In June 2018, the Tedrock Fund awarded 10,000 dollars to two amazing organizations that provide music education for inner city kids. We made our first award to the ZUMIX Music School, whom we founded the Tedrock Fund to benefit. Ted Collins had gotten to know about this school by playing at a fundraiser for them with the Figgs. During this event, he got to see first hand how ZUMIX was making a meaningful impact on the kids whom they served. Several bands of students played alongside the Figgs and they exuded confidence and mastery of their instruments. While still young, and having many years of practicing ahead of them, these students had caught the spark. They collectively were experiencing joy in the performance of their sets, and this was contagious to members of the audience who couldn’t help but feel their excitement as they nodded along to the beats of the songs.
Ted met the management of ZUMIX and took a tour of the school’s facilities that was led by the students. Once again, he saw what pride the students took in their school, in their opportunities to learn and make music there, and in their community of fellow music lovers. After playing at this event, Ted proclaimed that this was one of the most meaningful shows he ever played at. He was so inspired.
Our second award was to the Community Music Center of Boston (CMCB). This organization began at the turn of the 20th century as two music education centers for immigrant children. Over the past 100+ years, they have grown into an organization that provides music education and performance arts opportunities to children all over the City of Boston. We met with the management of the school and learned more about their mission earlier this spring. We learned that CMCB has been providing direct services through their South End music school and at several outreach
centers throughout Boston. In addition, for over 40 years, CMCB has been placing music educators into Boston public schools that do not have the resources to offer music education programming. Some schools have had a music teacher for the entire duration of this outreach program. Other schools rely upon CMCB to provide gap funding to place educators at their schools during periods where they have budget shortfalls that preclude their ability to fund their arts programming. While most of us over the age of forty remember having music classes for free, and it was a given that you could pursue this interest if you had the desire, today music education is hard to access, especially in inner city schools. CMCB is filling this need and has an expansive and devoted staff of music educators who are committed to lighting the spark in the next generation of musicians.
When we think about what 10,000 dollars can accomplish when the need for music education philanthropy is so great, we consider this potential tangible outcome.
We are assuming that the average music lesson is 25 dollars, and that it takes at least four lessons to spark genuine interest. There’s that feeling you get when you successfully make an open chord on a guitar and then piece together three different chords in a row to start playing a melody. It is that “Aha!” moment that makes you want to keep at it, to keep learning new chords and hearing them ring out as your fingers start to develop muscle memory… the spark. If our assumptions are correct, then we’ve put 100 sparks out there that can catch and start a flame that can grow into a fire that will burn for years to come. 100 sparks are flying, from the fire that burned within Ted Collins and warmed the hearts of his friends and fellow musicians. 100 sparks is a good start.