In today’s world, music programs are suffering- and what is life without music? It is the universal language. It contains words that cannot be said, and it embodies the mind and spirit of some of the greatest minds in the known history of the world. A swift uplifting song can bring light to your day while a listening to first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata can draw a tear to your eye.
Long ago patrons would pay for young and talented musicians like to learn from the highest quality of teacher possible so that they could enjoy the gift of music; and thus also allowing the musician to enjoy their craft. Today, however, we find ourselves days and dollars short of providing these types of opportunities to the youth of America- especially in the public school sector…
With that in mind, allow us to introduce you to Music For Everyone. Music For Everyone is a local non-profit musical organization that dedicates itself to continual outreach projects, instrumental purchases, and the offering of musical grants to local schools in the School District of Lancaster (and now also schools in Colombia, PA) to give flight to musical opportunities. If you’re unfamiliar with MFE, perhaps you’ve had the pleasure of playing some of the pianos in Lancaster City that have been placed there over the past 10 years- yes, MFE is behind those public pianos as well!
With budgets being cut more than ever due to lack of funding for arts and music programs, it is more pertinent than ever for the allocation of funding for young budding musicians. Whether it’s instrumental budgets, repair budgets (an unreachable upkeep cost for many urban schools), or simply having enough staff to instruct your students, it is often difficult to have enough resources to manage a music program.
This is where Music For Everyone (MFE) comes onto the scene. Over the last decade MFE has donated more than $1,600,000 to local musical efforts. Every year the numbers from their campaign for music raise and more and more money to help bolster the hopes and dreams of young musicians to become a reality. Due to their efforts, more than 5,500 students have been mentored, nearly 600 instruments have been donated to schools in need, and more than 30 scholarships have been given to young music education, music performance, and music business and technology majors to give additional aid at local schools to reduce the stress and strain of the overworked general music teachers to allow them to better prep themselves for their overwhelming schedule and large classroom numbers.
On top of getting the money together to help gather instruments and scholarships for educating the young, they also provide music mentors for brasswinds, woodwinds, percussionists, and string players alike. Through the utilization of the mentors, they are able to connect with the various music teachers of the districts they assist and allow for schedules to be drafted that best fit the schedules of each school in the district. While not all schools may be helped a single time, they hours are spread out for mentors to allow the greatest distribution of assistance to the greatest number of schools possible that can fit into their schedules. This way the general music teachers for each district can focus on their classroom work rather than spreading themselves too thin by also having to give up prep time or lunch time to try to teach lessons.
There are multiple events in Lancaster that you can attend to give support to MFE as well as to enjoy an evening of music and socializing with some of the musicians that are either performing that evening or are either mentors or a part of the MFE community that allows for the program to succeed. Their next event for the year is the Great Big Piano Party, which will be held on 4/27/19- tickets should become available soon! If you’ve never been to one of these events, it’s a great time for all!
On top of providing lessons during the school year, MFE also provides an opportunity for the students in the School District of Lancaster to get together over the summer to practice, learn, and perform in a group concert with their Summer Music Camp. The camp takes place over two different weeks and ends with a culminating concert that features small and large string groups ranging in skill levels from beginner to proficient. The same can be done with the brass and woodwind students in addition to a full band performance option.
Lastly, the camps offer young musicians their first real opportunity to perform in a full orchestra performance scenario where strings and wind instruments play together to play a common piece that they (as well as the audience) will enjoy. All of this happens in a single week- and each camp features different music and opportunities for the musicians involved. It costs nothing to participate, and MFE does everything they can to arrange transportation for any participant that is unable to secure a ride to their practice and performance space to assure that any who are interested are able to perform with their colleagues. There is also food available to musicians who need a snack or drink during their lunchtime.
In essence, Music For Everyone is everything that could be asked for to produce great musical opportunities for the youth of Lancaster- and for that reason, it should be a non-profit that always stays relevant and available to the public. If you’ve never been to anything affiliated with MFE, you should try to make it to an event or concert to see what it’s all about- we’re positive you won’t be disappointed!