Free Instrument Lending Program for Young People
Working with bluegrass associations and music teachers, Play It Forward!, the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s Instrument Lending Program, helps foster music literacy and performance skills in deserving young people (ages 8-21) by providing no-cost access to the primary bluegrass musical instruments such as mandolins, fiddles, banjos, guitars, and resonator guitars.
As part of the Play It Forward! program, the Foundation works with local bluegrass clubs and associations to find musicians and music teachers who are willing to become mentors for young people who wish to borrow starter instruments under the program.
The Play It Forward! program operates much like your public library:
• Young people will be required to complete an application and provide parental consent to participation
• The estimated value of the instrument will be stated in an agreement that encourages responsibility for the instrument by the borrower.
• Participants are expected to send a thank-you note to the instrument donor, if applicable, or to the Foundation.
In addition, participants will be asked to secure a mentor in their area who will assist them in learning the basics of their chosen instrument and the etiquette of playing with others in a disciplined musical environment.
Because maintaining instruments is necessary to keeping them easy and fun to play (and to keeping them viable for many years), the Foundation maintains a fund for the maintenance and upkeep of the program instruments. The Foundation will coordinate with the participants, and with their mentors, to make sure that the instruments are properly cared for over time.
Loan periods are for one year, with additional annual renewals possible following an inspection of the instrument by the participant’s mentor, teacher, or the Foundation. When the borrower is ready to acquire an instrument of their own, they must return the borrowed instrument to the Foundation so that it can be “played forward” to another deserving young person.
You can participate in this program by donating cash or bluegrass musical instruments. The Foundation will make sure that donated instruments are in good working order before they are offered for use by a young person. Donors will receive a receipt for their donation and the assurance that their donation will benefit a deserving young person. Here’s a short video about the program.
For more information or if you would like to make a donation, please contact the Foundation.