Transforming 1,000,000 Lives Through Music
Our mission is a bold one. How can we know how to transform anyone’s life, much less how to transform 1,000,000 of them through music?
Our goal is not to create the next generation of musical virtuosos, professional musicians, or even future audiences for the performing arts—although any of those results would certainly be welcome! Our goal is simply to provide access to music education and the experience of attending a live music performance to a broad and diverse range of young people who may not otherwise have those opportunities.
But why is this so important? How does going to a music lesson or a concert transform a life?
The studies are clear that regardless of socioeconomic status, children who participate in music lessons have larger vocabularies, better listening skills, greater abstract reasoning abilities, improved memory, more advanced reading skills, score higher on standardized tests, work better in teams, and are more likely to stay in school and to pursue further education than those who do not participate in music lessons. These skills are critical to future success in life, whatever career a child grows up to pursue.
Despite these clear benefits, many school districts, and especially those in high-poverty areas, have eliminated or dramatically scaled back music education programs. These cuts are especially damaging because children from disadvantaged backgrounds, unlike their affluent peers, often do have access to enrichment experiences anywhere except at school. Due to cost and other issues, many private music programs are effectively out of reach for these underserved students.
In fact, a considerable body of research suggests that disadvantaged students especially benefit from high-quality arts education. One report produced by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) showed that “high levels of arts engagement by the lowest socioeconomic quarter of students corresponds with greater numbers of students who, for example, complete high school calculus, exercise the right to vote, do volunteer work, finish a Bachelor's degree and choose a professional career path. In short, the arts help create young adults who have better academic outcomes, are more civically engaged and exhibit higher career goals.”
Imagine the transformation that might be possible if 1,000,000 young people had access to music education who are currently denied that opportunity. Imagine the impact of fulfilling the StringBridge mission.
1,000,000 is a big number. How do we fulfil a mission to transform 1,000,000 lives? In 2019, our first year of operation, we will launch our two core programs: StringBridge Experiences and StringBridge Scholars; by the end of 2020, we plan to reach 1000 children. In each subsequent year, we will significantly expand these two programs, while also adding other programs to provide musical instruments, supplies, and other vital support to music education programs that will expand their capacity to reach students in need.
To transform 1,000,000 lives, we need your help. You can help by donating, in any amount that is meaningful to you, either to help support a StringBridge Experience or to sponsor a StringBridge Scholar. You can also help by giving of your time, expertise and/or connections: by serving as a member of our Board of Directors; hosting fundraising events; serving as regional leader of our programs in your area; or providing partnerships with your company or organization. It takes many people, partnerships, and other resources to transform 1,000,000 lives, and we would be happy to welcome you as a member of the StringBridge mission.
We were both fortunate to receive high-quality music instruction and other arts experiences as part of our public school educations; this early exposure to the arts was absolutely formative for both of us, and continues to enrich our lives both personally and professionally. The same is probably true for many of you. Through Stringbridge, we hope to give 1,000,000 of today’s children the same opportunities we had; we hope you’ll join us.
Shannon Fitzsimons Moen