PING! gets state-wide recognition

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By Community Editor

The model of an Oak Park and River Forest-based organization that provides low-income children with access to instrumental music education will be a featured topic at the January 26 annual conference of the Illinois Music Educators Association.

PING! ("Providing Instruments for the Next Generation") has been invited to present "Access for All: Replicating the PING! Model" at the upcoming meeting. PING! board president Susan Parks and local instrumental music teachers Gaby Rosenblum of Beye School and Anthony Svejda of OPRF High School will be the featured presenters. The session will feature step-by-step guidelines and helpful lessons learned and resources to attendees interested in starting similar organizations in their local communities.

Now in its 15th year, PING! has grown from a mother's observation in 1998 about the lack of diversity she saw at her child's instrumental music concert to a community-wide organization that serves kids in all local elementary schools and OPRF High School.

"What we do is unique and makes a real difference." Parks stated. "Each year we provide instruments and music enrichment to over 160 low-income 4th through 12th graders in School Districts 90, 97 and 200. The benefits of a music education are well known. With the dedicated support of our individual donors, grant providers, and volunteers, PING! helps ensure that all children in our community have access to those benefits. Our board and school district partners felt it was a good time to share our methods so that other communities can learn from and replicate what we do."

More information about PING! can be found at pingoprf.org

Reader Comments

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Chris from Oak Park  

Posted: January 25th, 2013 1:44 PM

PING is an inspiring organization! I'm a professional musician and donate some of my time giving free lessons. My student is passionate, dedicated, creative, and a pleasure to work with. I think the world needs more PING! I hope they continue to expand and give the gift of music to those interested. Also, only a fraction of people that start music in school stay with it. Regardless of whether or not you stick with it, the experience is priceless, and should be available to all.

Pat  

Posted: January 14th, 2013 8:24 AM

What impresses me most about PING is the number of students served and the number and variety of instruments that are provided to students. I'm encouraged by how many PING students continue on with instrumental music through high school. I am thrilled that students in other districts may soon benefit from the PING model!

jan rubin from oak park   

Posted: January 13th, 2013 3:28 PM

My daughter was a mentor through her high school career and when it came to her college applications, one short essay was devoted to the program and how much it meant to her, as well as the mentee

Leah from Oak Park  

Posted: January 12th, 2013 11:01 PM

I am a mentor in the PING program and have been for three years. It has been an amazing experience working with the younger students. As a mentor you become so much more than just a teacher to them. You are a friend and someone to look up to. PING is a great program that helps a lot of kids develop a love for music. That interest carries them through a good part of their life. Statistics show strong correlation between music and good grades. Great job PING!

Aimee  

Posted: January 11th, 2013 2:35 PM

I got a flute from PING to use in 5th grade. I was new to the school and didn't know anyone. I got to learn the flute and make new friends. I also got to play fun songs, like The Pink Panther, and Up on the Housetop. I never would have been able to join band without help from PING. Because of them, I am now a senior in high school and get to be in the marching band. Go Huskies!!

TOM from Oak Park  

Posted: January 11th, 2013 12:21 PM

Oak Park and River Forest should be so proud of PING for the work they do with kids and showing the world that there are still great communities out there that help people! Music is an integral part of my life and I can't imagine if I was told that i could not participate. For allowing that oppurtunity to everyone, major Kudos to PING!!

Gabby from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: January 11th, 2013 12:01 PM

I was a low-income kid who would not have been able to participate in my school band if it had not been for assistance like this. Music changed my life, and now I have the joy of sharing it with others as a music teacher in Oak Park. Does every student succeed and stick with it? No... but there are so many who do, and many who would never have the chance if it weren't for the hard work and dedication of this group of volunteers. Great job, PING!

Susan from Oak Oak  

Posted: January 11th, 2013 8:50 AM

It's all about the students and their success - PING! exists so the students can have a chance and show their potential . PING! students get to select the instruments they want to play - AND more and more students continue playing music through middle school and high school.

hot male  

Posted: January 10th, 2013 7:43 PM

and most of the recipients don't practice and drop out. is there a stat that shows how many PING recipients stay with it? Oh, and it is almost always a free flute.

Elinor Crane from Oak Park  

Posted: January 10th, 2013 6:59 PM

There are 160 children served by PING! in our area. Let's hope the model will prove successful elsewhere.

Joan Winstein from Oak Park  

Posted: January 10th, 2013 6:53 PM

We are so lucky in the OP and RF area to enjoy wonderful and free instrumental education in our schools. Congratulations to the current Board, and Board President Susan Parks, for strengthening PING! and making sure it will be around to help ALL of our kids enjoy music !

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