Donations Instrumental in Duval County Schools Music Programs

Nov 23, 2015

School Board Chair Ashley Smith Juarez says she benefited from playing the Alto Saxophone in school. She urges anyone with a gently used instrument to donate to Instruments for Change.
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Duval County Public Schools wants your gently used instruments. The district is partnering with the Jacksonville Symphony, Jacksonville Public Education Fund, Jacksonville Public Library and Florida Blue to ensure students in need are able to participate in school music programs.

School Board Chair Ashley Smith Juarez says she herself benefited from playing the alto saxophone in school.

“Give our students the power to choose their interest and the pride of being able to practice at home,” Juarez said. “The autonomy to carry their instrument as a badge of their capability. Donate inspiration. Donate creativity. Donate confidence.”

Duval Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says there’s a great need for musical instrument donations in the county.

"In 2010 3,000 students were involved in secondary courses. Today over 6,000 students are involved in courses specifically tied to music," Vitti said. "With all of this expansion we have certainly invested more district dollars, but there are still gaps, and that’s what this initiative is all about."

Duval Schools Fine Arts Director Jeff Smith says a beginning instrument can range anywhere from $400 to more than $6,000. It just depends on what it is. 

"Many of those instruments, particularly tubas, sousaphones, baritone horns and others are not actually rented by rental companies, Smith said. "So unfortunately students can’t rent those, they’d have to purchase them."

Smith says once the instruments are collected, they’ll be cleaned, repaired and given to students who’ve asked for them.

The Instruments for Change drive is Dec. 1-19. Drop-off locations are listed below. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

  • The Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts
  • Jacksonville Public Library - Southeast Regional
  • Jacksonville Public Library - Pablo Creek Regional
  • Jacksonville Public Library - West Regional
  • Jacksonville Public Library - Bradham-Brooks
  • Jacksonville Public Library - South Mandarin
  • Jacksonville Public Library - Main Library
  • Florida Blue at St. Johns Town Center
  • Jacksonville Public Education Fund offices
  • Duval County Public Schools building