We might not know when schools will start up again, or what they might look like when they do, but more kids in the GTA will have access to instruments when classes begin.
The Hammer Band, a Toronto-based music education charity, announced Friday it has received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to expand its program to seven additional schools, helping another 200 students each year.
The students, in the Peel, Durham and Toronto areas, will receive a weekly music lesson and an instrument to keep for the year, all at no cost to them.
“We’re extremely grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for providing the necessary funding to enable us to reach more young students and provide them with all the benefits of our music education program,” said Moshe Hammer, the group’s executive director and a celebrated violinist.
The Hammer Band supports more than 1,200 students as it is, kids who might not otherwise be able to take lessons.
Most of the new schools to participate in The Hammer Band’s program are in the Durham region, building on an existing relationship, says Jacquie Protomanni of the Durham District School Board.
“The benefit of our students actively engaging in violin lessons is immense,” adds Stacey Lepine-Fisher, another school board member. “What we have observed from the program at Terry Fox Public School in Ajax is an increase in self-esteem for those that participated. The Hammer Band provides situations with an outlet to practice, receive feedback, make adjustments and see and hear positive changes that continue to build students’ confidence.”
To help kids that are missing out on their musical summer camps and other activities, The Hammer Band is also hosting a Summer Jam, a virtual experience with games, activities, lessons, practice challenges and online concerts. More information on that is available here.