Want to see hundreds of pieces of music kit from keyboards to oscilloscopes, plus some 1500 mini-Theremin toys for students, coupled with US-wide education to help introduce young people to science? That’s the idea behind a grant proposal by the Moog Foundation. The Foundation’s MoogLab teaches science through sound – a worthy cause. Not only was Bob Moog’s life in electronic music ignited by discovering the Theremin, but many of today’s generation of scientists and thinkers were raised on electronic sound kits a few short decades ago. Without the same exposure to science and sound, young boys and girls may not get on the same path.

If you like the idea, the project needs votes. Michael Gallant (formerly an editor Keyboard Magazine, still a contributor) writes with this update:

We are up for earning a $250K grant to take electronic music instruments into schools to teach under-served kids science via the Moog Foundation’s MoogLab program. The catch is that we’re ranked #92 now by public vote and we need to be #1 or #2 by the end of December in order to win the funding.

Voting is daily; that is, vote early, vote often. Voting every day in December gives the project you want better chances.

More information:

The Refresh Everything grant aside, I’d love to hear more discussion of how to bring electronics and sound to young people around the world – your ideas are certainly welcome.

  • This is a really cool idea – i'll definitely be voting every day. I think this is really what the future of music education is…

  • Greg

    Still waiting for not-white kids playing not-Moog instruments.
    One etherwave theremin = 7 and change Korg monotrons, who knows how many 556 timer square wave generator parts.
    I'm not apologizing for calling this marketing. There are tons of more effective ways to teach kids about music that are already underfunded, much less new ones that don't try to build future customer base.

  • Peter Kirn

    Greg, I'm happy to entertain other creative ideas about education – certainly not limited to Moog products. But FYI, Moog Foundation is not directly associated with Moog Music, despite the name.

  • Greg

    That seems odd, considering that the Moog Foundation employs a child of Mr. Moog and appears to exclusively use Moog products and Moog corporation funding, which the exception of this attempt at a grant.
    And there's no creative ideas about education here, Peter.
    If you want to teach kids about music, there are plenty of far more proven methods to teach music for exponentially less money, and without putting a brand in their head.

  • Greg

    Hell, most schools I know of would love to have an extra 200 bucks (half the cost of a theremin) of toner.

  • Greg

    . . . and the claim that the Moog Corporation is "not directly" involved in the foundation is either ignorance on your part or a bald-faced lie.
    "Representatives of Moog Music will also serve on the advisory board."
    That's PR copy from the foundation on wikipedia. i.e. Straight from the horse's mouth.
    I'm also terribly amused that the second-largest budget item is personal expenses for the executive director. Apparently seeking more funding costs 50% more than my take home pay a year. I live in North Asia and have family in Eastern Canada and the US Midwest. I couldn't spend that much money on travel and living expenses in a year if I tried.
    Are they taking applications for cheaper admins with a strong music, education and inside/outside sales background? I'm also bilingual and have extensive leadership and volunteer experience.
    You have my email, Peter.

  • Greg

    Yeah, sorry, but wounded veterans and musical instruments for kids in South Bend both sound a lot more worth the cash.

  • Hi Greg,

    I thought I would respond here, as there are some important misconceptions to address. 

    The Bob Moog Foundation is not formally affiliated with Moog Music, Inc. Moog Music is owned by my father's former business partner, Mike Adams. The family has no financial interest in the company. The company is supportive of the Foundation, but their financial donations to the BMF over the past 4 years have totaled less that $15,000 — much of that was some much needed seed money in 2006. That funding represents about 5% of the funding that we've brought in during that period.

    The BMF was created by Bob's family friends and colleagues. Mike Adams is on our Board, but so are 7 other people who are not affiliated with Moog Music. His presence does not influence what instruments we will be using to execute our grants. As a matter of fact, non-profit laws address this issue head on. Mike Adams is not allowed to vote on any purchase of equipment from the BMF. So far this has not been a problem as he has donated all of the instruments that we use for MoogLab.

