Music is an important part of child education and recreation and is believed to be a key tool in a child's sequential learning process. Musical instruments and maintenance can be costly for schools, community centers, teachers and families, particularly in low-income areas. The good news is that a wide variety of charitable foundations award grants for students to get a musical instrument.

The American Suzuki Institute sponsors a number of children's music education programs in North, South and Central America and since inception has helped more than 2,800 aspiring music students in the US alone. In partnership with non-profit kid's music foundation MusicLink, Suzuki offers music teachers grant awards to reimburse them for musical instrument expenses or donates the instruments. The MusicLink program also offers music education scholarships and instrument assistance to children--from preschool to grade 12--at participating music schools and community centers nationwide. Parents can apply online at the MusicLink website.

Fender Guitar Company Grants

Well-known Fender Musical Instruments Corporation is a long-time supporter of youth-oriented music programs throughout the US. In lieu of cash grants, the Fender Music Foundation provides anywhere from $500 to $5,000 worth of musical instruments to youth music programs, under the stipulation that the instruments remain in possession of the program and are played by participating children. Most in-school and after-school music programs--as well as music therapy programs for children--are eligible for Fender music grants. You can begin your grant application process by completing a "Grant Candidate Form" available on the Fender Music Foundation site.

Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation

Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation serves underprivileged children across the country who have an interest in learning to play music. The foundation does not offer cash grants, but it contributes significant material support to youth music education programs. The Foundation's "Melody," "Special Projects" and "Michael Kames Solo Awards" programs award hundreds of low-income children from grades Kindergarten through 12 with new or refurbished musical instruments. The foundation also provides refurbishing services to financially handicapped youth music programs in need of instrument repair. The monetary value of Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation grants can reach up to $20,000. Applications are accepted annually.

Wanna Play Grant Program

The National Association of Music Manufacturers (NAMM) Foundation sponsors a youth music grant program called "Wanna Play." The program is designed to assist low-income public schools and community centers striving to create or reinstate youth music programs. Private schools and community centers that employ professional music education teachers and concentrate on sequential learning in music are also invited to apply, though low-income facilities take precedence. Grant award amounts vary on a case-by-case basis. Qualified applicants are awarded sufficient funds to supply students and teachers with the musical instruments and materials required to complete a well-rounded education in music.

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