Twelfth Annual Effort to Bring Donated, Restored Instruments to Underfunded Colorado Schools

Nothing lifts spirits in challenging times like making music, and the annual Bringing Music to Life Instrument Drive intends to bring that gift to Colorado students in underfunded music programs. The annual drive, now in its 12th year, and adapted to ensure safe social distancing, will run from March 7-20.

Coloradans are asked to bring the gently-used band and orchestra instruments they no longer play to any of 17 donation locations across the state. All locations can be found here Bringing Music to Life.

Even if you don’t have an instrument, you can still help by contributing to the repair fund. Donations go to repairing and refurbishing donated instruments, ensuring that they’re in excellent condition when awarded to students. Technicians at the Colorado Institute of Musical Instrument Technology (CIOMIT) and Boomer Music Company in Fort Collins will repair the donated instruments for delivery to deserving school music programs before the start of the 2022-23 school year.

“Instrument repairs are the single greatest expense of the program, with the average repair costing us about $165,” explained Music to Life executive director Steve Blatt. “We especially thank CIOMIT for continuing to appraise and repair instruments at a deep discount on labor.”

Despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic, last year’s drive awarded 597 donated instruments to 41 music programs across the state. After receiving donated instruments from the 2021 drive for her Liberty Point International School in Pueblo, music teacher Yvette Teschner said, “These musical instruments will bring more smiles and happiness to my students.”

Michael Horsford, music instructor at the Aurora Academy Charter School, pointed to another dimension of music education for students who are also learning to speak English. “Learning and performing instrumental music takes away the language barrier and offers these students a new and different way to communicate.”

As students and their families continue to cope with the impact of COVID-19, music can play an even more vital role in their lives. Music teacher Carolyn Warpinski, director of bands and choirs at Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences in Denver noted, “Music is always a reminder of something bigger than yourself, whether it’s an awareness of the composer of a piece or connection to the other students making music with you.”

“Study after study shows the positive impact that learning music has on children,” Blatt said. “Their listening skills improve, as well as creative thinking, self-discipline and self-esteem. Students learn the value of persevering and how to work with others toward a common goal. We’re excited about reaching even more children, schools, and communities this year.”

Schools that have a majority of students receiving free or reduced-cost lunches are encouraged to apply for instruments now through March 31 using the online application form. Bringing Music to Life will match qualifying schools with donated instruments.

For more information about Bringing Music to Life, visit

FAST FACTS: The Instrument Drive
Dates: March 7-20, 2021

Locations: 17 donation locations available throughout the state of Colorado. Visit for a complete list.

Instruments Needed: Band and orchestra instruments in good condition, including strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, guitars, and electronic keyboards. We cannot accept upright and grand pianos or organs.

Applications for Instruments: Teachers and principals can apply online at
The deadline is March 31, 2022. 

Notes of Interest: 

  • Bringing Music to Life was founded in 2014 by executive director Steve Blatt as a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center to continue the instrument drives he had established and managed at Colorado Public Radio.
  • As a result of the 2021 Drive, Bringing Music to Life awarded 597 instruments to 41 Colorado elementary, middle, and high schools. Since the drives began, more than 6,500 instruments have been awarded.
  • Because a new student gains access to each donated instrument after its previous user graduates, BMtL estimates conservatively that more than 17,500 Colorado students have benefited from the past eleven years of Instrument Drive donations.
  • Instrument repairs are the single largest cost of this effort, with repairs averaging about $165 per instrument. The Colorado Institute of Musical Instrument Technology and Boomer Music Company repair donated instruments for Bringing Music to Life, with CIOMIT doing so at a significant discount on labor.
  • Instrument donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Photo courtesy of Bringing Music to Life

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