Hattie asked, “Can I hug my violin?” Kendrick exclaimed, “I am playing higher notes with my new trumpet!” John said, “I can’t let go of it” about his new violin. Such are the responses of students in southwest Louisiana upon receiving refurbished musical instruments from MusicMakers2U (MM2U). Their “new” instruments were provided through the generosity of donors who no longer have a use for them.
The MM2U Foundation was established in August 2013 as a non-profit organization created to provide students with the gift of music. The premise behind MM2U is that many school students have a desire to play a musical instrument but no means to obtain one. At the same time, many instruments have been silenced as they sit on closet shelves or in attics collecting dust. By pairing donated instruments with students desiring to play them, MM2U restores sound to the instrument and a voice to the student.
MM2U is made aware of students desiring to play through their educational instructors who are integral players in the program’s success. Once MM2U accepts an instrument, it is professionally cleaned, refurbished and repaired before being assigned to a student. Since MM2U’s short inception, 30 instruments have been donated and 10 pairings completed – all prior to publicly announcing MM2U’s formation.
Dr. Jeffrey J. Lemke, coordinator of instrumental music education at McNeese State University, states, “By helping improve academic achievement, build self-esteem, teach critical social skills, and engender creativity and innovation, MM2U helps to ignite the spark of creativity that lies within all children and inspires a love of learning.”
An added benefit for students participating in an MM2U is the parental involvement that comes with the pairing. Students accepting an MM2U instrument also agree to accept the responsibility of taking care of their instrument. The ‘cost” for the student in accepting the gift is the understanding that they now have an obligation to care for and practice on the instrument, to participate in school activities and to have the maturity necessary to return the instrument if their musical interest ever wanes.
For MM2U to grow contributions are being requested for instrument donations. Financial support is also needed to clean and refurbish the instruments. For further information, contact Eva LeBlanc, MM2U President, by calling 337-244-9314, by emailing musicmakers2U@gmail.com or by writing MM2U, P.O. Box 7964, Lake Charles, LA 70606.
Check out MM2U’s Facebook page to see posting of pairing photos.