“A Plethora of Raw, Natural Talent.” – REAL STORIES

Real Story from Ovation Music Fund Scholarship RecipientNot all Ovation scholarship applicants are naturally talented musicians. What they all do have, though, is a passion for playing music. In this instance the requester has both. He comes from a musical family with a grandmother who plays piano, a father who plays violin, guitar and piano, a brother who drums, a sister who sings and two Aunts who are professional musicians.

“I am writing you as the parent and guardian of Conrad. Conrad has expressed an interest in attending the (music school) since October 2015 when some of his peers in marching band said they also attended (music school). I tried my very best to make his wish come true but the monthly fee is what prevented me from letting him attend. We asked everyone in the family to chip in money for lessons as a Christmas present. Some money was raised but only enough to barely cover one month of lessons. I have also asked two charitable organizations to donate one month of lessons if possible. I was declined by both charities due to the high cost per month of lessons.

I am self-employed and Conrad’s father is unemployed and lives with his mother; in this down-turned economy work is not easy to come by. We struggle to pay the bills most months just to keep the basic utilities on, so the financial need is there.

But let me tell you a little bit about Conrad. He has a natural talent to pick up any instrument and play it with ease. He is a product of a very musical family. He has played drums since 5th grade and found that it was a good outlet for his musical talents and was able to express himself through them. He wanted more so his grandmother gave him piano lessons but that really did not fulfill his needs. He has watched his father play violin, guitar, and piano over the years, which stirred something deep down in his soul. He also watched his older brother play drums, and half the time it would be Conrad playing when the older one should have been practicing. Conrad’s twin sister has been in Choir class as long as he has been in Band classes. He also has two very talented Aunties who have made music their profession. So not being able to afford guitar lessons for him breaks all of our hearts because he has a plethora of raw, natural talent.

In 2011, when Conrad was in 5th grade, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. He has worked with social workers since 1st grade for what we thought was ADD. But after several social conflicts and episodes with his peers, he could not fit in no matter how hard he tried. We even had to put him in a special behavioral school so he could work out some of his issues. He was the only student they had in the history of their program who rode the bus to the regular school just for band class.

During his three years there, he started to build some good relationships with his peers and used music as a way to fit in. When he found his talent in music, his heart filled with great joy. He learns very quickly and takes it very seriously and pours his heart into playing. If you know anything about children with high-functioning Autism they are very goal-focused and will not stop until they acquire the goal that they set out for themselves. Please help us grant this wish for my child to continue taking lessons at (music school). Because to tell you the truth, I do not know how I could afford to let him continue.”

It’s a shame when students like Conrad are denied access to music education because of lack of funds. You can help. Donate here to the Ovation Music Fund.

Disney, Nickelodeon Stars And Others Sing & Dance To Benefit Music Education

Famous Teen Actors To Raise Money For Ovation Music Fund

What do Asher Angel, Sean Ryan Fox, Ricardo Hurtado, Megan Lee, Lance Lim and Ruby Rose Turner all have in common? Other than the fact that they are immensely talented actors, star on hit TV shows and have huge fan bases? They are genuinely nice people who give back to their community. It’s nice to know that there are up and coming leaders in the arts who choose to use their celebrity status to help others who have not been as fortunate in life.  And Angel, Fox, Hurtado, Lee, Lim and Turner comprise the original showcase of what has been dubbed Future Disruptors.

These rising stars are coming together to bring awareness to arts education and to raise money for us at Ovation Music Fund so that we can provide scholarships for music lessons to low-income children who otherwise would never know the joy of learning to play music.


                                    “This showcase of rising talent is the start of a movement designed to inspire parents, help children find their creative voices and The Comedy Store hosts Future Disruptors Event to raise money for Ovation Music Fundcombat the under-funding of the Arts in schools.”

This inaugural “Future Disruptors” event, produced by Savoir Agency,  is open to guests of all ages. The day will be filled with live music and performances by the best and brightest shining stars in Hollywood.



