Welp, it’s that time again. Tax Season. Seems like everyone I know is already finished filing their taxes. I haven’t started. But whether you’ve already filed or not, you can put your extra money to work by making tax-deductible donations to non-profit organizations that support whatever you believe in the most. And if you’re like me, you believe in music. I believe music heals – it treats what medicine cannot. I believe in public school music education programs – it expands the mind and worlds of our children. And I believe that we need to take care of our professional musicians – who give us so much of themselves and enrich our lives. So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my three favorite music-related non-profit organizations.
I think we all agree that music has the innate power to heal, but actual Music Therapy is so much more. Remember the Tucson shooting in 2011, where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head? She worked with Music Therapists to re-learn how to speak. Music Therapists work with patients to reduce the effects of conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, and pain. They work with autistic children to improve communication abilities, and with premature infants to improve sleep patterns and increase weight gain. This doesn’t mean that Music Therapists are simply playing music for their patients – they earn Bachelor’s Degrees at minimum, and many continue on to get a PhD. A board certification is also required – in some states more than one. So you can imagine the amazing work that these special therapists do, and how important it is to support them.
You know Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga, but what about the musicians who accompany them? Who tour internationally with them? Who put their lives on hold to make their music happen? There are many more working musicians out there than we hear about on a daily basis, and sometimes they can’t get the resources they need. MusiCares of the Recording Academy provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. Their services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly influence the health and welfare of the music community.
On the rare days I didn’t have an after school activity (usually music-related), I loved getting home early enough to watch VH1’s Pop-Up Video. Well, not only does VH1 teach those little behind-the-scenes tidbits, but they also help public school music programs all over the country. They donate instruments, music technology and other equipment to jumpstart public school music programs, support music teachers with professional development, ongoing program support and other resources, and advocate at the local, state and national levels to ensure music is part of a well-rounded education. Because, you know, when funding is cut from public schools, the music and arts programs are the first to go.
I’m glad to know that there are good places for my money to go. Investing in music and the arts is an investment in our cultural future. And whether you’re looking to donate during tax season or any time during the year, giving to the American Music Therapy Association, MusiCares, or Save the Music, you’ll know that your money is going towards healing, caring, and teaching, which in my mind are things of which we can always use more.
By Halley Feaster