VH1 Save the Music Foundation Launches Multi-Year Campaign to Restore Music Education in Every Newark Public School

Thirty-eight schools across the district will each receive new musical instruments, professional development, and other support to rebuild and sustain music education programs.


[Newark, NJ — September 12, 2017] – On Tuesday, September 12, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation returned to Newark in the midst of National Arts in Education Week with more than 200 instruments to distribute to Newark Public Schools students. Nearly 30 instruments were unveiled at a press conference at Camden Street School, one of seven school grant recipients. VH1 Save The Music brought along star-power to help distribute the instruments with Algee Smith joining in the surprise celebration for students.

VH1 Save the MusicThe event in Newark kicks off a five-year project to invest in music programs in approximately thirty-eight schools with demonstrated need. Each will each receive a package estimated at $60,000 – including approximately $45,000 worth of new musical instruments and other equipment, and $15,000 for professional development, advocacy support, research, measurement and program evaluation.

“The Newark Public Schools system serves more low-income students than all other districts in New Jersey, and a majority of its K-8 schools do not have instrumental music programs. We are now working to change that by bringing music education to the students who need it most,” said Henry Donahue, executive director of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. “This is just the beginning of our commitment to reach every public-school student in Newark.”

“The sound of music will be heard at these seven schools thanks to VH1 Save The Music and the generous donations from funders and support of our partners,” said Superintendent of Schools Christopher D. Cerf. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students. Research has found that learning music facilitates learning subjects and enhances skills that children use in other areas; a child uses multiple skill sets while learning music which is why this partnership with VH1 Save The Music is important to our mission to link everything students do to learning.”

VH1 Save the MusicIn addition to VH1 Save The Music, further funding support is provided by The ELMA US Music Foundation, The Singer Family Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Partners include the Newark Arts Council, Newark Arts Education Roundtable, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Through this project, the Newark Arts Education Roundtable and Newark Arts Council will provide administration, direction, and technical assistance by partnering with Newark’s many stakeholders, artists, arts administrators, community organizations, community development corporations, planning groups, economic development agencies, and government agencies as well as the general public.

Local performing arts organization such as New Jersey Performing Arts Center and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra are joining this effort by providing free tickets to students and families to attend their events this season as well as coaching opportunities by professional musicians.

Arts and culture have become an integral part of the city of Newark. The city recently completed the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) study, which explores and identifies the economic impact of arts and culture in a community. By all economic indicators, Newark continues to show growth and promise in engaging residents and visitors to diverse arts and cultural experiences; from jobs and careers to entertainment to learning.

Newark Public Schools Arts program is under the direction of Margaret El, Special Assistant for the Arts. Ms. El is a member of the Newark Arts Education Roundtable.

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education programs in America’s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education. Founded in 1997, VH1 Save The Music was the first organization in existence dedicated to restoring music programs. Over the last 20 years, the foundation has donated $53 million worth of new musical instruments to over 2,000 public schools in 251 school districts around the country– impacting the lives of millions of public school students. Learn about the foundation’s Play It Forward campaign in celebration of its 20th anniversary here: on.vh1.com/playitforward.