May, 2007

We are always thrilled when we can award a camp scholarship to a MusicLink student, assist a fledgling program with a Grass Roots Grant or help reimburse an individual teacher who has reached into his/her own pocket to pay for music, materials and fees for a MusicLink student. You may ask, just how do we raise money to provide these awards and services, as well as repairing, moving, and purchasing instruments as needed for our students and securing efficient coordination for our national program?

The MusicLink Foundation relies on contributions from the public for a vast majority of its funding, along with assistance from foundations and corporate sponsors. Our goal for 2007-2008 is to raise $50,000 in general public support so that we can reach our goal of serving 7,500 students nationwide by 2010. We gratefully acknowledge our donors and will include their names in our Annual Report Link Newsletter, which will be mailed in the next few weeks.

MusicLink Receives
Support from Foundations

Our thanks to the Catalogue for Philanthropy for choosing to include the MusicLink Foundation as a worthwhile charity in its 2006-2007 issue. We also are pleased to announce that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has chosen to continue support for the MusicLink Foundation for the 2007-2008 year, providing $75,000 for personnel and training expenses. We are thrilled to serve as a pipeline organization seeking to nurture the talents of deserving youth through musical training. This foundation has supported MusicLink with over $230,000 in funding over a period of three years.

The MusicLink Foundation also received support from the Harman Family Foundation, Sprenger Lang Foundation, Weissberg Foundation, Dimick Foundation, and City of Fairfax Commission for the Arts to support growing programs in the metropolitan Washington DC area. Funding support from these foundations totals over $16,000.

Promise to Practice - YOUR way!

We have adapted our Promise to Practice fund-raising program to fit the needs of any teacher who would like the incentive of good practice towards a performance goal in his/her studio .or any local organization seeking a way to raise money for its MusicLink program. Instead of a single week of practice, teachers can now use our practice grids and goals (pin, totebag, iPod shuffle or comparable award) to have students practice over a period of weeks or months towards that upcoming recital, festival, or competition! Nancy Davis, an independent piano teacher from Springfield VA shares her story:

How To Enjoy "Promise to Practice"
in YOUR Studio

This was my first year to incorporate a fund-raising activity in my studio and I was so pleased with the results!

Once a year, for three to four months, I require my students to record their practice time on their assignment sheet as well as a Studio chart - for everyone to see. I offer prizes for the ones who practice the most number of hours at our annual Honors Recital.

Lately I have been looking for something beyond awards and prizes and MusicLink was my answer. It is a perfect fit! Students practice to help less fortunate children have a CHANCE to learn a musical instrument.

Simple steps:

Week 1:
  1. I introduced students AND parents to MusicLink by a brochure and a sample request letter.
  2. Students estimated the number of self-mailing letters they needed - and I copied them and gave them to them. (Letters could be returned simply by folding and stapling.)
  3. Checks were made out to MusicLink and mailed to me. I copied the checks and sent them on to the MusicLink headquarters.
  4. Students charted practice time, received checks from friends and family.
  5. Honors Recital: students were presented with "Thank you" gifts from MusicLink for various levels of contributions received: 1) MusicLink pin for participation in charting their practice time, 2) Tote bag for contributions of $25 or more, and 3) MP3 player/recorder for $200 or more in contributions.

I try to make the thank-you gifts clear, but not emphasize them too much. After all, it is good for all of us to give - just for the sake of giving. Some parents gave financial gifts after the recital as well. It does feel good to give!

I plan to do this again next year. I was particularly excited about the recording capabilities of the MP3 player as I like to have my students record themselves at home and email the files. (You know - they always play it better at home!!)

-- by Nancy Davis, Springfield VA


Thanks to the following teachers who participated in Promise to Practice:

  • Diana Belka
  • Nancy Davis
  • Lai-Lan Ko
  • Elizabeth Nelms
  • Sarah Stoehl

Thanks to the following students who raised over $200 through their practice efforts:

  • Sheila Blackett
  • Cara Mingo
  • Jessie Kuniholm
  • Derek Smith
  • Kristen Maxwell
  • Keri Flynn

Marilyn Costello
Award of Achievement

The Marilyn Costello Award of Achievement is a new $1,000 award established specifically for a junior or senior high school student residing in Virginia who has shown outstanding achievement in musical training through MusicLink and is seeking assistance with college. The award commemorates the illustrious musical career of Marilyn Costello, principal harpist with the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1946 to 1992. Our thanks to her son, Daniel Dannenbaum and to Serena Lowe for establishing this annual award for an outstanding MusicLink student. Thanks also to Martha Smith, Virginia MusicLink coordinator, for her assistance in developing this award.

This year's recipient of the Marilyn Costello Award is Alain Ramirez, a senior at Gar-Field High School in Mount Vernon VA. Alain was born in Bolivia and studies through MusicLink with Pat Houston of Arlington. In just three years he has progressed from being a beginner to playing pieces by Chopin and by Latin American composers.