Friday, January 22, 2010 , Updated 12:00 a.m., February 15, 2010
Fort Worth Music Co-Op taking up slack in music education
With funding for the arts in public schools rapidly depleting, a group of local musicians is stepping in to keep music in the hands of budding artists -- and that guitar collecting dust in your garage could help.
FORT WORTH The Fort Worth Music Co-Op is a gang of musicians and venues who work together to book and promote shows to ensure the vibrancy of their scene. Co-president Eric Griffey felt it was time they moved in the direction of non-profit status by adding an educational outreach program extending into the wider music community of Fort Worth.
“These musicians know the impact that music has had on their lives, and it is something they're trying to share,” said Griffey. “There has been an outpouring of support from the co-op of people wanting to teach.”
Enter the guitar. With no shortage of guitar players within the co-op already teaching lessons (and the relatively cheap pricing of the instrument), the co-op ran with the idea. Soon they teamed up with the Fort Worth ISD, who enthusiastically welcomed the idea -- with many board members having bemoaned the fact that the arts budget has been systematically cut from the children's curriculum in favor of more TAKS-centric classes.
By the first week of school, the co-op has managed to salvage two guitar programs at Carter-Riverside and the IMA International Language Academy (with a possible addition of a jazz program) by offering after school private lessons in place of the lost curriculum. This works out well for the co-op, as many of their target low-income students are already enrolled in the after school program.
“We wanted to start with 20 students for the program, and we are very close to that even though the program hasn't started in earnest,” Griffey said, adding, “we haven't even given anything away yet.”
The co-op is now in the throes of an intense guitar drive to collect starter kits and used guitars for the students to use. It is critical that the students be able to take the guitars home to practice and connect with the instrument. They would like to expand the program to more instruments in following semesters, and won't turn away a stray flute, trumpet, or monetary donation.
Instruments can be dropped off at the Blue Grotto and all donations are tax-deductible. Used guitars will be refurbished by a Co-Op volunteer, and they are looking to add drop locations in Denton and Dallas.
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