Dave Durkee has a simple explanation for why he and his wife Judy started the Music Room, an initiative that will lend musical instruments to youth who do not have access to them.
He says music as a tool of activism has a long tradition.
“Musicians have been giving back a long time. We’re just continuing that tradition,” he said. “When you think about the people that provide music to churches free-of-charge, seniors’ homes, you go to a benefit you’ll find someone playing almost always free of charge.”
There are lots of guitars, violins, amplifiers, ukuleles, a trumpet, flute, saxophone, keyboards, mandolin, bass and more at 40 Chester St. in Yarmouth.
Durkee expects the guitars will be most popular. He would like to have a few more band instruments.
Some of the instruments have been collected over the years by the couple. Many were donated by “good-hearted folks” that weren’t using them.
There’s a large order of accessories on the way that includes things like electronic tuners and cables for the electric guitars, plus picks and more.
Durkee sees a need for this service as he says there are many who can’t afford lessons or can’t easily afford lessons for their kids.
“A basic instrument can be a couple of hundred dollars or more. Some people just don’t have that,” he said.
Other parents might have a child who is interested in an instrument, but before investing in one, they want to borrow one for a short term to see if it’s something their child will want to commit to.
“If it’s a family that can’t easily afford the cost of an instrument, it can be viewed as a long-term loan and if the young person learns how to play and does well with it we’ll make it a gift,” says Durkee. “We just ask that if they lose interest in it, they give it back.”
And what if an instrument is damaged while in the family’s care?
“Well, that’s the cost of doing business,” he said.
“That shouldn’t prevent you from trying (to loan them out) because there are people who won’t follow the rules. Just factor it in. We’ll shake it off and keep moving.
“Music is such a force for good and positive change, particularly in kids’ lives. I’ve seen it literally change kids’ lives over the years,” he said.
By September, Durkee expects he’ll be receiving lots of requests for loans.
For more info
Durkee says he would welcome a volunteer to design a website for the project.