By Ben Olson
Playing a musical instrument is a lifelong activity that enriches life, one note at a time. Musical for Life, a Sandpoint-based nonprofit organization, aims to give kids a jumpstart on their musical journeys by providing lessons and instruments to kids in need.
Brecon Bennett, who started the nonprofit in 2017 when she was just 14 years old, said she wanted to help welcome children “with open arms into the exquisite world of music.”
A Sip and Shop event at Pend d’Oreille Winery held Thursday, Feb. 13 from 4-8 p.m. will help raise funds for the organization. The winery will donate a percentage of every purchase during the event to the Musical for Life foundation, which provides financial assistance for students to attend its programs. Eligibility for financial assistance is based on financial need, as well as effort expended to practice and consistently attending lessons.
“One hundred percent of donations go towards the students and their instruments and/or lessons,” Bennett said. “Children in need of assistance are often referred to us through the local music teachers.”
Instructors, who teach in both group and individual settings, include Beth Weber teaching the violin; Fiddlin’ Red handling the fiddle, guitar, ukulele and mandolin; and Mika Hood specializing in cello. Musical for Life also partners with Bella Noté Music Studios, which specializes in music instruction for children.
“There are so many students who work for their whole life really to become a musician,” Weber told the Reader. “Sometimes their parents will have an event or issue that makes it impossible to pay for lessons. … With this program, it helps us both — the student gets to continue and the teacher gets to help them become a better student.”
Weber said teaching young people music can benefit them in many ways throughout their lives.
“In order to learn how to play music, you need to learn how to solve problems,” Weber said. “You have an instrument and you’re making a terrible sound. How do you fix that? … Also, because I sometimes teach in group settings, it helps students learn how to be in sync with other people, and that’s a really important thing in our society when we’re all by ourselves facing these devices these days. And those reasons don’t even mention the joy of playing music.”
Those interested in assistance can contact Musical for Life at 208-265-8545 to apply. If eligible for financial assistance, the organization will contact music teachers to establish the scholarship.
Musical for Life sip and shop • Thursday, Feb. 13; 4-8 p.m.; FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St., 208-265-8545. Learn more about Musical for Life at musicalforlife.com.
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