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Give an instrument, change a life through the WI Conservatory of Music instrument drive

Seventh grader Aaron Cowap plays drums amidst a blue curtain background with small white stars
Courtesy of Andy Nelson
Aaron Cowap recieved the drum set he has at home from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music's instrument drive. The next instrument drive is this Saturday.

Do you remember playing an instrument in school? Or maybe you know how expensive it can be to get instruments for your children. This Saturday, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music is holding an instrument drive, where they will collect used instruments to donate to kids beginning their musical journeys.

Teresa Drews, director of education and piano faculty at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, helps organize the instrument drives that gives hundreds of kids their own instruments for their first time. The goal is to collect instruments gathering dust in attics or storage, refurbish them and get them in the hands of kids.

The drive began in 2017 and is held every two years, making this the fourth instance of it. And while the Conservator accepts instrument donations on a continual basis, the drive is an opportunity to call specific attention to changing a students life through generosity.

"We accept any instruments that are in working order. So, you don't need to have them evaluated by a professional. But they should be able to play the keys, go down the button [with] the valves working in some sort. But we do spend upwards of t least $200.00 to $250 average to repair every instrument before it goes in the hands of a student," explains Drews. The Conservatory is willing to accept instruments in most conditions but also ask donators to provide something that a student can reasonably work with.

Drews clarifies,"We don't turn people away, but we do ask that you bring something in that you would be proud to hand over to another student," she says. "It could be life changing once you get it in the person's hands who can really use it and has ownership over it. It's something that they're going to spend so much time, one-on-one with."

The Conservatory also accepts donations of instrument cases as well. Anyone interested in donating can find locations, hours and more information here.


Sam is a WUWM production assistant for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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