The Spirit of Harmony Foundation advocates for early institutional music education. We support music programs by assisting them with obtaining the resources they need to succeed.
Based on what we consider to be the most compelling research in the fields of neurobiology and youth development, we endorse the following Best Practices:
- Instrument-based music education for children,
- Beginning at as young an age as possible,
- Ideally for a minimum 4 hours per week,
- For a minimum of 2 years.
For the References and Documentation of the Best Practices listed above, please click here.
The Foundation strongly encourages programs in need of assistance or individuals interested in helping a local program to visit our Music Education Advocacy Toolkit, which contains valuable resources for long-term systemic support. According to Todd, we make it our mission to “re-normalize the idea that music is an essential part of education, especially early on.”
The Foundation offers support in many forms, and we would be happy to assist your program through our network of volunteers and strategic partnerships. Open a dialog with us, we always love hearing from music programs!
Our emphasis is on encouraging and nurturing young people as they explore the world of music and work together in the creative process:
- Seek projects and organizations that operate with a high level of accountability, mission/vision clarity, and responsiveness
- Build relationships rather than engaging in one-time support
- Focus on building up the assets, not correcting kids’ “deficits”
- Recognize the role music instructors play in sparking the musical interest of youth, and support the teaching of music
- Recognize no particular group of people is “at-risk.” Socio-economic status of the families is only one of many risk factors a person’s life
The SOHF Approach to Advocacy
Todd jokingly calls us the “E-Harmony” Foundation, since we dedicate our efforts to helping music programs around the country connect with the resources they need to be the best they can be. SOHF does not give monetary grants to individual students or individual programs, but the Foundation develops an extensive network of instrument/gear donations, advocates to help programs get sustainable funding from their school district and community, and professional musicians and music lovers who want to jump-start music education in their own communities.
Even though SOHF is national in scope, the vision is to create an army of grassroots music education activists. By providing systemic support for organizations, the organizations become much stronger than if we wrote checks. Since SOHF is the only organization doing exactly what we do, we don’t have to worry about “competition” the way other non-profits vie for limited philanthropic resources. The Foundation is able to be creative and think outside the box, since the situation of every music program is unique.
Program Site Visits
When his schedule permits, Todd enjoys visiting music programs around the country. For some photos, please click here.