Participation in the second annual Kids Music Day on Oct. 6, 2017, skyrocketed with 420 music schools in 42 states and four countries taking part. Last year, 85 schools in 23 states held events. Created by Keep Music Alive, Kids Music Day includes open houses, instrument donation drives, community performances, open mikes, and “instrument petting zoos,” where students could try playing different instruments.
“The idea is to get the community engaged with what [the schools are] doing, to let them know that [the programs are] there and what’s available, and [to] show them why music education is so important,” says Vincent James, president and co-founder of Keep Music Alive. “We want to help raise awareness in their communities to help them do more because, in the end, we’re trying to benefit the kids, so that when they get out of high school, they have as many opportunities as possible to experience music and music education.”
These opportunities and life lessons were ones James says he didn’t fully appreciate until he got older. He started playing trombone in fourth grade and says his time in band was an “instrumental time in his life.”
For next year’s Kids Music Day, Keep Music Alive plans on partnering with music programs in public, private, and charter schools. “To me, that’s where it starts because not everybody has the financial resources to go and pay for an outside music school program, but we all have to go to [regular] school,” James says.