West Virginia middle schools in all 55 counties are benefiting from the VH1 Save the Music Foundation grants.
The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History is working alongside this foundation to provide musical instruments, ongoing program management and materials for music education.
“Band provides students to be involved with a group; they have goals to meet. Of course, they are playing music, being creative. I think it is very important to keep those programs alive and strong,” said Tucker County Music Director Rob Masten.
Representatives from the VH1 Save the Music Foundation visited Randolph and Tucker County schools to celebrate the commitment to arts and music education.
“The love of music, the commitment, and the importance of students are the same,” said Chiho Feindler of VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
“The school district have to commit to provide a fulltime certified music teacher teaching during the school day in a dedicated classroom.”
Officials say budget cuts make it challenging for schools to maintain music and band programs for students.
“Brand new instruments are very expensive. This enables us to provide instruments for students who normally couldn’t afford a brand new instrument,” said Masten.
Public schools throughout the state are making the programs a priority, and noticing the benefit for students.
“The state-level leadership really committed that mission,” said Feindler.
“Kids really need to have an outlet, and band is such a good one. They have turned into really good leaders and not just leaders but cheerleaders. They are really encouraging the younger kids. So, I think it’s sort of making—we’re developing a band family,” said Tygarts Valley High School Band DIrector Barbara Green.
Since 1997, the foundation has partnered with nearly 2,000 public schools and given 2.6 million students the tools to learn and grow their passion for music.