Monday, October 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 33

Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on November 8th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 36

LOCAL NOTES: IndiePulse holds an instrument drive for local kids


The moment a young musician gets his or her first instrument is a transformative one.

Joseph Timmons, publisher of the online music magazine IndiePulse and a lifelong drummer, remembers his first drum set clearly. Timmons has been the main writer and editor for IndiePulse for several years, and four years ago he decided to use his connections and audience to give instruments to local kids in need.

Locals can contribute their used instruments to kids in need through IndiePulse magazine’s HeartBeat 4 Kids program through Feb. 1.

The HeartBeat 4 Kids Program was born, and so Timmons hosts an instrument drive every year.

“We do our best to collect used musical instruments,” he said. “Let’s say somebody is having a yard sale and is selling a guitar for four bucks, I’ll buy it. Or let’s say somebody says, ‘Hey, I’ve got this drum set that needs all new heads, you want it?’ I’ll take it.”

The drive began on Nov. 1 and runs through Feb. 1 of next year, Timmons explained. He said he will accept any and all used instruments from locals who want to contribute.

He also has other partners in the community who are going to help out with any repairs or other care that the instruments might need.

“We’ll put drum heads on the drums, put strings on the guitars, we’ll clean them up, fix the cracks, and get them in cases,” Timmons said.

Locals can also donate money at the IndiePulse website, Timmons said, to help fund those repairs or transportation of larger instruments like pianos. Part of the program also includes connecting kids with local music teachers as well, he said.

Music Motive in San Luis Obispo will host the HeartBeat 4 Kids giveaway event on Feb. 17 next year, where local youth whose families have signed up will receive an instrument.

All the efforts will come together at an event on Feb. 17, when the instruments will be given to local families that have signed up at the IndiePulse and shown their need. Timmons said that last year’s drive was his biggest, and said that this year’s can be even more fruitful.

Timmons has seen the result of the program, and the transformative empowerment that young people receive from having an instrument to call their own.

“Last year, a young man had got in a car accident and lost one of his legs, and he became very depressed,” Timmons said. “His parents contacted us and we gave him an upright piano and got him music lessons …  .  And now, that young man is playing piano and doing quite well, and it took him out of his depression.

“I’ve found that with music, sports, or any sort of thing that can build confidence brings people out of depression,” he added. “It brings them to a point where they want to succeed.”

The giveaway event will be held at Music Motive in San Luis Obispo, a music school that has satellite studios in Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, and Nipomo.

Music Motive’s owner, Steve Hilstein, said he’s known Timmons for years and was glad to help out with the HeartBeat 4 Kids Program after Timmons approached him. Hilstein, who’s also a drummer, remembers keenly when he got his first drum set on his 12th birthday.

“I just can’t tell you how much that boosted my self-esteem and made me feel legit as a young musician,” Hilstein said, “because when you have the equipment to really do it, it just changes everything.”

You can contribute
IndiePulse Music hosts the HeartBeat 4 Kids Program, which accepts used instruments to donate to local youth, through Feb. 1. The giveaway event is Feb. 17 at Music Motive in San Luis Obispo. Those interested in donating can contact IndiePulse at or learn more at

Timmons has made lots of friends over the years, including well-known Central Coast musicians as well as musicians from touring bands. He has many people interested in helping out, he said, from donating services like lessons or instrument repair to performances at the giveaway event on Feb. 17.

In the meantime, locals can reach out through IndiePulse and donate whatever they can, from maracas to the clarinet collecting dust in the attic. It’s all a way for local kids whose families may not be able to afford an instrument to get their hands on one, he said, and begin to spread the music.

“And who knows, maybe we’ll find the next John Lennon, the next Jimi Hendrix, the next Mozart,” he said.

Managing Editor Joe Payne remembers his first instrument well. Contact him at

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