BUENA PARK, Calif. – For fifty years, Yamaha has been a strong supporter of music education in the United States. In its latest educational initiative, the company announces a working relationship with the Traveling Guitar Foundation, pledging to provide low-cost Gigmaker Electric Guitar kits and digital keyboards that the foundation will donate to worthy schools.
“We are always seeking ways to put instruments into the hands of students because the value of active music-making in a child’s life is incalculable,” said Rick Young, Senior Vice President of the Yamaha Corporation of America.
Gigmaker Electric Guitar kits include everything a beginner guitarist needs to get started, including a Pacifica PAC012 guitar, an amplifier and a host of other accessories. Yamaha makes a wide range of keyboards that offer unparalleled quality and value for keyboard players at every level of proficiency.
Co-founder of the Traveling Guitar Foundation, guitarist and songwriter Damon Marks, has performed and recorded with top names in the music business, but he also enjoys giving back. His foundation, based in Scotch Plains, N.J., provides musical instruments for schools that lack well-developed music programs.
“Yamaha is a legendary company that helps bring strength and expertise to the Traveling Guitar Foundation,” said Marks. “Guitars and keyboards are the two hottest instruments of choice for students and Yamaha makes some of the best guitars and keyboards in the world.”
The Traveling Guitar Foundation’s name derives from two custom guitars that are constructed each year by foundation co-founder Keith Ballurio of Ballurio Guitars in Manassas, Virginia. These guitars are placed in the hands of famous guitarists, who play and sign them. The guitars are auctioned off after a year of travel and the proceeds help the foundation fulfill its mission.
Thanks to extensive media coverage, Marks’s foundation is functioning as a “well-oiled machine,” he says, and there’s no shortage of schools seeking him out for musical equipment. When he visits a school, he tries to bring along well-known music personalities to help deliver the message and the goods, including Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC, music producer Kasseem (Swizz Beatz) Dean and producer Conrad Robinson of MBK Entertainment. Sponsoring artists include renowned guitarists Eric Johnson, Bruce Kulick and Steve Lukather.
The new relationship with Yamaha “lets us continue to grow so now we can increase our presence and bring the value of music education to a bigger audience,” said Marks.
Learn more about the Foundation at http://travelingguitar.org/.