Streams

The Instrument That Changed Your Life

Monday, March 24, 2014

french horn, musical instrument (Kate Tomlinson/flickr)

WQXR is collecting your gently used musical instruments and distributing them to schoolchildren in music classrooms in the area. Graham Parker, general manager of WQXR, explains how the instrument drive works as we take your calls about a musical instrument that changed your life.

Guests:

Graham Parker

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Comments [18]

Andy Polon from Manhattan

I really enjoyed reading several comments here -- especially about the music store near where I grew up, which was "Levitt & Elrod."
I spent most of my youth playing guitar in New York City, and after that in Chicago where I went to my first college. I became a professional guitarist, and I was in the Right Place at the right time. Manhattan was great for learning guitar of various styles. The 1960s were full of players (both skilled and beginners). I was truly blessed, and I hope today's youth can have a chance to play instruments.
Let's hope the instrument drive continues to thrive, even past the deadline.

Mar. 30 2014 11:34 PM
Vanildo Xavier Jr

Manda uma horn in fa para mim,ficarei muito grato.

Mar. 30 2014 11:05 PM
Tony from Ambler, PA

Mine was the Piano which lead me to the Organ. I am currently the Organist/Music Director at Olivet-Schwenkfelder UCC in East Norriton. Thank you Mom for making me take Piano Lessons!

Mar. 30 2014 06:48 PM
Victor Stabin from JIM THORPE PA

Dear Brian
I was listening to New Sounds
When John asked what's your favorite musical decade
I thought 1963 - I want to hear Coltrane not live but in person
Than you came on and spoke my thoughts

QUESTION - What Coltrane song were you talking over?

For my Jazz Money there is nothing that comes close to
Coltrane playing 'My Favorite Things" live at Newport 1963.

Sincerely

Victor

PS - I'm the guy who gave you the BRIAN LEHRER print with the schmancy type face.

Mar. 25 2014 01:17 AM
Victor Stabin from JIM THORPE PA

Dear Brian
I was listening to New Sounds
When John asked what's your favorite musical decade
I thought 1963 - I want to hear Coltrane not live but in person
Than you came on and spoke my thoughts

QUESTION - What Coltrane song were you talking over?

For my Jazz Money there is nothing that comes close to
Coltrane playing 'My Favorite Things" live at Newport 1963.

Sincerely

Victor

PS - I'm the guy who gave you the BRIAN LEHRER print with the schmancy type face.

Mar. 25 2014 01:16 AM
Irv from Queens

I was a band director at a NYC High School for the last sixteen years, but quit recently because my Principal shut down the Band Room and changed the locks on the door.
She did this because a student had stolen a few instruments, and she refused to report it to the police, because she thought the DOE would could close the school down if they found out that the crime rate in the school was going up.
I caught the student fifteen minutes after he stole the flutes, and took him down to the Dean's Office, and he wasn't even suspended!
Instead I was written up for "letting" the student steal the instrument, and when I complained, written up again for 'insubordination'.
The next day, I found a notice saying the band room was closed, and I had to teach a band class in a classroom without storage space.
The school has since closed down its band program (which had been in place since the 1930's), and there are about 100 musical instruments going to waste in the storage room.
What point is having an instrument drive if the DOE is encouraging Principals such as this woman (who was promoted to a prestigious administration position)to close down music programs in NYC?
The last I heard was that even Bayside HS' music program is in danger of being shut down...

Mar. 24 2014 12:44 PM
Kierstin from New jersey

We bought my daughter a great but older, used flute on craigslist because renting one was just too expensive. . Everything was great until the 2nd time we had to have it the padded ($250 a pop) when asked why this was happening 2x in 5 years, they looked at the case and said. I think you may have "pad worms". That was gross so I googled it. Turnabout when a pad instent is stored these worms can infest the case. Long story short, buy anew case for $25 or so and skip the extra $250 for new pads Plus its gross.

