NAMM Donates $90,000 to Three Music Education Programs

Funds Benefit the American String Teachers Association, Start with the Arts and The Children's Museum of Boston

October 14, 2003

NAMM, the International Music Products Association, recently announced it will donate $90,000 to three nonprofit music education programs, further promoting the association’s mission of unifying, leading and strengthening the global music products industry and increasing active participation in music making worldwide.

The association will donate $40,000 to the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), $10,000 to the START with the Arts (START) and $40,000 to The Children's Museum of Boston.

The ASTA, devoted to enhancing the future of string teaching and playing, will use the funding to support its National String Project Consortiums in an effort to help solve the string teacher shortage. Specifically, the money will establish training programs in three of the sites in the Consortium: the University of Georgia, the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford and at the University of Wyoming. From this donation, more than 300 children will get to study a stringed instrument and over 35 undergraduate string teachers will get hands-on, practical training. The investment in these young teachers will pay huge dividends during the next 40 years of their teaching careers as they touch the lives of thousands of children.

The success of this program is already being realized after three years.

"Three String Project faculty ‘alumni’ are now teaching in Wyoming,” said Jim Przygocki, String Project director, University of Wyoming. “We are already beginning to see an impact of String Project training in our profession in our state!"

The START program, which focuses on fostering and developing the innate talent every child has for idea making, will use NAMM’s donation to develop its “Getting, Growing and Giving Ideas” theme. This program features Bob Gatzen, clinician, designer and author, and Billy Ashbaugh, drummer for *NSYNC, who will both conduct children’s programs that target the 9- to 12-year-old bracket. In 2003, the drum duo presented 28 START programs in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida. They partnered with a Penfield Productions to film all the shows for review, follow-up (host schools) and promotion.

“It was our plan to approach NAMM for grant support after we built some history,” said Gatzen. “Between November 2002 and September 2003, we were able to assemble a substantial Web site and promotional videos of the programs. Our sponsors (percussion manufacturers) encouraged us to contact NAMM [because] they felt that our program was fresh, innovative and would assist NAMM's mission of creating more music makers. We greatly appreciate NAMM's recognition and support of the START program. We could not have taken the program to Phase II without NAMM."

NAMM’s donation to The Children's Museum of Boston will fund a music advocacy kiosk in its Making America's Music: Rhythm, Roots & Rhyme national and international traveling museum exhibit, which will reach an estimated 2 million people over the next five years. The kiosk features information on the benefits of music making for parents as well as video and multimedia resources to inform and entertain children and parents. The exhibit will travel to Boston, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Minneapolis, Rochester, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, St. Louis and Milwaukee, followed by a later in the tour Japan and the United Kingdom.

“We are very excited by this opportunity to partner with The Children's Museum of Boston,” said Rob Walker, director of market development, NAMM. “The addition of this advocacy kiosk will add to the overall patron’s experience by providing resources that both support, encourage and assist a future involvement in making music.”

“Music is essential to children, to their development, to their full enjoyment of life,” said Lou Casagrande, president/CEO, The Children's Museum of Boston. “The Children's Museum of Boston and NAMM share the mission of introducing all children to the joy of music—all kinds of American music, from jazz to hip-hop to country-western. NAMM's sponsorship of the education kiosk for our national traveling exhibition, MAKING AMERICA'S MUSIC: Rhythm, Roots and Rhyme, is a perfect partnership that will benefit the 2 million children and parents who will enjoy this exhibition as it travels across the country.”