Fender Grant Helps Bring Music to Kids

Tears welled up in Julie Schultz’s eyes when she received a phone call during her general music class at the end of the 2012-13 academic year.

Schultz was being notified that out of 800 schools that applied, Bridge Street Middle School received a grant from the Fender Music Foundation providing close to $50,000 for musical instruments and supplies to strengthen the music program.

For four years, Schultz has been one of three music teachers at the middle school.

“We got 32 guitars, 24 of which were acoustic while eight were electric,” Schultz said before her eighth-grade general music class Friday. “We got four bass guitars, two complete drum sets, two banjos, two violins, six mandolins and six ukuleles.”

The new supply of instruments will be used for a multitude of things, Schultz said. She said the music program at Bridge Street Middle School incorporates bluegrass music, West Virginia folk music, world music, chorus, band, rock band and strings.

Schultz said the grant application process began early in the spring semester when she applied online, giving the basic information about the school including the student population and how many students participated in the free lunch program.

During the first round of applications, Schultz said the middle school was one of 30 chosen to receive eight new guitars for their music programs. A few months later, she said the Fender Music Foundation offered to let Bridge Street Middle School send in a video application for the larger grant.

“We only had a week to come up with everything we needed,” Schultz said.

Once the video application was done, Schultz said the waiting process began. She said it was anxious waiting because only winners ever hear back from the foundation.

“It took about two months before I heard anything,” Schultz said.

Schultz said she is looking forward to using the new equipment to further music education.

“These can be used for all aspects of the music program,” Schultz said.

After use, the instruments were carefully stowed in their own spaces, which Schultz labeled in honor of some great performers of modern music: Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix.