Richard Standard of Petaluma is an artist and storyteller. He’s also a musician whose goal for years has been to get as many children as possible involved in playing music.

Standard’s latest project is dulcimer building and playing. He’s on, seeking donations to build stringed instruments for county students.

He hopes to raise enough money — $6,600 by Oct. 11 – to engage 100 boys and girls and Boys & Girls clubs staff members in decorating, constructing and learning to play a three-string mountain lap dulcimer with a recycled cardboard sound body.

The program, Standard said, combines multiple art and production skills ending up with “a beautiful, handmade, playable instrument.

“This project is fun and educational at the same time,’ Standard continued, “and a wonderful introduction to the world of stringed instruments combining the visual arts and construction basics of instrument building. When the project is done the participants will be able to play in their own dulcimer orchestra as well as solo, duet and trio.”

Kids need more exposure to music to help exercise and “fine tune” their brains, Standard said. Calling this a win-win project, he cited studies showing “children’s exposure to playing music enhances their learning capabilities in math as well as spoken and written language arts and overall academic achievement.}

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