The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Open our 10th music studio at Lowell School in 2011

Grant Information
Categories Arts
Location United States
Cycle Year 2010
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Center for Music by People with Disabilities
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Devan Km kartha
Phone 406 728-9193
415 West Central Avenue
Additional Information
Used for We will open our 10th music studio at Lowell School to benefit the elementary school students there (some of whom are of Native American origin) who are present do not have any music learning opportunities partly because of their disabilities and partly due to Lowell's low resources. We will use your grant money to buy a few essential musical instruments and to pay small honoraria to teaching musicians for their once a week lessons. Any leftovers will be used to continue the operation of the 9 existing studios including the 9th one that we opened in January 2010 at Chief Charlo Elementary.
Benefits Children with Disabilities have challenges that music is capable of dealing with, for instance, building self confidence and overcoming shyness. Music is a means of expressing their inner feelings and ideas and self expression will make them better able to study. Music ha been demonstrated to enhance cognitive skills, fine motor skills, social interactional skills, speaking skills, and skills of focusing and remain focused on a task.
Proposal Description 1. Applicant Organization’s Background

1.a. What we do: We teach music to 146 students with disabilities in Missoula County, Montana through 9 music studios. Seven of them are located in area schools: Russell Elementary, Washington Middle, Sentinel High, Jefferson School Fine Arts Center, Chief Charlo Elementary, and Discovery Preschool. We also serve 26 adults through 2 additional studios. Our 17 individual classes are held once a week during the entire school year.

We opened our 1st studio in Fall 1998 and our 9th studio in January 2010 and every year, we have been serving more and more children and teenagers (and a few adults) with disabilities. The high school and middle school age and adult sessions are 60 minutes long. The lower classes are 30 minutes long and the average number of students is 5 in each class. We have given scholarships in the past to a few committed students, but with the economy going through ups and downs, we have put the scholarships on hold.

We use music practice to promote our beneficiaries’ self expression and creative abilities, to enhance various skills such as: manual/digital, social, communication and cognitive and to increase their sense of self-worth and their quality of life. We use music as a means of educational and overall development of our beneficiaries. As music is seen as an activity requiring advanced skills by schools and other cultural organizations, almost none of our beneficiaries are included in regular music classes, which have been dealing with budgets cuts and other crises. We want to try to change that situation which is unfair. We believe that music needs to be accessible to everyone regardless of ability levels and that the disabled derive special benefits from music making efforts.

Using nearly two decades of our experience, we have devised techniques of making music learning accessible to all who are interested. Also, we integrate music with other activities such as poetry reading, lyric writing, body movement, story telling, instrument crafting, acoustic experiments, etc. so that we can enrich the participant socially, culturally and recreationally.

1.b. History and Organizational Qualifications: CMPD is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation incorporated in the state of Montana. Our board includes parents and relatives of children/adults with disabilities and educators at the school and university level as well as music professionals. The Board has gender and racial parity and we welcome people with disabilities to serve on the Board.

We began our work in 1998 on a small scale in one school with the nonprofit umbrella coverage of a statewide organization and later, in 2003, got our own nonprofit status. In 2008 we obtained our final certification from the IRS as a public charity, not a foundation.

Our work has been building upon the activities of Missoula Project for Music by People with Disabilities of which we are the continuation. We have been operating studios since 1998 to create actual music learning and music-making opportunities on a weekly basis in the lives of children, youth and a few adults with disabilities with the purpose of enhancing their quality of life. Also we have experienced that music has magical outcomes in uplifting the spirit, energizing the mind, exercising the body, and enhancing digital skills, social skills, and skills of cognition such as pattern recognition and focusing. We have also used music practice as means of teaching mathematics, basic physics, poetry, and social studies.

Montana is an agricultural state, and therefore our resources are minimal and our cultural opportunities need improvement. We need all the help we can get from out of state sources and as you can see from our list of donors, we raised monies last year from 16 states including Montana and HI. Only the music teachers in the program are paid and all the other participants such as board members, legal advisers, music consultants, evaluators, and parents of the beneficiaries work on a voluntary basis. The executive director and the music instructors also put in many voluntary hours each year.

Since 1998, we have raised over 160 small grants totaling $500,000 for purchasing instruments and paying small honoraria to the music-teachers. We have kept the administrative costs to a minimum by observing frugal standards of expenditure. The local community has donated music studio space and supporters have volunteered time, phone and printing costs, etc. Local music stores have given us generous discounts. In short, our program has its roots in the local community. The original inspiration comes from the work of the Executive Director with a large group of people with mental and physical disabilities using the healing and developmental powers of music making in Washington, DC from 1993 – 1998.

1.c. Governance: We are an IRS approved 501 (c) (3) charitable organization duly incorporated in the state of Montana and recognized by the state as a public charity. Our Board of Directors consists of 5 members and includes parents and relatives of people with disabilities as well as educational experts and musicians. We are striving to include people with disabilities as well. The Executive Committee consisting of the President (Tom Graff) and the Secretary (Ms. Jennifer Copley) advises the Executive Director in the overall running of the studios while the Board takes care of the larger issues such as the vision and strategies of fundraising, etc.