Headlining the event is Heffron Drive, featuring Kendall Schmidt (Big Time Rush ) and Dustin Belt, with Demian Arriaga on percussion. Heffron Drive (so named because Schmidt and Belt met on the street called Heffron Drive) was formed in Burbank, CA in 2008 by Kendall Schmidt and Dustin Belt. Originally from the heartland of the United States (Wichita, KS) the duo met, became fast friends and began making music together.


Asher Angel of Disney Channel’s Andi Mack
Sean Ryan Fox of Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger
Ricardo Hurtado of
Nickelodeon’s School of Rock 
Megan Lee of Nickelodeon’s Make It Pop
Lance Lim of Nickelodeon’s School of Rock
Ruby Rose Turner of Netflix’s Fuller House

The musical performances will be directed by Demian Arriaga, who has worked with The Jonas Brothers, Victoria Justice, Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande, among others.  

Harmonie Krieger – a seasoned TV Host, Lifestyle Expert, Brand Spokesperson, and founder of Pop Your Shop, is hosting the event. Harmonie  is also known for hosting CMT’s Trick My Trucker and multiple programs for ESPN and Fashion Week.

Red carpet interviews will be conducted by actress, host, and founder of blog SamSoMuch, Samantha Gutstadt who currently creates content for Nylon Magazine as well as appearing on Almost Perfect Life Hacks on Awestruck Network.

Treat your kids to an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime entertainment experience. Get your tickets NOW: www.FutureDisruptors.com. The Comedy Store, located at 8433 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069, is an intimate club with limited seating and we expect this show will sell out quickly!


Music Lessons Make Major Difference in Son’s Personality. – REAL STORIES

Real Story from Ovation Music Fund Scholarship RecipientResearch shows that children of chronically ill parents often suffer acute emotional, mental and physical problems.

“Numerous studies conclude that children’s problem behavior is determined by the amount of daily hassles and the perception of stressfulness rather than by the severity of illness. Children may react to the imposed stressor by isolating themselves, feeling guilty and worrying about changes in parental health. Fearing negative health outcomes or death of parents may result in psychosomatic complaints, such as headaches, cramps and weakened immune responses. These symptoms are described as depressive symptoms, anxiety, withdrawn behavior and physical complaints, composing internalizing problem behavior. Children may also act out showing externalizing problems through aggressive and delinquent behavior. Similarly, there may be an increased level of total problem behavior in the target group referring to a combination of externalizing, internalizing, social, identity and thought problems.” [Source: National Institutes of Health]

Such was the case with scholarship recipient Jeremy before he started taking guitar lessons. Jeremy’s mom shares their story:

“I am incredibly grateful to you for funding Jeremy for the past 2 terms. I think that it is making a major difference in his life and in his personality. He still has a number of issues but he tends to go get his guitar and practice instead of acting out in any other way.

When our beloved dog of 11 years was ill and dying, I came home one day and found Jeremy sitting on the floor with her head in his lap playing the guitar for her. It calmed her. We are still not in a position to pay for him to take these lessons without help. As I’ve explained in previous applications, my husband and I have numerous medical problems, which we are still hoping to work out, but I don’t see any financial windfall in the very near future.

Before he started taking guitar lessons, Jeremy spent most of his time in his room playing computer games. Now he rarely plays computer games at all. He is usually practicing guitar. He actually recently painted and rearranged his room to give his instruments prominent places and make it easier to practice. Though my husband was concerned that the guitar lessons and rehearsals would hurt Jeremy’s academic standing, he is still doing well in school. He had wanted to become a structural engineer but is now considering becoming a music engineer. That would mean that taking these lessons could be altering the entire direction of his life.

Jeremy did not have many friends before but he is currently spending time with friends he made at the (music school). They are good kids and I never have to worry that he has fallen in with the wrong crowd. He comes into my room in the evening and plays the guitar and discusses his life with my husband and I. This is major and I can’t express how happy this has made me. I pray that you will be able to continue to help him.”

