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Making music can lift spirits, and the Bringing Music to Life Instrument Drive ensures students in underfunded music programs have access to the instruments they need.

Now in its 12th annual year, the instrument drive this year runs March 7-20.

Anybody who has a gently-used band or orchestra instrument they no longer play is asked to donate it at any of the 17 donation sites which are located across the state. The instrument is repaired and cleaned, and then is provided to a school in need. Though the instrument goes to the schools, the teachers assign the instrument to a student, who gets to keep it as their own for the entire time they are enrolled in the school’s music program.

“Study after study shows the positive impact that learning music has on children,” said Steve Blatt, founder and executive director of Bringing Music to Life, in a news release. “Their listening skills improve, as well as creative thinking, self-discipline and self-esteem. Students learn the value of persevering and how to work with others toward a common goal. We’re excited about reaching even more children, schools and communities this year.”

Last year’s drive had a turnout of 597 donated instruments, which benefitted 41 music programs across the state. To date, since the program’s founding in 2014, roughly 17,500 Colorado students have benefited from the more than 6,500 instruments that have been donated through the Bringing Music to Life program.

Instruments needed include band and orchestra instruments in good condition, including strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, guitars and electronic keyboards. Upright and grand pianos or organs cannot be accepted.

Those who do not have an instrument to donate may still participate in the drive by donating to the drive’s repair fund. These funds go toward repairing and refurbishing the instruments, which is the greatest expense of the program, Blatt said. This work is done by technicians at the Colorado Institute of Musical Instrument Technology (CIOMIT) and Boomer Music Company in Fort Collins and they ensure every instrument is in excellent condition by the time it is provided to the student.

All donations are tax deductible.

Schools that have a majority of students receiving free or reduced-cost lunches are encouraged to apply for instruments through March 31. Bringing Music to Life will match qualifying schools with donated instruments.

“Music is always a reminder of something bigger than yourself,” said Carolyn Warpinski, music teacher and director of bands and choirs at Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences in Denver, in a news release, “whether it’s an awareness of the composer of a piece or connection to the other students making music with you.”

To learn more about the Bringing Music to Life program or to find a list of donation locations, visit bringingmusictolife.org.