2. CMPD’s Beneficiaries

2. a. Introduction. At present our beneficiaries, all of whom have a physical or mental disability or both, number 146 on a weekly basis and between 25 and 30 through our monthly workshops, called Spontaneous Music by Children which are events where children with and without disabilities take part in structured music sessions. We also serve 20 seniors with disabilities through Magic of Music with Seniors that we initiated in September 2008. Our long term goal is to serve at least 15% of the 1,800 children and youth with disabilities in our county and to inspire other musicians to replicate our service in the area schools.

2. b. Needs Statement: None of the schools or cultural organizations in this rural/urban county run any regular music education program for students or others with disabilities. Music is now the prerogative of highly skilled people, but we would like to redress the exclusion of people with disabilities who can indeed benefit a lot from music making. The benefits are: creative self- expression, self-directed recreation, development of skills needed for collective and solo music practice, building of self confidence and enhancement of self-worth and quality of life. We believe on the basis of scientific research results and our own experience that music making has a special relevance for students with disabilities owing to the limits of the usual educational strategies.

All of our beneficiaries need creative self-expression and through music they can express their inner self and relieve tensions, and enhance various skills such as digital and manual dexterity through instrument practice. Ensemble practice develops communication and social skills. Cognitive abilities such as memorizing, pattern recognition, concentration on a task and its completion, etc. also are increased by music making. The enhancement of these skills is a part of the individual educational plan (IEP) of each student in our program. Therefore our work complements the work of special educators (please see their attached testimonials) and is in alignment with the educational goals of our younger beneficiaries. Also, success in music practice will greatly contribute to the welfare and happiness in the daily lives of our students and advance them educationally and culturally.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act envision full inclusion of people with disabilities in the economic, social, and cultural life of the American society. Our mission is to translate this vision into a reality using regular music education and music making.

2.c. CMPD’s Relationship with other Disability-related Organizations: In our area, there are some isolated and irregular efforts that bring arts to the disabled, but those efforts focus on once a year performances. Our work aims at making music learning and music making opportunities an integral part of the lives of children, teenagers, and adults with disabilities on a regular basis. We also differ from other efforts in that we have an interdisciplinary approach: we combine activities such as storytelling, instrument building, body movement, dance, language games, poetry reading and lyric writing, etc. with music learning because of our belief that music is related to a large number of topics and skills and they all can be effectively advances through the medium of music. We cooperate with local groups such as the PTA of disabled children, the Missoula Music Teachers Association, occupational training programs for the disabled, etc. and all supporters of people with disabilities.

3. Proposal:

3. a. Addressing Identified Needs: CMPD’s 9 studios have hired 14 part-time music teachers on an honoraria basis who teach regular classes in violin, voice, harp, guitar, harmonica, cello, recorder, drum set, and various hand drums of world music. We propose to continue this work indefinitely into the future and to expand the hours so that the teaching can be more intensive. For this purpose, we have acquired over the years, a good number of musical instruments and to this collection we periodically add new ones to respond to the needs of our beneficiaries. We work with the special education teachers and disability professionals such as speech therapists as well as parents to refine our understanding of the needs of our beneficiaries and we custom tailor our approach. Our classes and music sessions are very popular among the disabled students because we make our teaching sensitive to the needs of each student.

3. b. Projected goals, objectives, timeline, anticipated impact: 1. Open our 10th studio at Lowell School and continue the operation of the 9 studios that are now serving around 150 beneficiaries and refine and expand the music instruction and other music related activities. 2. Purchase more high quality musical instruments that fit the needs of students with varying body size and disabilities. 3. Hire more music instructors to add to the present number (14) so that more styles and more instruments can be brought into the program. 3. Expand the work to include one more studio when the economy is back to normal. 4. Try to set up a Center so that we can centralize the work and serve during weekends. 5. Raise monies for scholarships to give private lessons to a few of our most committed students.

3. c. Volunteers: The Board of Directors work on a voluntary basis. So do our advisory benefactors. The parents of our beneficiaries have regularly helped us with volunteered time, efforts, advise, etc. The special education professionals who take part in our program do so on a voluntary basis. We have also received discounts from music merchants, which is a form of service to the program. The Executive Director gets honorarium only for 50% of his time and the musicians also volunteer for rehearsals, studio set-up, and traveling between schools as well as spending time with the parents of the students.

3. d. Monitoring and Evaluation: In our basic work, the criteria for evaluation will be the following: (1) the satisfaction of our beneficiaries and their families or guardians as revealed in surveys (2) Judgment of the music instructors based on pedagogic criteria such as skills acquired, level of attention and enjoyment, etc. (3) Judgment of professionals who support our beneficiaries through standardized tests and individual clinical evaluations such as special education teachers, psychologists, etc.

Organizationally, we would consider ourselves successful (1) if we can gradually expand our service further assisting more people with disabilities; (2) if we are able to raise more funds; (3) if we are able to bring more instrumentalists into the program in addition to drums, violin, flutes, harp, guitar, and cello which we already train our beneficiaries in. In the last 10 years, we have been succeeding in all these respects.

We measure all the above through interviews with the beneficiaries and their relatives in addition to the teachers in our program and the professionals who serve our beneficiaries such as special ed teachers, speech therapists, etc.