Students, faculty use music to enhance children’s lives

They may not be music majors, but a group of TCU students and faculty are nonetheless using music to improve the quality of children’s lives.

Chords for Kids president J.B. Martin said that the organization’s goal is to brighten the day of children in need and help them forget about tough times by playing music for them.

The student service organization play instruments and sing at hospitals and centers for mentally disabled children like KinderFrogs.

Martin, a senior neuroscience major, said he started the organization in the spring of 2010 after volunteering at Cook Children’s Hospital. He said he has always wanted to help children.

“I’ve always had an affinity toward kids from past mission trip experiences,” Martin said. “I feel like kids, especially kids who are struggling and going through hard times, can really use music.”

Martin said he has seen the affect music can have on children, which motivated him to start Chords for Kids.

“I’ve seen how helpful it can be to kids, and how it can immediately just brighten their faces and make them forget about what they’re going through,” Martin said. “So, I just put two and two together and thought it would be a great thing to do for the hospitalized kids especially, but now we’re doing other ventures as well.”

Senior neuroscience major Alexi Bulloch is Chords for Kids’ volunteer coordinator, and said the goal was to make kids happy.

“In certain settings, especially in the hospital, it’s not a very a good time, and it can be kind of scary,” Bulloch said. “So, we just want to go in and just provide some area where they can play with us or they can enjoy the music and try to get away from what’s going on around them.”

Bulloch said the organization did not target a specific group, but performed for children with Down’s syndrome, learning disabilities and autism.

According to the Chords for Kids’ website, the group is open to any student, faculty or staff member who wanted to make a difference in a child’s life.

“It is honestly one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, and I just wish it had been around when I started [at TCU],” Bulloch said.

Giridhar Akkaraju, associate professor of biology, was the faculty mentor of the group. He said Chords for Kids was a “fine organization” to be in.

“It’s an organization of people who like music and want to take music to kids who are sick or otherwise disabled as a way of entertaining them,” Akkaraju said. “It could be even therapeutic.”

Akkaraju said the group was looking for new students to be leaders because most of the current officers are graduating May 2012.

Chords for Kids has weekly meetings, and Martin said he envisioned the organization as a “casual low-key” group that does not require its members to pay for anything but a t-shirt and a music folder.

Martin said the goal for the year was to increase participation and continue to make a difference in children’s lives.

Chords for Kids Meetings
When: Monday nights at 8 p.m.
Where: Ed Landreth 113
For more information visit or contact J.B. Martin at [email protected]