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Rochester Education Foundation:  Because every child deserves a great education.
Current Programs
Give Back, Give Books
Spring into Music-REF Music Fund
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Recipe for Success
I play trumpet in my school band and I am so glad you care about music as much as I do.
-- Elementary school student

Spring for Music Opportunities Program

Our Spring for Music Opportunities program provides used musical instruments for Rochester city students, increases city students' musical performance opportunities, supports the purchase of musical instruments for in-school use, and provides summer music lessons for students. The program also provides new musical instruments to enable college-bound students to be successful. Through this program, you can:

Help a student discover the joy of instrumental music. Just where do your old musical instruments go? In Rochester, hundreds of donors have chosen to donate them to city school students. The generosity of these donors has created great opportunities for city students. Since the program's launch in 2005, more than 1600 musical instruments have been donated from throughout Monroe County, New York state and beyond.

Donated instruments

Donated Instruments.

Photo: Richard Margolis


Instruments for all ages are welcome, ranging from percussion and brass to Orff instruments and recorders for early music education. Additionally, music stands, strings, drum sticks, and many other types of musical supplies are all gladly accepted.

To donate an instrument or supplies, we encourage you to contact REF at 271-5790 or You can drop off instruments at 250 Mill St. or call us if that is not possible. We also have collected musical instruments at the Rochester International Jazz Festival since 2008, thanks to the generosity of M&T Bank.

You can receive a tax deduction for a donated instrument. More importantly, you will know that through your generosity a city school student who might not have had the chance to play an instrument will discover the joy of music.


Support the presentation of quality musical instruments to college-bound students. This college opportunity fund is designed to identify and support talented RCSD student musicians, whether they need their own musical instrument to keep pace with their maturing talent or to audition for a college music program or to participate in special music activities over the summer. These gifts can make the difference between our city students being accepted to a music program and being denied. We have given high school students instruments ranging from a flute to a violin to a bassoon.


Expand performance opportunities for city students. This includes performing and attending concerts. For example, the Spring for Music Opportunities Fund aided flagging city student participation in the Holiday Chorale performance with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. REF and the Music Fund paid for buses to take students home from the practices and performances, and dinner for the students and even clothing needed for the performance. Liz Hannan, a former music education in Rochester, told us: "Thank you! The opportunity to perform with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is once in a lifetime."

Support the purchase of instruments. REF, through the “Opportunities Fund”, has donated 17 digital keyboards for the extended-day program at School 9, and donated guitars for a guitar club at School 35, and beautiful wooden xylophones for students at School 3. This expands the number of students who get a chance to play and enjoy musical instruments in class.

Provide summer music lessons. Through a collaborative effort with city school teachers, funds are raised through wonderful music concerts to support summer lessons for students at Hochstein School of Music and the Eastman Community Music. School. This is supported thanks to city school music teachers raising funds through wonderful musical concerts during the year and REF contributors.

If you are a Rochester City School District educator with a student who has specific musical challenges REF supporters might be able to address, please contact REF at 271-5790 or


Music student
Photo: Ken Huth

Many donated instruments have a story. One woman said: "Though it has aged some and the surface is speckled, this flute still shines bright in my memory. Music has sustained my life in so many ways."

That sentiment has also been expressed by students who told us of their love of music, their devotion to practice and their eagerness to succeed in life. As one School 17 elementary school student wrote, "With your help, I will be successful playing the viola in a big concert one day."

Support the Program


Use the button at right to make a donation in support of REF and the Spring for Music program. We also encourage organizations to coordinate special events, such as concerts, to benefit the program.

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