Excerpted from “U.S. University Wants to Improve Musical Education in Costa Rica,” published on the Mason NewsDesk and reprinted in the Costa Rica Star for August 14, 2016.
What started as a simple project to gather more instruments for George Mason University students quickly blossomed into a program that provides instruments and arts enrichment programs to underserved elementary and middle school students in Northern Virginia.
Eight years ago, George Mason’s own music students needed additional instruments. Students were renting instruments and borrowing from friends to pass their academic requirements and gain instrument proficiency. The solution was the Instruments in the Attic program, launched in September 2008 by George Mason alumnus John Paul Phaup, MBA ’91, who is a member of the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees.
Housed within the Potomac Arts Academy, the program assesses, repairs and redistributes instruments to schools and members of the community who cannot afford private lessons or do not have access to instruments. To date, the program has collected more than 700 instruments.
“The greatest winners are the kids who get an instrument and a teacher,” Phaup said.
With Instruments in the Attic growing and helping both community members and Mason students, six members of the Potomac Arts Academy, Mason’s School of Music and the Mason Foundation’s Board of Trustees visited music and arts schools throughout San Jose, Costa Rica, in May to explore a collaboration between Instruments in the Attic and Mason Study Abroad.