After a long, beautiful life filled with talent and sound, many consumers wonder, “What can I do with my old or broken musical instrument?” Instead of throwing away these precious belongings, one can repurpose his or her old instrument and help create a new beginning. In 2007, Nate Anderson, who was working in real estate at the time, stumbled upon an alarming statistic: His adopted home state of Arizona was dead last in per-person educational funding in the country. One of the biggest causes in this equation is the lack of instruments in musical education due to budgetary restraints. After reading about the dismal effects, Anderson decided to dedicate his life to musical education in the Grand Canyon State. Anderson’s Tempe-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Ear Candy Charity, began hosting live concerts and events in an effort to raise money for musical education. After setting up more than 80 donation sites and trucking deliveries to schools in need, this small program outgrew its occupancy. Ear Candy’s mission is to provide youth access to music education by equipping, empowering, and enlightening youth through music. According to Ear Candy, each year the program impacts more than 15,000 youth through innovative, community-driven programs like online instrument drives, which give old instruments new life by connecting music teachers and their students with perfectly good instruments collecting dust around the country. The process beings with music teachers posting instrument requests for their program’s needs while instrument donors browse the requests to pledge. If a pledged instrument is ready to be played, it can be dropped off or shipped directly to the program. However, if the instrument requires repair, it may be dropped off or shipped to the nearest repair facility. To cover repair and shipping costs, financial donors from the community donate their generosity. Once this process is complete, the recycled instrument begins its new life. Even if instruments are damaged beyond repair, Ear Candy will reuse and recycle the parts in other instruments for multiple programs. Although Ear Candy, currently donates to Arizona-based programs, donors may participate from anywhere within the continental U.S. Instrument donors receive a prepaid shipping label and follow the nonprofit’s basic packing instructions. Every instrument donation is tax deductible. Ear Candy will email participants a tax receipt but not assign a cash value. According to Ear Candy, if you are donating an instrument you believe to be worth more than $5,000, you will need to have a professional appraisal done in order to claim a specified amount. Please note: Ear Candy cannot accept large instruments such as pianos or organs, but the nonprofit recommends contacting a local school or church to find out if there is a donation need in your community. Ear Candy is a pioneer in musical instrument recycling, offering an alternative yet resourceful way to repurpose old or broken instruments. Hoping to soon expand outside of Arizona, Ear Candy asks readers to stay posted and think of how one can bring new purpose to the sound of music.
Ear Candy: Bringing a Reused Purpose to the Sound of Music
The Arizona-based nonprofit reuses and refurbishes more than 15,000 instruments for educational purposes annually.