The Johnson String Project

The Johnson String Project Establishes First Musical Instrument Lending Library for Culturally Under-served Students​

MA Cultural Council Supports Effort to Provide and Maintain Instruments

Newton, MA – The Johnson String Project, supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), has created the first musical instrument lending library in the country to provide string instruments for culturally under-served students. More than 1,000 students supported through MCC’s SerHacer (from the Spanish, “to be, to make”) Program, many from underserved communities, will be able to exchange and upgrade instruments as they grow and develop as musicians.

“The Johnson String Project recognizes that these programs are critical to the development of young minds,” said Anita Walker, MCC Executive Director. “It is the first organization in the world to build an instrument library to remove a significant barrier to musical education.”

The overall goal of the Johnson String Project is an expansion of Johnson String Instrument’s belief that all students are entitled to a high-quality instrument.

The Johnson String Project is a charitable foundation supported by Johnson String Instrument (JSI) of Newton, Massachusetts, New England’s largest stringed instrument company. It is designed to offer the same level of service and high-quality instruments that all JSI customers have come to expect at discounted rates for qualifying programs. “Encouraging a love of music and enabling it with high-quality, well-maintained musical instruments is what the Johnson String Project is all about,” said Carol Johnson of the Johnson String Project.

Using musical education as a vehicle for social mobility was pioneered by El Sistema. Founded in Venezuela in 1975, the program uses music to teach values and skills that empower children to break the cycle of poverty. Many of the programs that benefit from this library are inspired by the original Venezuelan system.

Mariah Farrah Howell, 2015