The Los Angeles Unified School District is seeking donations of used band and orchestra instruments that secondary school musicians can use for free.
Whether the instrument is a moldy oldie or nearly new, repair technicians will restore it to playing condition for use by student musicians, said John Rosell, district supervisor for musical instrument repair.
Although the school district has always accepted donations of musical instruments, Rosell said he wanted to spread the word again following a Times article this week about a Northridge music store owner's used-instrument drive.
Big Valley Music owner Carole Ozanian launched the drive in an effort to increase the pool of used instruments for student musicians who may not be able to afford to buy or rent a new instrument.
The music store will accept instruments as donations or buy them for nominal fees, Ozanian said. The instruments would then be refurbished and rented or sold.
Under the school district program, Rosell said, donated woodwind, brass, percussion and string instruments are overhauled by one of 22 technicians at the LAUSD central repair shop in downtown Los Angeles.
The instruments are then shipped out to district schools, Rosell said. Donors can specify which school or cluster is to receive the instrument.
"Donors will receive an official form from the district stating that the donation was made and the market value of the instrument," Rosell said. The value is determined by technicians who estimate the instrument's age and repair cost and weigh other factors, he said.
The instruments are then rented to elementary school students for $15 for the school year, compared with $15 or more a month through retail stores, Rosell said. "If anything breaks down, we repair it for free and send it back to the school," he said.
At the secondary level, Rosell said, there is no charge for students to use instruments because they are only allowed to use them in class.
"Different kids use the instruments during different class hours, so no one takes it home," Rosell said. "We encourage kids at the secondary level to buy instruments or rent them from stores. We give them advice on where to go for the best deals."
For more information about donating instruments, call Rosell at (213) 763-2919; Donald Dustin, director of performing arts, Office of Instruction, at (213) 625-6413; or local school music departments.