Music Education / enriching our community youth
Underscoring the Music
While the Festival has gone through a few name changes, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to supporting music education in schools. In fact, it is listed among the primary purposes of the Festival Bylaws. After operating costs are covered, all proceeds go directly to our SOMF Music Education programs. Four days prior to the Festival, two bands perform at more than 30 local elementary and middle school assemblies. Over 12,000 students learn about music through interactive entertainment. The rest of the year, SOMF’s Music Education programs supplement Jackson and Josephine County Schools music and orchestra programs, at all grade levels, providing classroom instructors, private music lessons, and musical instruments. SOMF’s Instrument Donation Program has collected more than 200 instrument since its inception in 2011. Even with support from local businesses, professional musicians, music instructors, volunteers, and the proceeds from ticket sales, it still is not nearly enough to meet the demands for instruments and class instruction. Additional contributions are needed as well. If you would like to make a donation to support Music Education, click here or call 866-448-1948. If you wish to donate an instrument, contact Tom’s Guitars or email email@example.com.
In-School Assemblies with Festival Bands
“When we play ‘I Feel Good,’ we tell the teachers, ‘Okay, you’re the only ones that know the 1960s and ‘70s dances, so get on up and dance.’ Everyone from teacher to principal to office staff dances—and they really get into it. You can see these kids thinking to themselves, maybe my teacher is pretty cool, after all.”
Matt Summers, High Street Band lead vocalist
In keeping with the program’s tradition since 1989, two bands perform at local elementary and middle school assemblies four days prior to their scheduled appearance at the Festival. Each performance lasts up to 40 minutes and affords the students the opportunity to hear skilled professionals, interact musically with band members, and ask questions. High Street Band is not only a regular attraction at the Festival but also a tireless supporter of SOMF’s commitment to Music Education, performing at more than 250 school assemblies over the years, inspiring thousands of children to learn to play an instrument. For the remainder of the school year, SOMF will pick up where High Street left off, providing classroom instructors, private music lessons, and musical instruments for all grade levels at Jackson and Josephine County Schools.
This program currently reaches over 12,000 students in Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Jacksonville, Central Point, and Eagle Point. With additional sponsorship and donor support, we can expand that reach north to include the Grants Pass, Rogue River, and Three Rivers School Districts, adding another 10,250 students who can benefit from this experiential learning. Make a donation, today.
Youth Band Performances
Jazz bands from middle schools and high schools all over the Rogue Valley are invited to perform during the Boy Scout sponsored pancake breakfast on the Saturday morning of the Festival. The breakfast is provided for a nominal fee however, band performances are free and open to the public.
Made up of an ensemble of very talented young musicians (ages 10 to 21), The Oregon Coast Lab Band has been appearing at the Festival since 1997, playing their own sets alongside other featured professional performers. The Band is a non-profit organization established in 1992 to educate Oregon’s young musicians and provide opportunities for them to perform live in front of Festival audiences.
Every musician starts with a used instrument. SOMF’s Leave a Legacy campaign encourages individuals to donate their used instruments. Most schools offering band and/or orchestra programs simply do not have enough instruments to meet the demand of students exhibiting musical talent or a desire to play an instrument. Music instruments donated by our local community and Festival attendees help provide instruments to students exhibiting musical talent who may not be able to afford their own instrument. Without these generous donations, many students’ talents would never have been realized. SOMF’s annual Instrument Donation drive, has collected over 200 used and new instruments since its inception. Each instrument’s condition is assessed by Duane Hess, of Tom’s Guitars in Medford. Those needing repair remain at his shop (with grants covering the costs for those repairs). The rest are distributed according to wish lists submitted to SOMF by Jackson and Josephine County School band and orchestra instructors.
The program has also resulted in improved academic performance. The opportunity to earn ownership of an instrument provides incentive to re-engage students’ interest in school. Before they are even assigned an instrument, a student must meet the following requirements: maintain an academic grade of C+ (70%) or higher and an attendance record of at least 70% for one full semester. During music instruction, they must maintain the requirements throughout the remainder of the school year. If they do, the instrument is theirs to keep.
There is measurable data that music education improves both academic performance and brain function. “Researchers have found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn’t just get better at playing the trombone or violin; they found that playing music also helped kids’ brains process language.” (Source NPR) Statistics also indicate that the grade point average of students who participated in music education increased one full point higher. Additionally, after just four months of music instruction, students scored 15% to 41% higher when tested on math ratios and fractions. (Source Sharon Begley, “Music on the Mind,” Newsweek, July 24, 2000).
We believe in helping our community youth, one instrument at a time. If you don’t have an instrument, any monetary contribution, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can make a significant difference in one student’s life. Tom’s Guitars in Medford will accept your instrument on our behalf, even those needing repair. Donated instruments are 100% tax deductible. Donate an instrument, today. Arrange a pick up by calling us at 866-448-1948 or contact Tom’s Guitars .
Classroom Music Instruction
Working in conjunction with the Instrument Donation Program, Instruction in the Classroom is our newest program. We unite independent, qualified music professionals—all skilled in reading, writing and playing music—and Rogue Valley schools’ faculty needing additional support to supplement their music curriculum. Both weekly, hour-long group lessons and one-on-one instruction are available. Students must agree to maintain the same 70/70 qualifications as the Instrument Donation Program, in addition to passing a mid-term exam that exhibits their ability to play both major and minor scales and chord voicing. Through the Instrument Donation Program or Loan-to-Purchase Instrument Scholarship Program, students are assigned their own instruments, allowing them to practice at home. Free instrument rental and Loan-to-Purchase programs are funded through foundation grants. Those that qualify for scholarship funds can credit the purchase of their instrument through the scholarship awarded to them. Make a donation, today.
Guitar Lessons at Central Medford High School and Medford 549C School District Classroom at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center
This program was launched as a result of a generous donation of 25 guitars and a willing, passionate community music instructor who believed that music might have a profound influence in re-engaging students desire to learn. What began as a trial program at Central Medford High School is now offered every fall to qualifying students based on their academic performance, attendance, and a recommendation by the school’s band or orchestra instructor. The students’ names are submitted and reviewed by SOMF’s Music Education Committee and the appropriate number of guitars are provided by the Instrument Donation program.
In addition to a basic academic curriculum, guitar lessons are also offered at the Medford 549C School District Classroom at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center, inspiring wayward youths to make better choices. The introduction of our guitar lesson instruction has been a transformational experience for these incarcerated students who previously had no access to instruments or music education. Their personal notes and affirmations sent by both students and faculty to our Music Education Committee are heartfelt, moving, and bear testimony to the positive impact the program has already had in its short incubation. Make a donation, today.
“I feel that music has its own place in everyone’s soul and that it is important to have music in life. You have no idea how much I appreciate the opportunity you have given me. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. I have been incarcerated because I was bored and chose to do drugs. Now I can choose music…I am very grateful.”
Kurk, Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center Student