Red Deer Public Schools launches instrument drive

  • Aug. 10, 2016 5:43 p.m.

It’s the perfect time to get rid of old band instruments and donate them to the worthy cause of students in the Red Deer Public School District.

The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools is asking the community to bring out gently used instruments to donate to students who otherwise might not be able to access music education.

“Traditionally, students either purchase or rent instruments. For some families, due to financial need, they simply aren’t able to provide instruments for their children,” said Bruce Buruma, executive director of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools.

“We want to have a bank of instruments available across the district for children. If they have an interest in musical education, we don’t want financial need being a barrier for them to access it.”

Buruma said this collection is about helping students reach their potential through music education.

“We don’t want individual, personal or social circumstances to affect a student’s potential. Music provides tremendous potential for many students and we want to make sure they can access all the possibilities and potential that go along with music education.”

He added that music education and band programs can help to develop teamwork, perseverance and dedication in students – instrumental qualities in any successful person.

“Studies have indicated that music also helps improve math abilities, cognitive abilities and kinesthetic abilities that are absolutely essential as well. Music education has a lot of meaning outside of simply appreciating the music – it provides a skill, but also benefits that reach far beyond the class.”

He said the drive was initiated to address the need of instruments for new band programs, particularly for G.H.Dawe school and Normandeau. He added that the district was introducing an ‘Introduction to Band’ program at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School (LTCHS) this fall.

All instruments collected from the drive process will go to various schools throughout the district, available for when students need them.

“We want students across the district to benefit from this, not just those targeted schools. However, it is mostly students from the middle school and high school levels that will benefit from this particular initiative,” Buruma said.

“We want to do this as a concentrated effort before kids go back to school. We’re going to be continuing to raise the program throughout the summer, but as kids get back into school, we hope to continue raising awareness of the importance of getting instruments into the schools.

“We’re hoping some summer cleaning was done and people have discovered some of their old instruments that could do a lot of good in the hands of some kids, particularly kids inspired to pursue music.”

He said they hope to get a variety of instruments to allow students the choice that best suits them.

Buruma expressed his thanks to Red Deer Emergency Services for opening up all fire hall locations in the City as donation centres.

As well, instruments can be dropped off at the Red Deer Public Schools District (RDPSD) office.

He said that 53rd Street Music will be assisting in the appraisal of instruments to provide charitable tax receipts to donors. Instruments will be repaired and maintained to get them in top shape for students.

During the musical instrument drive, the Foundation hopes to collect more than 50 instruments, as well as donations to help pay for repairs.

“Most importantly, we want to get musical instruments into the hands of students and empower youth through music.”