The popular music network VH1 is helping put music in the hands of students across the country and here in Madison.
Sandburg Elementary School is the first of many schools in the Madison school district that VH1 has committed to helping through the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
The foundation helps to put instruments in the hands of students like fifth-grader Morris Brown. Brown may not know how to play the cello yet, but he hopes with time, that will change.
"I can't wait to play it, but it's going to take some practice," Brown said.
More kids like Brown will soon be able to practice and learn new harmonies.
VH1 Save the Music Foundation and Madison-based Music Notes partnered with the Madison School District to provide over 30 new string instruments to students at the elementary school. The donation eases the burden on families and students who used to have to pay to rent an instrument.
Sandburg has a limited number instruments for students to use, but has struggled to come up with enough to provide for everyone.
"This is a relatively high-poverty school. At some points, one in 10 children are homeless. We never want a family's income to be a limiting factor in terms of their ability to access things like the strings program," Principal Brett Wilfrid said.
Music Notes provided $35,000 to purchase the instruments.
“A majority of Music Notes’ employees grew up in and raised their own families in the Madison area, and many of us and our children have directly benefited from the Madison Metropolitan School District’s music programs,” said Bill Aicher, chief marketing officer at Musicnotes.com. “Music Notes is honored to help ensure every child has access to quality music programming, here in our own community, as well as in other areas of need.”
Sandburg is the first of many schools in the Madison school district that VH1 has committed to helping.
"We are not here to create the next Yo-Yo Ma or some really famous musician, but really teach them a 21st century skill, which music is known to do through communication, collaborations and creativity," said Chiho Feindler, with VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
The VH1 foundation is awarding 57 grants this fall in communities across the nation. All schools that receive the grant have committed to hiring a certified music teacher to teach the music program as part of the regular school curriculum.