Please help children like Jeremy by donating now. 

Lack of Access to Music Education Also Being Felt in U.K.

It appears that the struggle to provide music education in public school systems is not limited to the United States. Families in the United Kingdom are feeling the pinch as well. Recently The Guardian, a daily newspaper in England, wrote about the access challenge as well as how the academic approach to music education isn’t necessarily the best approach. Here, posted with permission from The Guardian, is an excerpt from that article.


Music education is deteriorating around the country. Despite the enormous contribution of the music industry to the UK economy, with the creative industries overall estimated to generate £85bn net a year to GDP, the government remains placid about its importance in schools. The Conservatives are too focused on the English baccalaureate, introduced to boost the number of students studying science and languages, to care.

This is a great shame, as research has shown the huge benefits that music brings to children’s happiness and learning. Interestingly, the government does care about psychological development in schools, and recently announced plans to trial mental health training for pupils, but it has not dawned on politicians that this, and more, can be achieved through the arts.

Music education has become harder and harder to access since 2010, when the baccalaureate was introduced, and since when the number of students taking music at GCSE and A-level has dropped by about 9% as teachers homed in on “academic” subjects.

Increasingly, the onus has been on parents – and children – to take up private tuition, putting those who cannot afford such lessons at a disadvantage. Indeed, in 2014, the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain found that out of its members aged seven to 13, nearly 70% of those at state school received private education. In 2012-13, only 10% of music students at universities came from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

But that’s not the only problem. For a creative subject, music has always been taught in a far too academic way, meaning that theoretical knowledge is the main route to advancement. While there are routes into musical careers for the untrained, and many pop, rap and grime artists have never studied music formally, there are also dozens of choirs and amateur collectives that put a huge focus on musical notation.

This is a cryptic, tricky language – rather like Latin – that can only be read by a small number of people, most of whom have benefited from private education. Children who do not have the resources, or ability, to comprehend it, are written off. Even when they are capable performers.

The insistence on theoretical understanding is underpinned by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, which sets the most widely-used music exams. To meet its requirements, pupils must work through limited repertoires of old, mostly classical music, focusing most of their efforts on mastering musical literacy, above songwriting, composing, or even enjoyment.

And so there is not only a wealthy elite presiding over music, but an academic one too, which gets to decide what sort of knowledge, and ability, make children competent – even though, like artists, musicians vary immensely in their tastes, tools and learning mechanisms.

I worry that the current state of play means many children are, quite literally, locked out. As a discipline, music needs to attract a bigger crowd. Diversity breeds diversity, and teaching is where this needs to start.

Read the entire article here. 


Single Mom Wants Sons To Reach For The Stars – REAL STORIES

Real Story from Ovation Music Fund Scholarship Recipient

A common theme we see in scholarship applications are parents wanting to give their children a better life than they had when they were growing up. Lack of finances is often the one thing that stands in a family’s way. Such is the case with this scholarship recipient. Here, in her own words, Mom shares their real story:

“I want and need my son to attend and remain a student at(music school) because I want to give him the best opportunity to become a well-rounded person.

When I was younger I didn’t have the opportunities that are afforded to children today because my father was a drug addict and my mom was a single parent. I am trying to show my sons that all things are possible. My oldest son was shot in the head 3 years ago while visiting an area of town that I moved them away from. Since then I have made it my mission to show my boys that bad things happen but just because we are not the richest people in this world, we can still pick ourselves up, reach for the stars and make our dreams come true.

My son has always loved music, and the drums are his favorite. When I started these classes, I had no idea that my marriage was in trouble, and my income would be affected but as life would have it, my husband left us, and I just don’t want to make him quit his lessons because of our decisions as parents. So this scholarship would really help me to keep him in his classes until I can become better financially able to handle everything on my own again.”

