By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4)– The Bringing Music to Life Instrument Drive is collecting donations for students at underfunded programs so they can also benefit from playing in band or orchestra at their schools. The instruments can change the course of a student’s life.

(credit: Bringing Music to Life)

“A student will use an instrument and consider it his or own as long as they’re enrolled there,” said Steven Blatt, executive director of the drive. “When they graduate, they hand it off to another student.”

READ MORE: Rigoberto Valles Dominguez, Suspect In Littleton Police Shooting, Barricaded In Brighton

(credit: Bringing Music to Life)

For almost a decade, the annual drive has collected around 4,300 instruments. The total value is more than $2 million and the instruments have been distributed to over 200 schools.

(credit: CBS)

“One instrument can impact many students over its lifetime,” Blatt said. “The lifetime can be as much as 5, 10, 15 years.”

(credit: CBS)

Students receiving an instrument often attend Title One Schools, a majority of families receive free or reduced lunches at those schools.

(credit: Bringing Music to Life)

“Instruments are expensive, no question about it,” Blatt said. “The kids we’re trying to help usually don’t have access to them, they can’t afford to rent or buy them.”

(credit: CBS)

The instruments needed include strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, guitars, and electronic keyboards. They do not accept pianos and organs.

(credit: CBS)

“Learning music is about a lot more than playing notes and scales,” he said. “They learn life skills as as well as getting the chance to create something of beauty with their own hands and hard work.”

READ MORE: Spring Institute For Intercultural Learning Will Play Key Role In Helping Afghan Refugees

(credit: CBS)

The drive began on March 11, just days before a major snowstorm shut down parts of the Denver metro area and the rest of Colorado. Blatt says the start has been slow but they hope to make it up in the second week.

(credit: Bringing Music to Life)

“Weather did get in the way, the big blizzard impacted at least a couple of days of the drive at least in the beginning,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

Blatt picked up a few donations at My Music Skool in Denver on Friday. The store has supported the drive for four years and has helped to bring in around 100 instruments.

“It really gives them a lot of different life skills,” said Yumi Ha, president of My Music Skool.

(credit: CBS)

There are 16 locations collecting donations across Colorado. Even if an instrument is damaged, it can be repaired. The Colorado Institute of Music Instrument Technology and Boomer Music Company fix the instruments at a discount. The instrument drive ends on March 23.

(credit: CBS)

“These kids suddenly have confidence in their other classes, they raise their hands in other classes, they go to other classes,” Blatt said.

(credit: Bringing Music to Life)

“We’ve seen kids literally thrive because of taking part in music.”

MORE NEWS: Lane Closures Through South Gap Project Extended As Warm Temps Fade

LINK: Bringing Music to Life

Shawn Chitnis