Elementary schools getting instruments to the tune of $356,000

In what is surely music to the ears of budding violinists, trumpeters and drummers, the school board has approved spending nearly $356,000 to buy instruments to expand the arts programs at 185 elementary schools.

The purchase is part of an effort by the Arts Education Branch to strengthen instrumental music programs in the third through sixth grades. Students will be taught the basics, along with a wider repertoire of children’s classics and a diverse selection of musical genres. They will also benefit from an increase in the scope, sequence and depth of instruction.

“The purchase of these instruments allows for more of our LAUSD schools to offer instrumental music, which is the most requested arts form on the elementary level,” said Rory Pullens, executive director of Arts Education. “These instruments also allow for more students to take music instruction in schools that provide instrumental music, but do not have enough instruments for all the students who want to take the class.”

Each of the seven board districts will receive instruments for at least 20 of their schools.

“I am thankful for the all of the efforts of the LAUSD to build capacity for music education in our schools,” said Dr. Ref Rodriguez, the board member who represents District 5. “Because of the work of the Arts Education Department, over 30 elementary schools in my Board District alone will be given greater music access.”

The instruments will be available when the 2016-17 school year starts in August. Officials plan to buy affordable, durable instruments that are easy to repair and are well-suited for the distinctive demands of elementary children.

“I am thrilled that we are dedicating funds to provide more musical instruments to our schools and, most importantly, our students,” said Board Member Mónica Ratliff, who represents the Northeast San Fernando Valley. “My constituents made it very clear to me that they want the District to focus on increasing student access to arts instruction. I am excited that Mr. Pullens and Superintendent Michelle King are committed to the arts – and it shows.”