If you’d like to help children with financial need gain access to music education, please donate to Ovation Music Fund.

Scientific Proof That Donating To Charity Increases Your Happiness

For the most part, our society is divided into two groups; the haves and the have-nots. Though you may feel that the adults control their own opportunity to move between the two groups, surely you agree that the children are at the mercy of their parents. EXCEPT when the “haves” donate to charities that benefit the children of the “have nots.” And while you make a tremendous difference in the child’s life when you donate, you also make a difference in your own life.

As people mature, they discover that a great deal of satisfaction is obtained from extending your hand to someone in need; especially children. According to the experts, here are some of reasons donating to charity increases your happiness.

  • It activates the pleasure center in your brain. Yep. According to a study by the National Institute of Health, when research participants donated a portion of the $100 they were provided in the study, the pleasure center in their respective brains was activated.

  • Believe it or not, giving may improve your physical health. As we give to charity we spend less time thinking only about ourselves and our stress levels go down significantly. Stress is largely linked with numerous health problems which can weigh you down. Giving what you possess as well as part of yourself to others will lighten your heart and grant you greater peace and satisfaction. This was evidenced in a 1999 study at UC Berkeley where they studied elderly volunteers. They discovered that the people who volunteered were 44% more likely to live five years longer than their counterparts who did not volunteer, “even after controlling for their age, exercise habits, general health, and negative health habits like smoking.” The outcome was the same in a similar study in 2003 at the University of Michigan. In that study, elderly couples who provided support (emotional, physical, financial) support to others had a lower risk of dying over a five year period than those who did not give of themselves.

  • People generally donate to charities that support causes they believe in. In our case, we don’t get donations from people who don’t believe music education is important. Our donors, whether they meet each other at a fundraiser or are simply a part of our online community, know they belong to a like-minded club of music supporters. Belong to such a community brings joy and meaning to one’s life. The experts suggest that if you feel you’re in a rut, one of the ways to get out of it IS to make a donation to a cause you care about.People who live exceptionally busy lives often feel poorly about themselves because they do not volunteer their time. Yet charities need both volunteers and funding. If you can’t volunteer, donate money. It will make you feel just as good about yourself as if you had volunteered time.

  • Giving money to charities will make you happier. It’s a documented fact! “Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School, conducted one such study. Along with his colleagues, Norton questioned 632 Americans about their level of income and what they spent their money on. They were also asked to rate their own happiness. Norton and his colleagues found that, regardless of income, those who spent money on others were decidedly happier than those who spent more on themselves.” Read more here

  • “Giving has also been linked to the release of oxytocin, a hormone (also released during sex and breast feeding) that induces feelings of warmth, euphoria, and connection to others. In laboratory studies, Paul Zak, the director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, has found that a dose of oxytocin will cause people to give more generously and to feel more empathy towards others, with “symptoms” lasting up to two hours. And those people on an “oxytocin high” can potentially jumpstart a “virtuous circle, where one person’s generous behavior triggers another’s,” says Zak.”  Click here to read the entire article. 

If you’re looking for a “natural high” hop on over to our “donate” page and donate whatever you can afford.  You can be assured it will make a difference to a child. In fact, it may just be the catalyst that keeps one child out of a gang or off drugs. And that’s something that we can all be happy about.

3 Kids. Both Parents Laid Off From Their Jobs. When Bad Things Happen To Good People – REAL STORIES.

Real Story from Ovation Music Fund Scholarship RecipientIf your household income was reduced by 60%, what would you do? Could you continue to support your children’s after-school activities?  Here’s a Dad’s request for financial assistance so his daughter can continue with music lessons.

“As of February 2013, my wife and I had been at our jobs, working together, for 13 years and were living very comfortably. We had just bought a new home and our youngest daughter was born. Three weeks after her birth I was laid off from my job.

