By Carolyn Irvine
Drowning school music programs are being thrown a lifesaver this week.
Borders Bookstore and Caf? and VH1 are hosting a program called “Save the Music” to fight against the loss of funding for school music programs.
Borders Bookstore Community Relations Coordinator Carina Wytiaz said the program will run at the Provo Borders Bookstore until June 18.
Wytiaz said the president of Borders will be there every day during the week to promote the program.
“Save the Music’s” focus is to get people to give more support to music and donate their used instruments to local school music programs, Wytiaz said.
“You know, get out that oboe you’ve had in your closet for the past 20 years and donate it,” Wytiaz said.
Wytiaz said many people have old instruments collecting dust somewhere in their house. She said people should donate them to children who can benefit from them.
Instruments can be dropped off at Borders Bookstore any time this week, Wytiaz said. The first instrument, a tambourine, has already been donated.
Dave Fullmer from the Provo School District spoke during the “Save the Music” kick-off on June 12. Fullmer said Provo schools are strong compared to others that are struggling around the country. However, he said schools and students still need support from the community.
Fullmer said school music education is important because the study of music increases intelligence.
Citing a 1995 study from the Profiles of SAT and ACT Test Takers, Fullmer said that studying the arts is directly related to higher SAT and ACT test scores.
“We can talk about SAT and ACT scores being higher … but the bottom line is that making music is a lot of fun,” Fullmer said.
Fullmer said he has never met a musician who ever regretted playing an instrument.
A school music program is what opened the door for Wytiaz to enter the world of music.
“If it weren’t for the public school system, I would not have had the opportunity to experience music education,” Wytiaz said.
Merrill Jensen, BYU Music Director and film composer, also spoke at Monday’s kick-off event. Jensen said he struggled with the balance in high school between sports and music.
Jensen said he finally understood the importance of music when his band teacher sat him down and said Jensen would never play sports after high school, but he would play music.
“It’s true. I don’t play football anymore, I don’t run track, I don’t strap on cleats … but I have played the trumpet,” Jensen said.
Jensen said the best way to help keep kids interested in music is to volunteer time, donate instruments and find ways to keep music exciting.