NAMM Foundation Grants $600,000 to Global Nonprofit Music Making and Music Education Programs

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Photo credit: Rob Davidson Photography

In 2015, the NAMM Foundation will invest $600,000 in grant funding into 17 global music making programs. This year’s list of grant recipients includes community, national and industry-based organizations that provide access to quality music education and increase interest and participation in making music across the lifespan.

The NAMM Foundation’s annual grant program represents one part of the Foundation’s annual multimillion-dollar reinvestment into scientific research, advocacy, philanthropic giving, and public service programs related to making music. Since 1994, the NAMM Foundation has allocated $15 million in grant-making support to domestic and international music-making programs. These grants are funded in part by donations from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and its 9,900 member companies worldwide.

“These organizations are community leaders, both geographic or within their instrument category, that share the power of music making directly with people of all ages,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation. “We are honored to support their important work and together create a more musical world.”

The following programs received grant approval during the recent NAMM Board of Directors’ meeting:

Australian Music Association

The Australian Music Association is the trade body for the music-products industry, representing wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers and associated services for musical instruments, pro audio, print music, lighting and computer music products. NAMM Foundation funding supports the launch of a RMM School to Community program through the creation of a Young Warriors contemporary music program for students both in and out of school. The program builds on AMA’s success with Musical Futures and integrates Little Kids Rock’s modern band model and offers AMA retail members training program in ways to engage students in rock band. 

Coalition for Music Education in Canada

The Coalition for Music Education in Canada’s mission is to raise the awareness and understanding of the role that music education plays in Canadian culture, and to promote the benefits that music education brings to young people. NAMM Foundation funding supports the expansion of its Music Monday program, a public awareness initiative that engages thousands of music makers and the media in the opportunity to celebrate music making's vital role in school and in life. The program to date has engaged national media, politicians and artists in promoting the importance of music education for all children in Canada.

Dallas Wind Symphony

The Dallas Wind Symphony is the leading professional civic wind band in the United States. Dallas Wind Symphony uses concerts as a recruitment tool to encourage sixth-grade band participation. NAMM Foundation funding will support the Dallas Winds Summer Band Camp. The Camp provides at-risk and underserved students from the Dallas Independent School District the chance to attend a unique summer band camp presented by the professional musicians of this world-class wind ensemble.  These students would otherwise never have this opportunity and supports their success in the districts music education offerings.

Guitars in the Classroom

Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) trains and equips classroom teachers to integrate singing and playing guitar into children’s daily school experiences. By providing instruction, access to instruments, resource materials, and program supervision, GITC empowers educators to transform classrooms into musical environments that bring out the best in all students by engaging them in studies across the curriculum. NAMM Foundation funding supports a pilot, guitar and ukulele-based music integration program in San Diego schools that expands teacher proficiency in both music teaching and integration with reading and math.

Guitars and Accessories Marketing Association

The Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association (GAMA) is a trade association comprising guitar products manufacturers and distributors. NAMM Foundation funding supports the expansion of Teacher Guitar Workshop (TGW), a professional development program to provide music educators with the basic skills and tools necessary to introduce and teach group guitar instruction in schools. Additionally GAMA will collaborate with Manitoba Classroom Guitar Association to create the Canadian Classroom Guitar Association that will support classroom guitar teachers across Canada. Over the years, GAMA’s Teaching Guitar Workshops has been the cornerstone of classroom guitar programs in our public schools today.

Institute for Music and Neurologic Function

Through the scientific exploration of music and the brain, The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF) seeks to establish new knowledge and to develop more effective music therapy treatments to awaken, stimulate and heal through the extraordinary power of music. NAMM Foundation funding supports two projects: 1) a symposium to be held in fall 2015 in NYC with leading researchers and music therapy practitioners to share new knowledge about the application of music and healing and raise awareness of the availability and effectiveness of music and brain healing techniques; and 2) to support the Institute’s ongoing weekly songwriting and music making program with patients, including veterans, with PTSD.