My wife had received her Master’s Degree a few months earlier and we were now repaying student loans. Then came the full time day care expense which came to the cost of a second mortgage. After the layoff, I obtained my mortgage license and have been working to build my business but this is a process that requires a great deal of time, energy and expense.

After three years I am finally beginning to gain some traction but we are trying to dig out of the financial hole that resulted from a 60% reduction in household income and a drastic increase in household expenses. Meanwhile my wife went to work for a startup at the beginning of 2015 only to be laid off at the end of the year when the company decided to go in a different direction. After only a few weeks she found a new job but at a reduced salary. I have since taken a second job waiting tables at night to help cover some of our expenses.

Our family has endured a great deal of financial strain over the last three years, but despite that we are trying desperately to maintain a level of normalcy for all three kids and that means providing our daughter with the opportunity to continue doing the thing she loves most.

(Music School) has enabled her to overcome a great deal of adversity and to find her own voice. We truly wish we could pay for her to continue to attend but we are simply not in a position to do so. That being said we appreciate any consideration you can give her as we are just not able to help her in any way financially and all payments for (music school) she will be making on her own. She is an amazing talent and has a wonderful and inspiring attitude. In August she will be attending Colorado State University and plans on taking all the experience she gains to develop a career in music therapy. Thank you for your time and consideration.”

If this happened to you, wouldn’t you want help for your kids? Do what you can to help families currently in need. Donate now. 

Music Education Levels Playing Field for Kids In Low Income Families

At 120 schools around the U.S. kids are jamming out on guitars, drums, keys and singing their hearts out. For some of these kids, just being there is a dream come true. That’s because the average family making less than $100,000 a year cannot afford music lessons for their children and some of these kids are only able to afford to participate because of the generosity of Ovation donors.

When did music become an activity only for the wealthy? When public school systems started eliminating the arts in an effort to save money. Because it takes about $4500 a year to participate in a certified music education program.

But music education doesn’t just benefit the child who is receiving it. It benefits society.

Follow this:

“It’s been known for a while that underprivileged children’s brains seem to take more time to pluck words from the sounds they hear. That may in part be because poor kids hear fewer spoken words as they grow up compared to their wealthier counterparts, Kraus said.
In fact, one study found that kids whose families were on welfare had heard 30 million fewer words by the time they were 3, compared to those with professional parents. Those from working class families fell somewhere in between.
Practically, what this means is that if you sit a poor child in a classroom next to a youngster from a more advantaged home, the poor kid’s brain will have to work longer and harder to turn the sounds she hears into words. So while the poor kid’s slower processor is trying to make sense of the sounds, the more advantaged kid’s high-speed processor helps her to grasp the words more quickly, allowing her time to mull them over and maybe even come up with questions.”  [Source: Today.com]

Students who learn to play music perform better in academics than those who don’t.

“According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain. “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds,” the group claims.” [Source: PBS.com]

So, when we are able to extend a financial hand to low-income kids to take music lessons, it stands to reason that their academic skills will improve which will enable them to compete with students from more affluent families. When they perform better in school they are more likely to stay in school and more likely to pursue going to college.

“A sobering recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics shows just how long the odds are, even for those with college aspirations. Starting in 2002, researchers began tracking 15,000 U.S. high school sophomores from across the socioeconomic spectrum. At that time, roughly 70 percent of those 10th graders planned to go to college. That ranged from a high of 87 percent among students whose parents had the highest level of income and education to 58 percent of those whose parents were the least educated, poorest and largely unskilled. Among this latter group of students, a mere 14 percent of the total – and only one in four of those who planned to as sophomores – had earned a college degree by 2014.”  [Source: USNews ]

Without help, there’s no reason to believe that the trend of low income students earning a college degree will increase. But funding music lessons is one path to help a child out of poverty. Of course that social “payoff” requires a long view. What’s the benefit to society today to fund music education for low-income kids? Well, it might just stop them from joining gangs or doing drugs.

