This year, KRP Music is requesting letters from parents whose child wants a guitar for Christmas, but who have no way of affording it.
“I know there are a lot of single moms and dads out there where their kid wants a guitar but they just can’t afford it, because it’s expensive,” Phillips said.
Phillips said he has seen parents in the past go to a pawn shop to purchase a guitar for their child at an affordable price, but the guitar is usually not up to specs.
“They’ll buy a guitar and you can’t even play it. Then they bring it to me and ask if I can fix it but it’s not repairable,” Phillips said.
His hope is that the gift will uncover a love for music and for playing guitar, which is rare in today’s times.
“I don’t know a lot of guitar players anymore,” Phillips said. “When I was young, everyone wanted to play guitar. Now it’s over and done.”
Phillips began playing guitar when he was 15 years old. He said hair bands were all the rage when he was a teenager, but he might have had an ulterior motive, too.
“Obviously it was to get girls,” Phillips said.
But, more than that, he said learning to play guitar was difficult–especially before the internet.
“When we started we didn’t have the internet, now there’s a million lessons online,” Phillips said. “I actually sat down with a tape player and learned how to play. It took forever, but now you can learn a song in two minutes.”
But, he knows there are still kids that want to learn to play the guitar, they just don’t have the means to purchase the necessary equipment.
“I hope to spur that spirit again,” Phillips said. “It takes a lot of want to learn how to play. It can be painful, your fingers get really sore at first. My fingers still get sore after playing for four hours at night. But there needs to be more kids playing, otherwise where’s it going?”
Phillips has carried his love of music with him from his teenage years to now. He not only owns KRP Music, but he also plays in a local band that performs at different venues around Lubbock.
The selected child will receive a black Dean guitar with a tuner, straps, picks and a small amplifier. Phillips said depending on the response, the store might do more than one guitar this year.
Phillips wants to emphasize that the guitar should go to a child who has a desire to learn to play, not to a child whose parents want them to learn to play.
“I’ve had students come in here and their parents get mad because they’re not progressing, but if they don’t want to learn, I can’t teach them,” Phillips said. “If it was easy, everyone would want to play. I have a student who’s been in here for three months and he’s phenomenal because he wants to play. Do not force your kid to play an instrument; if they want to, they will.”
He also hopes that if a child receives the guitar and later decides they actually don’t want to play, to bring the guitar back to him.
“If they get it and they get to where they hate it or don’t like it, then bring it back to me or give it to someone else, knowing their kid wants it,” Phillips said. “If it doesn’t work out with this one, it needs to go to someone who will keep it rolling.”
The biggest thing, Phillips said, is that the guitar goes to a family that under no circumstances can afford a guitar as a Christmas gift for their kid.
“This was never meant for someone whose parents both have jobs and can afford it; this is for someone who can’t afford a guitar but wants to play–that’s the whole thing,” Phillips said. “You never know, they might be the next Zakk Wylde or Eric Clapton.”
Phillips wants this child to have the opportunity he had growing up, the chance to enjoy playing the guitar.
“That’s the main thing, opportunities; not everyone has those,” Phillips said. “There are a lot of people struggling so I’m trying to help a little and if I can, I’m going to give away more than one.”
Parents who are interested and have a child who wants to play guitar should send a letter to KRP Music. They can either drop the letter off at the store in the mail slot, or send it to 719 Houston Street, Levelland, TX, 79336.
“I’m asking parents to write the letter and tell me a little about their child, what they’ve gone through and why they want to play guitar,” Phillips said. “Again, this is for someone who has a kid that wants to play guitar and has no way to get one, so scammers, stay away.”
He is reminding parents to get him the letter as soon as possible to make sure they have the guitar in time for Christmas.