Newport Jazz Brian Lima
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Newport Festivals Foundation Announces Free Music Lessons and Instrument Rentals for Aquidneck Island Students

The benefits of music education are undeniable: it increases test scores, boosts attendance rates and improves mental health. Unfortunately, private music lessons are simply too expensive for many to afford. But that could all change on Aquidneck Island. Newport Festivals Foundation has announced a new initiative to provide free private music lessons for up to 80 students on the island in the next year.

The initiative, a partnership between Newport Festivals Foundation and The Gruben Charitable Foundation, will allow students to apply to receive ten, half-hour-long lessons at the Newport Music Shop, located on Bellevue Ave. Students can also rent a free instrument for the duration of their lessons.

“Our festivals are known around the world, so we feel a real responsibility to make sure every student in our backyard of Aquidneck Island has access to high-quality music instruction,” said Dan Swain, Director of Programs for Newport Festivals Foundation. “When the Gruben Charitable Foundation approached us with this idea to provide free music lessons, we were thrilled. It’s such a simple, yet effective solution: give kids free private lessons and an instrument. It’s the best way to improve their confidence as a musician, which will make them more likely to pursue music for years to come.”

“Personally, I wouldn’t be here today, if it weren’t for playing the piano and singing,” says Diana Oehrli, trustee of the Gruben Charitable Foundation. “In Switzerland, where I am partly from and lived for many years, the government invests in music instruction for children. Science is finally catching up to what humanity has known for ages. Playing an instrument is one of the healthiest things you can do for your brain, central nervous system, and for the development of minds at any age.”

Starting today, students can visit to sign up for lessons and rent a free instrument. Lessons will begin in the fall and be offered in guitar, piano, voice, bass, drums, saxophone, trumpet, flute, trombone, songwriting, and music theory.

Registration does not guarantee lessons. Applicants will be added to a waitlist. Once a spot opens up, Newport Festivals Foundation will email a code to receive free lessons at the Newport Music Shop located at 142 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI. Lessons will begin in the fall.

Additional funding for this initiative was also provided by the Bazarsky Family Foundation.

Questions about the initiative can be sent to




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