The model of an Oak Park and River Forest-based organization that provides low-income children with access to instrumental music education will be a featured topic at the January 26 annual conference of the Illinois Music Educators Association.
PING! (Providing Instruments for the Next Generation) has been invited to present “Access for All: Replicating the PING! Model” at the upcoming meeting. PING! board president Susan Parks and local instrumental music teachers Gabby Rosenblum from Beye School and Anthony Svejda from OPRF High School will be the featured presenters. The session will offer attendees step-by-step guidelines, lessons learned, and resources they can use to start similar organizations in their communities.
Now in its 15th year, PING! has grown from a mother’s 1998 observation about the lack of diversity she saw at her child’s instrumental music concert into a community-wide organization that serves students in all local elementary schools and OPRF High School.
“What we do is unique and makes a real difference,” Parks says. “Each year we provide instruments and music enrichment to more than 160 low-income students in grades four through 12 from districts 90, 97, and 200. The benefits of a music education are well known. With the dedicated support of our individual donors, grant providers, and volunteers, PING! helps ensure that all children in our community have access to those benefits. Our board and school district partners felt it was a good time to share our methods so that other communities can learn from and replicate what we do.”
More information about PING! can be found at www.pingoprf.org.