Under the Music for Schools scheme devised by the Co-op and Yamaha, every Pounds 10 spent at one of the participating stores will earn a voucher that can go towards 120 different instruments. They range from the humble triangle, costing 22 vouchers, to a smart acoustic piano that will involve people shopping till they drop to raise 26,161 vouchers. A basic descant recorder will cost 35 vouchers.
The initiative comes in response to research conducted for the Co-op which found four out of five schools had insufficient instruments to go round.
Co-op spokesman Ian Macleod said: "For many years the budget for school music has been squeezed and squeezed. It has now reached a point where the majority of schools are crying out for help."
The response has been enthusiastic. More than 3,500 schools have already signed up and 100 registrations are coming in each day.
For more information, schools should ring 0990 133340. Music for Schools vouchers will be issued for 20 weeks from September 30 until February 16. Vouchers will be redeemable until March 31.