WQXR Announces Second Instrument Drive to Collect Musical Instruments for New York City and Newark Public School Music Programs

WQXR Announces Second Instrument Drive to Collect 
Musical Instruments for New York City and Newark Public School Music Programs

Drive to Run FRIDAY, APRIL 8 – SUNDAY, APRIL 17 at 
Drop-Off Locations in NYC, Northern NJ, Westchester, and Long Island

Drive Kicks Off on Friday, April 8 with an Event at Lincoln Center with 
New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña

Uber to Provide Free Pick Up of Donations from Manhattan and Northern New Jersey
on Saturday, April 9 from 10am-3pm

NYC Department of Education and Newark Public Schools Partner with 
WQXR to Enhance Music Education in New York and Newark, NJ


(March 21, 2016 – New York, NY) -- WQXR, New York’s only classical station, announced today its second WQXR INSTRUMENT DRIVE.  From April 8-17, the initiative invites people throughout the New York City metro region and New Jersey to donate their gently used musical instrument, for distribution to music programs at New York City and Newark public schools, as well as community music programs.  The drive is held in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and Newark Public Schools.

WQXR’s inaugural instrument drive in 2014 was an enormous success with over 3,000 musical instruments collected, tripling the initial goal of 1,000 instruments. The instruments were then refurbished and distributed to more than 100 public schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. They have provided music education for more than 10,000 students, and will ultimately serve more than 50,000 students.

The 2016 WQXR INSTRUMENT DRIVE, which aims to collect at least 6,000 instruments, kicks off with an event at Lincoln Center on Friday, April 8 from 12:45-1:30 PM.  Carmen Fariña, the New York City Schools Chancellor, will provide remarks, and the event will feature a performance by students from Long Island City High School, a school that received instruments through the last drive.

WQXR is partnering with Uber to provide free instrument pick-ups within Manhattan and Northern New Jersey on Saturday April 9th from 10 AM-3PM. Uber riders will be able to enter the promo code GIVEMUSIC to request a vehicle on demand to come pick up their instruments.

Throughout the campaign, donors will be able to bring their instruments to drop-off locations in all five NYC boroughs, Westchester, Long Island and Northern New Jersey.  Instrument drop-off locations include Sam Ash Music Stores, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Brooklyn Music School, David Rubinstein Atrium at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, InterContinental Barclay New York Hotel, SoundCloud, and 92nd Street Y (on April 12, 14, and 17). A complete list with addresses may be found HERE. The New York City Department of Education will partner to identify usable instruments, repair them, and distribute them to New York City schools.

In addition, WQXR INSTRUMENT DRIVE will host a number of drop-off events in New York City and across the region:

▪          Friday, April 8 from 12:45–1:30PM:  Kickoff Event at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium (61 West 62nd Street)

The event will be hosted by WQXR’s General Manager Graham Parker and Elliott Forrest. Featured guest is Carmen Fariña, the current New York City Schools Chancellor/ head of the New York City Department of Education.  There will be a performance by students from Long Island City High School.

▪          Saturday, April 9 from 10 AM–3 PM:  Uber Day

Free instrument pick-ups within Manhattan and Northern New Jersey Uber riders can enter promo code GIVEMUSIC to request a vehicle.

▪          Sunday, April 10 at 2PM:   Sam Ash Megastore Play Along (333 West 34th Street)

Come to Sam Ash with an instrument and join subway trumpeter Eganam Segbefia, who will lead a “play along.”  Music will be available at www.WQXR .org the week of April 4.

▪          Tuesday, April 12 from 10 AM–3PM:  WQXR Host Day at Lincoln Center

On-air personalities from WQXR, including Elliott Forrest and Julian Fleisher, will be on hand to welcome donors and accept instruments. Some surprise guests from WNYC will be on-hand as well.

▪          Saturday, April 16 from1–7PM:  Rosamunde Sausage Grill (285 Bedford Avenue)

Drop off celebration at the Rosamunde Sausage Grill in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  On draught at the event and all week will be WBrewXR, a special one-off release from Yonkers Brewing Co, brewed in honor of the WQXR Instrument Drive.

▪          Sunday, April 17 from 10 AM–5PM:  Brooklyn Flea (DUMBO)

Bring an instrument to Brooklyn Flea’s new location under the Manhattan Bridge Archway.

▪          Sunday, April 17:  Closing event at Carnegie Hall (881 7th Avenue)

The Drive culminates at Carnegie Hall, where audience members for DCINY’s presentation of Martin Palmeri’s Misa a Buenos Aires (Misatango) will be invited to donate instruments. Open to ticket buyers only. 


