Kids thrive when they have something they can work toward and achieve, something positive in their lives. For Kai, an Oak Park 5th grader, that is mastering new skills on his viola. 

“It’s something that he’s good at,” said Kai’s mom, Emily. “There are other areas at school where he struggles a little bit, … so it gives him a lot of confidence. Being able to participate in something that he excels at is really nice.”

When the time arrived to choose an instrument at D97 last fall, Emily wasn’t sure if it was an option because of cost, but then she learned about PING!, the nonprofit that provides band and orchestra instruments along with musical enrichment opportunities to students in need in Oak Park and River Forest public schools. 

Kai received his viola from PING! along with the chance to take private lessons. These lessons – offered for the first time to elementary students to keep them engaged in music while learning was virtual – helped Kai soar.

This fall, his D97 string teacher noticed how advanced Kai is and recommended he move up to the next level viola instruction book. PING! provided the book to assist in Kai’s musical development.

Kai said the book looks hard, and playing “can be difficult at times,” but making music on his viola makes him feel happy. “It’s a good way to express emotion,” he said. “It’s fun to play.  It’s like a form of artwork.”

PING! does much more than provide first instruments and bring equity to music classrooms. The nonprofit meets students’ needs as they grow on their musical journeys – from lessons to mentoring, from summer music camps to trips, from instrument upgrades to second instruments. 

Supporting PING! is supporting positive experiences. Donate today:

708.524.3001 ext. 2995

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