The sound of music isn’t as sweet as it used to be, at least not at colleges and high schools, where music programs are dwindling and even shutting down altogether. Music programs have been under attack by school administrations and parents who are prioritizing other academic subjects for their students, but in between Murakami collabs, skater shoe brand Vans is fighting for kids’ right to music.

The California-based label closes the doors to its Greenpoint, Brooklyn music venue House of Vans this year, but they are going to leave a lasting impression on the nabe. In an effort to uplift the local community’s music and art educational programs, Vans has started a grant program called “Vans Gives A Band Music Fund,” to “inspire and empower students to embrace their creativity through music.” 

Ten Brooklyn public schools will have a chance to receive $10,000 of music equipment to form a rock, jazz, or classical ensemble band. Additionally, Vans will give the winning school a $10,000 grant to fund their music program.

“Vans believes everyone should be empowered to express themselves creatively, but creative outlets are not always accessible,” says Brooke Burt, Vans Senior Manager of Lifestyle Marketing.

“House of Vans opened its doors to give people the opportunity to showcase their art, learn to skate and perform their music live. We want to extend that creative energy outside the walls of House of Vans, further giving the next generation the tools needed to discover their creative talents.”

Given the current state of music in New York City schools (and American schools at large), the community could really use a boost. Last December, McNally Smith College of Music in Minnesota abruptly shut down in the midst of finals week, as reported by NPR. The closure left many students scrambling to find a plan “B,” and many of the teachers were left unpaid.

Here in New York City, sweeping educational reforms have broken up large schools that were not reporting adequate academic statistics, which has helped to improve certain things. However, as the New York Times reports, music programs are among the top educational programs to be cut due to budgetary restrictions.

These dwindling budgets are easily passed over, but the reality is that many potential artists and musicians will miss out on so many opportunities if music and art programs disappear from public schools. Luckily, the deadline to enter Vans’ music program doesn’t end until May 31—music to our ears.

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