“For decades, WQXR has been committed to contributing to the musical life of the City, and the WQXR Instrument Drive is one of our proudest achievements,” said Graham Parker, General Manager, WQXR. “We were so overwhelmed by the number of people who generously stepped forward to donate during the last drive, giving more students access to music education and all the benefits that derive from that experience. But the need for instruments in our schools is still there, so our work isn’t done. We are delighted to partner once again with the New York City Department of Education and are thrilled to welcome Newark Public Schools as well.”

“We are delighted to partner once again with WQXR to strengthen music education in New York City,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “The arts is back in New York City public schools – we have the highest number of public school arts teachers in a decade, and we’re investing an additional $23 million in arts education annually. But we can do so much more with the partnership of New York’s amazing residents and arts community, and this Instrument Drive is truly an example of that partnership making a difference in the lives of our students.”

“We are excited to partner with WQRX and the NYC Department of Education on this important initiative that will support music programs across our communities,” said Margaret El, Special Assistant for Arts, Newark Public Schools. “The WQRX Instrument Drive will further enhance Newark Public Schools’ music education programs by expanding possibilities for our students to grow and learn in the arts. We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this important initiative.”

The WQXR INSTRUMENT DRIVE is a zero waste effort. Instruments collected through the drive will be assessed, refurbished and distributed to public school music programs, with the partnership of the New York City Department of Education and Newark Public Schools. Instruments that cannot be of use in schools will be distributed to non-profit community music programs. . All unusable instruments are donated to Materials for the Arts where the instruments are re-purposed. Find out more here online at www.nyc.gov/html/dcla/mfta.

More information on the WQXR Instrument Drive, including the locations of drop-off sites, the Uber partnership and event specifics, may found at www.WQXR.org/kids. The Twitter and Instagram hashtag for the campaign is #GiveMusicNYC.



Music education has been shown to have a broad and significant positive impact on students’ social and academic development:

  • Schools with music programs have an attendance rate of 93.3% compared to 84.9% in schools without music programs. [Source: The National Association for Music Education. "Music Makes the Grade." The National Association for Music Education. Accessed February 24, 2015].
  • Schools with music programs have significantly higher graduation rates than do those without music programs (90.2 percent as compared to 72.9 percent).  In addition, those that rate their programs as “excellent or very good” have an even higher graduation rate (90.9 percent). [Source: Harris Interactive Inc. (2006). Understanding the Linkages Between Music Education and Educational Outcomes.]

In addition, young children who received a year of musical training show brain changes and superior memory compared to children who did not receive training. Studies by the US Department of Education show that students who report consistently high levels of involvement in instrumental music during the middle- and high-school years show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12. Students who participate in school band or orchestra have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs among any group in our society.  And there is a high relationship between interest in school music and high self-perception, high cognitive competence scores, and general self-esteem.

Other supporters of the WQXR INSTRUMENT DRIVE include Kevin Bacon and his organization SixDegrees.org.  In June 2015, he teamed up with WQXR to help raise the funds that will be required to refurbish instruments that will be collected in the 2016.  A video of the event is available here.

The 2014 instrument drive was filled with a number of personal donation stories.  One such story has resulted in a documentary that will be featured at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. In the short documentary Joe's Violin, a 91-year-old Polish Holocaust survivor donates his violin of 70 years to the WQXR instrument drive, changing the life of a 12-year-old schoolgirl from the nation’s poorest congressional district, and unexpectedly, his own.  Joe's Violin illuminates the immense power of music to provide comfort, evoke memory and connect people across generations.


The WQXR Instrument Drive is generously supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation. Additional support has been provided by Thomas S. and Patricia Y. Bain.

The WQXR Instrument Drive is supported, in part, by the InterContinental New York Barclay. 

WQXR 105.9 FM, which streams live at www.wqxr.org, is New York City’s only all-classical music station, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life. WQXR presents new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the New York Philharmonic, among other venues. WQXR also broadcasts essential destination programs including the Metropolitan Opera Radio Saturday Matinee Broadcasts, New York Philharmonic This Week, and The McGraw-Hill Financial Young Artists Showcase. For listeners in search of the new, WQXR operates Q2 Music, an online music stream dedicated to contemporary classical composers, cross-genre adventures, and performances from New York City's edgier venues. Operavore is WQXR’s opera site featuring news, interviews, and commentaries from the world of opera, as well as a 24/7 all-opera stream. WQXR.org provides essential playlist information and online listening, as well as original content, host blogs, NYC cultural news, videos, and a free app allows listeners to take WQXR with them wherever they go.