Donated Instruments Feed Children’s Musical Souls

When children are given musical instruments for the first time, chances are they will make godawful rackets with them. They will leap about, yell and scream, and make noises those instruments never were meant to make. They will laugh heartily, get bored and move on to the next amusement.

Some of those kids, though, will continue to play once the initial glorious cacophony subsides. They will discover, to their delight, that what they’re playing is beginning to sound less like chaos and more like music.

And when those instruments are collected at the end of the day, those kids will rush home and ask their parents to buy them a guitar, or keyboard, or drum or horn.

Some parents will be delighted that their child wants to pursue music. Some will purchase earplugs along with the instrument.

Some parents, though, will feel that horrible, pit-of-the-stomach misery that comes when they have to deny their child’s request.

With gasoline and milk both pushing toward $5 a gallon, musical instruments may be considered an extravagance for some families.

Maybe the school can provide an instrument? Perhaps, if budget cuts haven’t forced that school to cut music out of its curriculum. Many have.

Fortunately, there are organizations such as Recycled Tunes. Recycled Tunes was established in 2013 by the Gasparilla Music Foundation, the organization that stages the annual Gasparilla Music Festival in Curtis Hixon Park. GMF created the 501(c)(3) nonprofit in response to schools discontinuing music and arts programs due to budget cuts.

Recycled Tunes collects donations of used musical instruments in good condition. The instruments are cleaned, refurbished as needed and donated to Title 1 schools in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. As the program has grown, it also provides new as well as used instruments, along with repairs and related supplies to classrooms.

Recycled Tunes’ reasons for doing this are as simple as they are profound. From RT’s website:

“Music education is a critical aspect of providing children with a well-rounded education. When allowed to work in harmony with other subjects and areas of study, music helps children grow in self-esteem, build essential skills and prepare for bright futures.”

There are groups all over the U.S. who collect musical instruments to place them in the hands of kids ready to express themselves. Among them are Hungry for Music, Global Music Project and Spirit of Harmony.

May 22 is National Buy a Musical Instrument Day. Donating an instrument – one you buy on May 22 or one you haven’t played since May 22, 2002 – could change someone’s life. For more information, visit the Recycled Tunes website, send an email to or call (813) 708-8423.

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