In suburban youth orchestras, a student normally rents an instrument for about $35 per month.  Necessary private lessons would be another $35 to $50 per week, and joining the school orchestra assumes these lessons and requires an audition and a fee after that.  Should an instrument come out of adjustment, several adults would be aware and would interact. 

In low income school districts, the schools have no music programs.  Any music provided is the result of after-school non-profits which provide rent-free instruments and group lessons.  The teaching artists (TA) are hired and paid by the hour to give group lessons to the kids.  Each TA first has to tune up to 20 sets of strings before class can start. 

These TAs don't have the time or the tools to address warped bridges or frozen fine tuners.  In too many small, independent inner city music schools, sound and appearance issues are just endured not repaired.

These free schools do incredible work. The city has several hundred more violinists because these non-profits are willing to take on the challenges, and operate on shoestring budgets.   


This photo is several years old now.  Elijah was a newly arrived Palestinian refugee at the time.  The non-profit had no instruments except an 3/4 size double base.  It tips him over when he tries to get it up the stairs. 

There was no saying "no!"   If you have an idle bowed instrument collecting dust in your house, please consider kids like this, and email us at