Play It Forward
Instrument Lending Program
The Bluegrass Music Association of Iowa (BMAI) is a licensed affiliate of the Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program, which was created by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation (BHF). BMAI works with bluegrass musicians and music teachers to foster music literacy and performance skills in deserving young people (ages 8-21) by providing no-cost access to the primary bluegrass musical instruments such as mandolins, fiddles, banjos, and guitars. As part of the Play It Forward Program, BMAI works with bluegrass clubs and associations to find musicians and music teachers who are willing to become a bluegrass mentor for those young people who seek to borrow instruments under the program.
The Play It Forward! Program policies are similar to those of your public library:
Young people will be required to complete an application process that includes providing valid identification and a parental permission form.
The estimated value of the instrument will be stated in an agreement that encourages responsibility for the instrument by the borrower.
Students will be asked to send a thank-you note to the instrument’s donor
(if applicable) and to BMAI.
In addition, borrowers will be asked to secure a bluegrass mentor in their area who will assist them in learning the basics of their chosen instrument and the etiquette of playing with others in a disciplined musical environment.
Because maintaining instruments is necessary to keeping them easy and fun to play (and to keeping them viable for many years), BMAI will maintain a fund for the maintenance and upkeep of the Play It Forward! Program instruments. BMAI will coordinate with the borrowers, and with the sponsoring bluegrass mentor, to make sure that the instruments are properly cared for over time.
Loan periods will be for one year, with annual renewals encouraged following an
inspection of the instrument by the borrower’s sponsor or music teacher or BMAI.
When the borrower is ready to acquire an instrument of their own, they must return the borrowed instrument to BMAI so that the instrument, and the opportunity to learn, can be “played forward” to another young person.
You can participate in this program by donating cash or bluegrass musical instruments to the program. BMAI will make sure that donated instruments are in good working order before they are offered for use by a young person. Donors will receive a receipt for their donation and the assurance that their donation will benefit a deserving young person.
For more information or if you would like to make a donation, please contact
BMAI at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-799-1442.
The Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program was created by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation of Dallas, Texas. The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation’s mission is to preserve and promote the heritage of bluegrass music in America. The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is a non-profit corporation organized under Texas law and recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
A NOTE FROM OUR FIRST PLAY IT FORWARD PARTICIPANTS PARENT
I just wanted to say that Andy and I are so impressed with the Bluegrass community. About 4 months ago, my son told me that he wanted to play the banjo. We had very little bluegrass exposure and I had no idea on where to begin finding him a quality banjo and an instructor. After searching online a while, I found the BMAI website and through contacting them I met Lori King. She has been a blessing to us by helping Josiah get a banjo through the Play It Forward program and then has diligently worked at helping us find an instructor that can teach Bluegrass banjo and guitar for my other son. We were able to find one through several people being willing to forward and email along until it came to the right person. One person even cared enough to call us and make sure the message got through. And also when we were at the music festival in Moravia, IA everyone was above and beyond sweet to us there. They made Josiah feel special. The Harper Family took a significant amount of time to impart into each of the boys. That made a huge impact upon each of them. They are still talking about it. We are just pleased to have the opportunity to be able to raise our kids around such a wholesome community. And we are grateful to each person who took time out for Josiah and Noah to visit with them or impart to them and make them feel special. May God bless you. -Ami
Lori and Josiah Heckman with his banjo!!
Photo of banjo donated by
The Guitar Farm!!
Photo of Lori and Greg Mallot with banjo donated by
The Guitar Farm!!
Photo of BMAI Vice President Joe King with
Rick Faris and the Washburn Guitar
he donated to Play It Forward Program!!
Photo of BMAI Executive Director Lori King with Steve Hinde and the Michael Kelly Mandolin he donated to Play It Forward Program!! Thanks Steve!!
Left: Photo of BMAI Executive Director Lori King
Presenting Greta with her Play It Forward Fiddle at the Des Moines Ramada Tropics
Hotel in December 2012.
Photo of 9 year old
Sam Benz from
Udell, Iowa with his
Play It Forward
guitar May 2013.
Right: Photo of BMAI Member at Large Aaron Bradley giving Colter Johnson from Stratford, IA his Play It Forward Banjo June 2013
BMAI would like to thank the following people for their generous contributions to the Play It Forward program in honor of Pat Strawhun:
Walter and Will Volz
Laurie & Frank Helderle
Pat was a long standing member of the Missouri Area Bluegrass Committee and loved bluegrass music. We are grateful her family chose us as one of their charities to honor her name!!