    Moog Music does donate to the BMF, but at modest amounts. This year they donated a Moog Guitar for us to raffle, but otherwise there has been no financial donation. Last year they donated $1,000.00. At the inception of the foundation, Mike donated some important seed money, but since then the financial support has been less substantial. 

     Moog Lab does not only mean Moog instruments — and it is certainly not a marketing ploy. While Moog instruments will certainly be used, we will be looking for other intuitive instruments that help teach the science behind electronic music. I welcome your suggestions; I love the idea of the wave tone generators that you mention. As we develop this program, we will be forming an Educational Advisory team to assist us in making these decisions.

    We are in unique position to acquire theremins at a reduced price, thus stretching our dollars. An effective theremin set up in a school will last for five to ten years, if not more. 

    Regarding the $35,000 set out to cover Executive Director's expense, I'm afraid you've got the wrong idea. Part of that is for travel and for material that we will need to develop. As the sole employee of the Bob Moog Foundation, I am responsible for doing everything. Thus, I will need to administer this grant, which will take about half my time as it's a substantial undertaking. I make a whopping $42,000 a year — after taxes I take home $2,600 a month.  And that for working close to 80 hours a week on a pretty consistent basis. Administering the grant is likely to take over half my time, so we allotted for that so that we can retain fiscal stability within the BMF while I spend my time on this grant, and not on other fundraising opportunities that I normally seek to keep the foundation alive.

    You are welcome to your opinion regarding our project. I'm willing to bet that you've never seen how a child lights up when they first play a theremin and watch the waveforms they are making, nor how engaged they are. Nor have you talked to delighted teachers after we have been in their class rooms.

    If you cared to examine our budget in a positive light, you would see that we will be hiring an educational director for this project. If you'd like to apply once we get the grant, please email us at info@moogfoundation.org. Your competition will be stiff, as we've had many people enthusiastically interested in helping us with this project.

    Regarding the ethnic composition of the kids we are serving, right now that population is about 50% caucasian 40% African American 5% Oriental and 5% eastern european. We aim to serve minorities and underserved populations.

    Your attempt to paint us as a corporate- funded, marketing tool, uninformed, elitist, self-serving organization is misguided, uninformed and gratuitously negative. 

    As one person recently put it, Bob effected millions of people, but never had millions of dollars (or anything close to it). We are a minimally funded, one employee organization with a core of amazing volunteers. We started with no money, and for four years have existed on a budget that is in the five figures. I worked out of my basement for three years and out of sheer determination and sacrifice have grown the organization despite severe economic challenges.  

    The Pepsi Refresh grant would put us at the forefront of science education — which is where we intend to be, igniting creativity at the intersection of music, science and innovation. We have thousands of people supporting us and we look forward to the journey.


  • Michael Flanagan

    This is a wonderful idea, even if just simply for a new way of getting kids into music at an age when a band with guitar, drums, bass, and vocals is a rarer combination.

    My college actually has a Moog soundlab. It's part of the reason I came here to study music technology. 

  • I wish them good luck 🙂

    We kind of did the same thing in Estonia. Just finished touring across the land in youth centers a week ago.

    We taught youngsters how to make MIDI controllers and how to hook them up with Ableton, FL Studio etc. The goal was also to teach science through music. It was funded by EU.

  • Lugg Lohner

    MIchelle your response to greg rocks!
    keep up the good work and hopefully all the hours you are spending getting this off the ground will be worth it to a whole generation of kids!!!
    It has long been proven that teaching kids music at an early age also helps them with mathematics and science in the classroom.
    remember that music is just a wave of sound that vibrates in our eardrum. Now that sound like science to me
    the dodo drummer
    Lugg Lohner 

  • The Japanese magazine, Otona no Kagaku do these great kits with each issue. I always head straight for the newsagent when I visit Japan to see what's there.
    makershed sell them in USA
    it shows that cheap, simple make-it-yourself products are possible. Of course balancing between the pleasure of making it oneself and the solidity needed to survive in a school music corner for 5 years is a big design challenge! sure most of the children of the world need safety, food and water – but they also need synths 🙂 well… means of creative expression and learning about science.

    cheers,  Rod