Working together 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 8-16) by providing no-cost access to the primary bluegrass musical instruments such as mandolins, fiddles, banjos, and guitars.
As part of the Play It Forward! program, the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation works with local bluegrass clubs and associations to find musicians and music teachers who are willing to become a Bluegrass Mentor for those young people who seek to borrow instruments under the program.
The Play It Forward! program policies are similar to those of your public library:
- Young people will be required to complete an application process that includes providing valid identification and a parental permission form
- The estimated value of the instrument will be stated in an agreement that encourages responsibility for the instrument by the young borrower.
- Students will be asked to send a thank-you note to the instrument’s donor (if applicable) and the program underwriter.
In addition, borrowers will be asked to secure a sponsor Bluegrass 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 will maintain a fund for the maintenance and upkeep of the Play It Forward! program instruments. The Foundation will coordinate with the borrowers, and with the sponsor Bluegrass Mentor, to make sure that the instruments are properly cared for over time.
Loan periods will be for one year, with annual renewals encouraged following an inspection of the instrument by the borrower’s sponsor or music 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 the instrument, and the opportunity to learn, can be “played forward” to another deserving young person.
You can participate in this program by donating cash or bluegrass musical instruments to the program. 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.
In addition to community support, the Play It Forward! program is made possible by generous support from Pizza Hut.
For more information or if you would like to make a donation, please contact the Foundation.