. Ask your music instructor which brand he or she recommends before you buy or rent.

How To Care For An Instrument

While each instrument has its own specific care requirements, there are do’s and don’ts that apply to all instruments. Help your child develop good habits right from the start.
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