Dream Up Now™ is a guided journal that helps teens explore emotions, create art, and envision life’s possibilities. It also has an accompanying digital leadership guide, which includes information to help teens advocate for school music programs, find their passion, and start a club in their school. We’re featuring an excerpt from the guide on how teens can bring music education to their school districts. Share this with the teens in your life!
Are you looking to bring a music program to your school? VH1 Save the Music Foundation can show you how.*
What Is Save the Music?
VH1 Save the Music Foundation invests in schools. This nonprofit organization helps students, schools, and communities realize their full potential through the power of making music. Save the Music donates instruments, music technology, and other equipment and provides customized program support for teachers and principals, including professional development services. Since 1997, Save the Music has provided grants to over 2,000 schools, jump-starting their music programs and impacting millions of students. The organization also advocates at the local, state, and national levels to ensure music is part of a well-rounded education.
How It Works
Save the Music offers two grants for teen music programs:
For grades 7-8, Save the Music builds instrumental music programs in band, strings, or mariachi. The Save the Music Core Grant program restores instrumental music in public schools across the country by providing grants of new musical instruments, music stands, method books, and program services valued at over $50,000.
For grades 9–12, Save the Music launched its Music Technology Grant to prepare students for careers in electronic music creation, recording, and production. The Music Technology Grant helps students learn and further develop creative and technical skills they can use now and in the future. The grant package includes $50,000 worth of hardware and software to support instruction in audio recording, audio engineering, DJ-ing, and beat-making.
The process for applying begins by reaching out to the foundation online. Visit savethemusic.org and click on “Contact Us” to get in touch with Save the Music’s program team.
For your school district to be considered for grants, a proposal and needs-assessment process must be completed a full school year before any grants would be in place. Save the Music works at the district level, with top-down commitment from district leadership to ensure equity across the entire school district. Save the Music does not award grants to individual schools without full district commitment.
Save the Music recognizes need a few different ways: Title I status, free- and reduced-lunch percentages, demographics, limited instrument inventory, and school resources.
This is a community effort. You will need the support of your principal and classmates. If you’ve engaged in Dream Up Now, you know the importance of finding your tribe and lifting one another up to pursue your passions and goals. This is an opportunity to walk the talk. If you’ve ever dreamed of changing the world for good, the place to start is where you live, among the people you see every day. Building a strong music program in your school district will change your life, as well as the lives of students in neighboring schools, for the better, now and in years to come. You and your community can be a force for good. Are you ready?
Asking Your Principal for Help
Read up as much as you can about the Save the Music program—knowing how the grant process works and what your school would need to do shows your commitment. Once you’re ready, make an appointment to ask your principal if they are willing to work with your school district to meet Save the Music’s guidelines:
- Your school is prepared to implement an instrumental music instruction curriculum and to provide a qualified music teacher to lead it.
- Your school provides for at least one instrumental music teacher’s salary in its budget for a new program, based on the receipt of instruments from Save the Music. (Note: funds from Titles I, II, and IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act are available. See Speak Up for Your Right to Succeed in the digital leadership guide.)
- Your school is prepared to add instrumental music to the regular school curriculum, offering a minimum of 45 minutes of instruction each week.
All grantee schools agree to:
- Supply adequate, secure storage space for instruments and equipment.
- Respond to annual progress reports requested by VH1 Save the Music Foundation and welcome representatives from the Foundation to visit once a year.
- Accept responsibility for the normal maintenance of donated instruments, with the exception of maintenance that is covered under manufacturer warranties. This includes providing the necessary supplies for the instruments to function, such as strings and reeds. (Note: Federal funds are available. See Speak Up for Your Right to Succeed in the digital leadership guide.)
If your school has music but needs more support, download the digital leadership guide for more!
Upgrade Your School—and Your Life!
You can do it, with the help of your community. Your school needs a leader to make positive change a reality. Will it be you who starts a campaign to bring music to your school?
*While Dream Up Now is not affiliated with VH1 Save the Music Foundation, this guide was approved by Save the Music staff. For further information, please visit savethemusic.org.
Adapted from Dream Up Now Leadership Tools for Your Life and Your School by Rayne Lacko, with community outreach advisor Lesley Holmes, copyright © 2020. Free Spirit Publishing Inc., Minneapolis, MN; 800-735-7323; freespirit.com. All rights reserved.
To get more information to help teens advocate for school music programs, find their passion, and start a club in their school, download Dream Up Now Leadership Tools for Your Life and Your School!
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© 2022 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved. The views expressed in this post represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily Free Spirit Publishing.