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Bringing Music to Life needs more than donated instruments

The nonprofit drive asks the public for money to pay to repair instruments that are donated for students in struggling music programs across Colorado.

DENVER — The sounds of school have a different meaning in the band room for sophomore Sam Riggleman, who plays the trombone and the double bass in orchestra at George Washington High School.

"I feel like almost all of my friends are from band or orchestra," Sam said, who added that music dominates her life. "... Thinking about, you know, what we’re gonna play next in concert band. What key should we learn next?"

Band director Rick Grassler wants to grow his music program to impact more students like Sam. He turns to nonprofits like Bringing Music to Life to provide curious musicians with donated instruments like Sam's trombone.

9NEWS partners with the nonprofit Bringing Music to Life every year to ask people to donate used instruments to help students in struggling music programs across Colorado.

"I think it's a great thing that a lot of instruments have been donated to give students that don't have the means to get an instrument that is working," Sam said.

"Working" is the key word. Many of the donations that come in need repairs. If instruments don't work properly, that could cause student self-doubt.

"That's crucial as a band teacher, when you open a case and it's ready to go, as opposed to if something's going on wrong," Grassler said.

> Video below: The George Washington High School orchestra plays "The Star-Spangled Banner":

Last year, Bringing Music to Life spent about $75,000 to fix hundreds of donated instruments, said Steve Blatt, who runs the nonprofit.

"Without the money, we can't repair the instruments," Blatt said. "Without having a repaired instrument, the kids don't get off to a good start."

People don't have be former musicians to help students around Colorado, he said.

"You can give the money that'll make the instruments playable, and you'll be doing as much as somebody who had an instrument to give in the first place," Blatt said.

"I feel like schools without a lot of money, if they have the opportunity to get an instrument and get it repaired and get a good teacher, then everyone can have the same level of ability," Sam said.

If you want to find out where you can give a used instrument or how you donate money towards repairs, click here: BringMusic.org.

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