For one Oak Park middle schooler, playing the double bass for the first time in 4th grade – an instrument taller than he was at the time – became more than just adding music to his life. It increased Braden’s confidence, his fine motor skills and helps him be a more well-rounded student, according to his mom, Jennifer.

PING! (Providing Instruments for the Next Generation) not only provides Braden, and other peers who need assistance, with their instruments, but other opportunities to these young musicians in Oak Park and River Forest public schools, such as pairing mentors from OPRF High School with PING! students in grades 5 through 8. 

Braden began meeting his mentor virtually this fall as PING! has adapted to keep students safe and engaged. In their first session, Braden learned something new.

“He taught me some holding positions of the double bass and some tips to play better,” Braden said. After he made those adjustments, Braden said, “It sounds way better than I used to play.”

Jennifer believes it would have been a missed opportunity for Braden if not for PING!.

“He started expressing interest in music very early on,” she said. “I think if we waited until we were at a place where we could afford all the extra things with music, we would have missed that window in supporting him in his interests. We’re really grateful we didn’t have to forego that very long because of all the resources that PING! has provided.”

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