Funding music lessons provides an alternative to boredom and loneliness; two things that can drive kids to seek trouble.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council in their article on how to prevent low-income youth from joining gangs, we need to creation positive alternatives to gangs.

“ Keep youth in school and enrolled in positive activities when the school day ends. Help create and coordinate after school learning and recreational activities for latchkey youth, so that they do not participate in delinquency during these critical afternoon hours.”

Of course not all kids who seek mischief end up in gangs. But they do often end up turning to drugs and alcohol.

“Teenagers who are “frequently bored” increase their chances for substance abuse by 50 percent, according to a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. Boredom was defined as “having nothing to do,” “hanging out at malls or on street corners,” or not having sufficiently stimulating leisure activities. In all these studies, boredom was associated with binge drinking, using party drugs like ecstasy, and experimenting with marijuana and prescription drugs.” [Source: CRC Health]

Replacing drugs and alcohol with music lessons will reduce substance abuse.

How can we say that with such conviction? Because we’ve seen it happen. In Iceland.

“State funding was increased for organized sport, music, art, dance and other clubs, to give kids alternative ways to feel part of a group, and to feel good, rather than through using alcohol and drugs, and kids from low-income families received help to take part. In Reykjavik, for instance, where more than a third of the country’s population lives, a Leisure Card gives families 35,000 krona (£250) per year per child to pay for recreational activities.
Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 percent in 1998 to 5 percent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 percent to 7 percent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 percent to just 3 percent.” Read the entire article here. 


To recap:
1. Low income children are at a learning disadvantage.
2. Music education improves academic abilities.
3. Kids who are bored turn to drugs, alcohol and gangs.
4. Music education reduces/eliminates boredom.
5. Music education is expensive.
6. When you donate to Ovation Music Fund, you give a low-income child a hand up.
7. Click here to donate now. 

“I humble myself, on behalf of my daughter, and ask to please consider her for a scholarship.” – REAL STORIES

Real Story from Ovation Music Fund Scholarship RecipientIf you found yourself in financial trouble, could you be humble enough to ask for help on behalf of your son or daughter? Here is one mother’s quest to give her daughter the music education she so desires. (Shared with permission from the author.)

“We are a one income family. I am a single, hardworking mother. My daughter’s dad is not involved at this point and I receive no financial support from him. I have seen the positive influence (music school) has had for the teens in our community.

I sang to my daughter before she was born and have been singing with her for the past 16 years. Her voice is beautiful and she wants to learn how to use it. I saved for months to buy her an acoustic guitar and had a friend teach her the basics and she loved it. But schedules conflicted and the lessons could not continue so she has practiced the little bit she learned and by ear has tried to learn some new songs. She is such a gifted young lady, and I believe that there is a budding musician in there. I work hard, but am still not able to make the money to afford any extracurricular activities.

I humble myself, on behalf of my daughter, and ask whoever is reading this to please consider her for a scholarship.

She has had to overcome many hardships in her young life and music has been the thing that got her through. She had an illness that brought her to The Children’s Hospital when she was younger. It was a rare pain disorder called RND, Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy. She would experience attacks of unbearable pain that at times affected her ability to do something as simple as walking. We worked through it together. Once she was diagnosed, she underwent intense physical therapy and ended up putting it into remission. Music was her escape. It’s what got her through the grueling hours of PT and gave her hope and a goal to reach for.

She is now 16 years old and wants nothing more than to sing, write, and learn how to play her guitar more proficiently. We see the amazing concerts the students get to put on and she wants so badly to be a part of that and to make new friends who have similar interests. There are no words to express how thankful I would be to receive ANY scholarship amount. I don’t have my family around here and do not have many helping hands. I work to give her the best life possible and hopefully this letter will help me to do that for her. I thank you in advance for your consideration and appreciate the time you have taken to read our submissions.”


To donate to a music education for a child like K’s daughter, click here.