Statistically, students who are involved in music (either appreciation or performance) do better in school. According to the American Chemical Society, nearly 100% of past winners in the prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science, and Technology (for high School students) play one or more musical instruments (The Midland Chemist (American Chemical Society) Vol. 42, No.1, Feb. 2005). And The College Entrance Examination Board reports that music students outperform their non-arts peers: in 2006, SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 43 points higher on her math portion than students with no coursework or experience in the arts. (The College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Report for 2006).

Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, music programs in schools are under fire. That’s why parents turn to organizations like The School of Harmony, Inc. for help. The School of Harmony – our fourth charitable organization in our 12 Days of Charitable Giving – offers one-on-one music, art, and dance instruction in a reclaimed public school building in Beaver, West Virginia.

The mission of The School of Harmony, Inc. is explained on their web site as:

To foster excellence in fine arts, to challenge students of every age and background; to develop their talents, desires, and abilities; to assist students in achieving their pursuit of originality; to encourage them to find and enjoy their unique gifts and to be responsive and a blessing to the greater community.

To that end, students attend weekly lessons for $100 monthly tuition. Underprivileged students are not denied access to the school’s music instruction; a scholarship fund subsidized by local individuals and school-sponsored fundraisers assures that music is not restricted from any student who possesses the desire to learn.

Since the school’s humble beginnings in 2004, it has provided music lessons to more than two thousand students, ranging in age from four years-old to eighty-two years-young. It has been distinguished as a leader in West Virginia arts education and has earned local recognition of its revitalization efforts. Local businesses and individuals have generously committed themselves to the support of the curriculum and mission.

And, according to Michele Davis, CPA, who donates professional services to the school, they’re just getting tuned up.

How can you help? If you live nearby, you can volunteer to help. Check out their wish list or make a donation online to the school, by check or by telephone at 304.253.3095.

A search at (which I highly recommend any time you are considering making a donation to a charity) reveals that The School of Harmony is on the IRS list of charitable organizations. To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website.

As we go along this month, I encourage you to check out the charities that made our list this year:

Remember that these are just suggestions and, in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the good work that these folks do. So be generous. But be smart.

For more on making charitable donations, check out some of these prior posts:

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.

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