John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a non-profit 501(c)(3) state-of-the-art mobile audio and HD video recording and production facility. In its 18th year, with the very newest technology and gear, the Bus continues to be dedicated to providing young people with tours of the studios and participation in free songwriting and multimedia production workshops. With the assistance of three on-board engineers, students learn how to write, perform, record, and produce original songs, produce and shoot music videos and documentaries and complete a broadcast quality music video – all in one day! NAMM Foundation funding supports the John Lennon Education Tour Bus for six two-day community residencies at public schools around the US that are part of the NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education program.  Following a successful pilot last year, districts will apply for the residency that brings this state-of-the-art mobile recording studio to schools and districts for music and video recording technology training and song/video creation.  Students will create original songs and music videos as part of the residency that will also offer tours and hands-on experienced for entire music education departments and the school.  The residency will also feature a town-hall style SupportMusic Community Forum that will be webcast nationally and feature school and community leaders sharing their commitment to and support for music education in their community.

Little Kids Rock

Little Kids Rock’s mission is to restore and revitalize music education in U.S. public schools. It provides free musical instruments and music instruction to underserved schools across the country. NAMM Foundation funding supports the expansion of its Modern Band program to 4,000 students in 40 schools across the School District of Philadelphia (SDP).

The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation

Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting music through donations of musical instruments to young musicians. NAMM Foundation funding supports the Michael Kamen Grant, which is their sole program addressing music program needs at Title 1 schools.

Music For All

Music For All/UK is the charity attached to the UK musical instrument industry. The organization’s mission is “Making More Musicians!” NAMM Foundation funding supports the expansion of the successful Learn to Play annual event bringing free music lessons to the public encouraging them to pick up music making as a lifelong practice.  UK’s music industry network including music retail stores and teaching studios is engaged in this annual promotional music making effort.  

National Piano Foundation

PianoNet is the official site for the National Piano Foundation, a comprehensive guide to pianos, including the history, manufacturing, related noted artists, important publications, and more. NAMM Foundation funding will continue to support its partnership with the Music Teachers National Association and promote the RMM Teacher Scholarship Program to help the independent piano teacher. The National Piano Foundation will also develop an internship program in partnership with Ferris State University’s Music Business Degree program.  The program will provide opportunities for music business majors to learn from and connect with marketing and sales professionals in the piano industry.

National String Project Consortium

The National String Project Consortium (NSPC) is a coalition of String Project sites based at colleges and universities across the United States. The NSPC is dedicated to increasing the number of children playing stringed instruments, and addressing the critical shortage of string teachers in the United States. NAMM Foundation funding continues to support its successful teacher training and string development programs at four existing sites (South Dakota State University, Northern Kentucky State, Pacific University and Reinhardt College and for a new string project at Southern Mississippi University. 

Orchestre a' L'Ecole

Orchestre A L’Ecole, a non-profit music trade association in France, aims to develop the musical abilities of young people in schools in disadvantaged areas. NAMM Foundation funding supports Orchestre à l'Ecole’s regional rallies providing music making opportunities to children, their families and their teachers.  Funding will support the development of 40 student orchestras. 

Percussion Marketing Council

The Percussion Marketing Council’s mission is to provide professional marketing and advertising campaigns, programs and activities that bring increased public awareness to drumming, thus increasing the number of people playing all types of drums. NAMM Foundation funding supports the expansion of the Roots of Rhythm interdisciplinary music education program and the Percussion in the Schools assembly program to serve schools throughout the United States.  In addition, PMC is developing a new program, Drums Across America building on the success of the playdrums.com lesson lab tent that was featured at select Vans Warped Tour venues last summer and offered hands-on drumming experiences.

Percussive Arts Society

Percussive Arts Society (PAS) is a nonprofit, music service organization. Its mission is to promote percussion education, research, performance and appreciation throughout the world. NAMM Foundation funding supports the Find Your Rhythm! Community Outreach program designed to engage fourth- and fifth-grade students in active music making using rhythm-based instruments. The program serves low-income youth from Indianapolis city schools. PAS is also working with Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis Graduate Museum Studies program at Indiana University to evaluate the Rhythm Discovery Center in order to provide a more effective presentation and focused learning center experience.

San Diego Youth Symphony

The San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory instills excellence in the musical and personal development of students through rigorous and inspiring musical-training experiences. NAMM Foundation funding supports the expansion of the Community Opus Project, which provides community-based music programs for at-risk youth in San Diego County, as well as community-wide efforts to reinstate music education programs.

Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME)

The Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist music educators in applying technology to improve teaching and learning in music. NAMM Foundation funding supports the expansion of TI:ME’s Technology Leadership Academy, a program for pre-service music education majors focusing attention on the emerging interest to reach non-traditional music students with technology-based music programs.