Gibson Gives Guitars to Metro Nashville Public School Students
For nearly a decade, a unique partnership between Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Mayor’s Office and dozens of community organizations has helped ensure that Music City students have access to music in their schools.
Recently, Gibson Gives – the philanthropic arm of the iconic guitar company – took that goal a step closer for many students across the district.
With an equipment donation of $ 300,000, including guitar strings, amplifiers, guitar stands and, most importantly, the guitars themselves, the organization hopes to increase student participation in string programs in schools. schools.
And for JC Curleigh, Gibson President and CEO, he hopes that means he could see more students jamming in their school’s rock band in the future.
“The foundation of Nashville is music and the next generation of music doesn’t always have to come from somewhere else, it can come right here from Nashville,” Curleigh told the Tennessean. “I wouldn’t like anything more than five, 10, 15 years from having a kid on stage that says, ‘I’m a Nashville resident and started in sixth grade when a Gibson guitar was put in my hands at my local school. ‘”
This is not Gibson’s first donation to Metro schools.
The Music makes us Partnership, a district-hosted initiative, started in 2012 and has been at the forefront of the district – and the community – efforts to improve music and arts education in Nashville.
In 2013, Metro Schools was honored as one of the best communities for music education in the country by the National Association of Music Merchants – for the fourth year in a row.
Today, the district has 188 music teachers and a music and arts program in each elementary school, according to Jeff Smith, director of visual and performing arts for the district.
Each high school has a traditional orchestra, although some specialty magnetic schools do not have marching bands, and some colleges have orchestral programs as well.
But access to quality instruments and other programs varies. The district conducted a needs assessment of school arts programs in partnership with Music Makes Us and the CMA Foundation a few years ago, Smith said.
They discovered that some high schools did not have choirs. Some elementary schools only have Orff instruments – classic wooden instruments like xylophones or bass bars – for music lessons. Some may have guitars or ukuleles, others keyboards, many of which have been donated over the years by the Save the Music Foundation.
“If we can make sure that we are providing access to quality music education programs and quality musical instruments, and that we have the resources to be successful in these classrooms and programs, it is ‘goal,’ Smith said.
Donations like Gibson’s recent one help provide professional instruments for students who might not otherwise have access.
Currently, the district has about a thousand guitar students in middle and high schools and a thousand in elementary schools.
Gibson Gives’ donation will directly benefit students in schools with existing guitar programs including Antioch High School, Bellevue Middle School, Donelson Middle School, HG Hill Middle School, Hillwood High School, John Overton High School, Maplewood High School, McGavock High School and Nashville School of the Performing Arts, according to Gibson.
“I can’t even begin to tell you the smile and excitement on a student’s face when he unwraps or plays an instrument he would otherwise not have access to,” Smith said. “When they realize that ‘Someone appreciates me. Someone has seen fit to invest in me and my music education’, it’s so powerful. What our children need more than ever are adults who care about them. ”
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Meghan Mangrum is covering education for the USA TODAY – Tennessee Network. Contact her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.