Since 2003, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) has kept the beat for school music programs by raising funds to pay for instruction and collecting instruments.

The efforts have ensured every elementary school student in Santa Barbara Unified learns to play an instrument as part of their school day curriculum, a rarity for California school districts.

In recent years, SBEF staff and local music education advocates have taken to the airwaves on 99.9 KTYD to ask for community support.

During last year’s Keep the Beat Instrument Drive, SBEF brought in $30,000 in funding and 60 donated instruments, including Indian string instruments, accordions, cellos, and a piccolo that will go directly into the hands of students in SB Unified music programs.

With so much depending on the annual event, SBEF will again join 99.9 KTYD for all of February for the Keep the Beat Instrument Drive. The on-air event will serve as an awareness raiser and celebration of SB Unified’s student musicians.

“We are always stunned by the way our community comes together to support students with the gift of music,” said Margie Yahyavi, SBEF executive director. “It’s such a huge win for our students.

“In addition to the problem-solving and cooperative learning skills learned through playing music, having a creative outlet can be such a huge benefit for a child, especially during this challenging time,”

The month-long radio event will feature SB Unified music teachers and local professional musicians taking to the airwaves to rally the community’s support of music education in local public schools.

This year’s guests include George Pendergast of Dishwalla, Santa Barbara High School music and band director Dylan Aguilera, and Rick Boller from the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation.

SBEF will also host a contactless instrument donation site 9 a.m.-2 p.m. every Friday in February at its offices, 1330 State St. Instrument donations are also accepted at Nick Rail Music at 2801 De La Vina Street.

Do you have an instrument gathering dust? Donate your used instruments to put them directly into a student’s hands in a local school music program.

For more information on the Keep the Beat Instrument Drive, visit or call 805-284-9125.