Mar. 24 2014 12:06 PM
Jesse from Manhattan

I have a cornet that was given to me by my long time teacher and great friend Laurie Frink. Laurie has taught thousands of trumpet players from around the globe, and touched the lives of nearly every brass player in NYC--either from her studio or from the bandstand. She passed away this summer, and so I never got to give back the instrument (it was on 'permanent loan' for several years). I like to think that she would be happy that I am still playing and teaching with it, and I always enjoy telling the story when people ask me about it at shows.

Mar. 24 2014 12:02 PM
Jerry

When I was 11 years old, there was a Sears Silvertone guitar in our house. One day I picked it up, learned a few chords from a song book, and I was instantly hooked. I have never stopped playing. But the guitar was so badly set up and hard to play that I also acquired the bad habit using way too much force to hold down the strings, which took an enormous amount of work to unlearn! So if you have or know a child who is starting to play an instrument, do them a favor and be sure that it is in a playable condition so that they aren't struggling unnecessarily.

Mar. 24 2014 11:58 AM
anonymous

I love this idea and hope my instrument is appropriate. Is there any provision for evaluating the value of donated instruments? Thanks!

Mar. 24 2014 11:56 AM
Andrea from Rockland

The instrument drive is so important. The benefits of music education has been scientifically measured by the Harmony Project. http://www.harmony-project.org/

Mar. 24 2014 11:55 AM
Robert from NYC

I started piano lessons at 8 and around 12 when I joined the Columbia Record club there was in the monthly brochure as a selection an album Bach at Zwolle with a photo of E Power Biggs on the back cover sitting at the console of St. Michael's church in Zwolle, Nederlands. It was a 4 manual and I had no idea why there were 4 manuals. When my brother asked me why there were 4 manuals I decided that the organ was tuned in 1/4 tones opposed to the 1/2 tones of the piano, so you needed more keyboards than a piano! I have an imagination so what? Anyway I ordered that album, fell in love with Bach and organ music and decided to study organ, went on the NY College of Music, did just that and became an organist.

I own in my apt a full pedal board, 2 manual Johannus digital organ. Maybe I'll pass it on to a student who's studying organ. That's a good idea QXR is promoting. Excellent!

Mar. 24 2014 11:55 AM
Dani from NYC

The instrument drive is a splendid idea. Will you take instruments that may need some repair? We have a great old violin that needs strings and a trumpet that needs a some tinkering..

Mar. 24 2014 11:55 AM

Thank you for this segment and for the idea of redistributing instruments.

I can't remember how many times I was walking around high school, seeing expensive instruments around town, and just wishing and wishing I had something more capable than the $70 electric bass that my parents could afford at Levitt & Elrod on the Upper West Side back in the 70s.

Fortunately, a girl in my public high school heard me playing and remarked that her family had an old string bass in their house. There was a sad story there -- the father had played bass, had died, and the family had kept the instrument in his memory. But the neck had snapped and the unusable instrument had become a burden.

This found me, in the late 1970s, getting off the 1 train at 145th St., and walking through Harlem by myself to find their home. It was an adventure. I carried home this busted bass and had it reset by a great luthier -- David Gage, who is still in business -- and I still have this bass to this day.

I play it all the time. It's a great instrument and it changed my life.

Mar. 24 2014 11:55 AM
Penny from Downtown

We have a clarinet that my sister played in a Texas marching band, then I played less successfully, and then my two younger brothers played. One day my brother was strolling to his 1980s art band in the East Village and was mugged by a gang of elementary school kids. He put the clarinet case on the ground and kneeled on it so the kids only got his money. When he got home, the kids were lined up on the stoop opposite his building with their heads down. One of the fathers then returned my brother's wallet. I guess fathers do count.

Mar. 24 2014 11:54 AM
Andrew from West Village

My city provided French Horn was the highlights of my Junior High and Senior High school years. Music also provided an opportunity for a college scholarship.

Mar. 24 2014 11:53 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I play several instruments and intend to keep any I still have, though I may bequest them in my Will. However, what is more important to me is that each and every school have both instrumental and vocal teachers, full time. Music is one of the most basic and intuitive parts of being human and should not be neglected.

Mar. 24 2014 11:52 AM
Dan from Brooklyn

Are these instrument donations tax deductible?

Mar. 24 2014 11:52 AM

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