School music programs are hitting a sour note across the country.
Department cuts have greatly reduced, or eliminated, music education in school districts in an effort to save money.
Money is tight in the music department at School City of Mishawaka, but things are a bit brighter today, thanks to Martin's Super Market's One School at a Time grant.
Music teacher Rikki Thompson is eager to buy supplies for her classrooms.
With a patriotic concert coming up, the 5th graders are hard at work, practicing and dreaming.
Emily Swartz, a fifth grader, says, “When I grow up, I want to be a singer.”
Rikki Thompson is a firm believer that music is important in schools. It relieves stress and helps students in other subjects, too.
Peyton Robinson, another fifth grader, says, “We're learning different birthday songs from different countries. She taught us sign language, Spanish, German, a lot of them.”
Thompson says, “Everything we do in music can be incorporated into other subjects and help them overall.
She teaches these kids without extra money.
“With budget cuts the way they are, the music program in the School City of Mishawaka, they have zero dollars with the music programs this year…So, we literally have no money to buy concert programs, buy new instruments to replace, or anything like that that we need to teach our students music.”
What happens if an instrument breaks?
“If I can't fix it, then we don't have it anymore.”
That means students have to share.
The grant money will go towards supplies and new instruments, and that should help these kids find their own inner musician.
“There’s a lot of things that they can do in music. They can be a writer, they can be a singer, they can be an instrument player, and I hope that all of these students can be a musician in their own way, and I hope that they whatever it is that they can do.”
You can still apply to the One School at a Time grant program.
It is sponsored by Martin's Super Market.
The winning schools get a check for $1,000, and there is a new winner each month.
Schools only need to apply once, and you can do so by going to michianaschools.com.