Music Blocks is a non profit in Barrington, IL providing access to the building blocks of music literacy for youth to strengthen the mind, lift the spirit and foster opportunities for creative expression.
We live in a very economically diverse community, where, within the District 220 area, there are multimillion dollar homes and families struggling to afford the basic necessary provisions for their children. Many of the children cannot hope to participate in the extracurricular activities that other Barrington area students enjoy. We believe instrumental music lessons are a critical and necessary element of a child's growth and development and can foster lifetime benefits by improving executive functions, building confidence and reducing anxiety and depression while building coping skills..
To offer private Piano/Keyboard Lessons at no charge or at a significantly reduced rate to students who express and demonstrate a clear desire and ability to study music but lack the financial means to pursue music lessons.
To make music study accessible to all children through a scholarship-based program that allows all students the opportunity to achieve benefits that other more economically advantaged students are able to enjoy through private music lessons.
In 2017 Music Blocks established a pilot program to offer semi-private piano lessons to 12 students at Sunny Hill Elementary School in Carpentersville as an after-school activity. The lessons were 100% scholarship-based. During the 2018-2019 school year Music Blocks expanded the program to 26 students. The long term goal is to continue to expand the program at other schools or after school program facilities in areas where instrumental lessons may be financially out of reach for most families.
Music Blocks currently relies entirely on grants and charitable donations to fund its programs. 100% of the funds goes to operations and administrative costs. (No portion goes to third party fundraisers.) The funds are used to purchase the fully weighted, full size (88 key) electronic keyboards, stands, benches, headphones (for students who are ready to practice on their own), keyboard storage covers and cabinets, lesson materials and teacher compensation as well as administrative costs, including insurance, facilities rental fees (currently waived by District 220 at Sunny Hill as long as students pay $0 for their lessons) and annual filing fees.
Currently Music Blocks provides one volunteer piano teacher and three compensated part time piano teachers and one part time administrator. With the expansion of the program, Music Blocks would like to hire additional qualified and experienced piano teachers at a competitive rate to ensure a quality and successful program. In addition, Music Blocks is exploring the possibility of bringing in volunteers (possibly adults and/or high school students who are looking to earn volunteer service hours for National Honor Society and College applications). These volunteers would be assisting qualified teachers by supervising student practice sessions, assisting in the set up/take down of keyboards (which can be quite heavy and difficult to move) and other related activities.