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At a time when schools are scaling back their music programs or abandoning them altogether, Little Kids Rock is giving kids the use of free instruments and free, original lessons in the music they love. Little Kids Rock not only donates instruments, but more importantly, it empowers any qualified public school teacher to create a vibrant music program or revive a program that has gone dormant. Our student-centered approach concentrates on the music styles kids love, and goes further by teaching students to write their own original songs.
More than 42,000 students currently participate in Little Kids Rock programs in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas and Washington DC. Our success in the past eight years with nearly 100,000 kids in twenty cities nationwide has us poised to make a dramatic change in public school music.
To restore and revitalize music education in our country's public school system.
Little Kids Rock began in 1996 as an informal effort by elementary school teacher David Wish to give his San Francisco Bay Area second grade students a music enrichment program, as his school did not have funding for a curricular music program. Borrowing from friends and scouring area flea markets for instruments, he began offering free after-school guitar classes, which had them playing, within minutes of teaching, the types of music they listen to, and enabled them to improvise and compose freely around a basic network of ideas and skills. Little Kids Rock was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2001, and has since expanded from serving 500 students in the San Francisco Bay Area to serving more than 42,000 low-income public school students in ten states and the District of Columbia.
Little Kids Rock recruits, trains and equips public school teachers to start music programs at their schools. We provide an intensive, engaging professional development workshop for teachers, give schools instruments for students to use, and we give ongoing support to teachers with our multi-media curriculum, including music lessons in video format. Little Kids Rock is low-cost and works effectively in many different school settings – plus – our centralized administration minimizes the financial and administrative burden on schools and is an incentive for schools to participate.. Little Kids Rock works on the principle that building schools’ human resource capacity, as well as meeting their equipment needs, prepares schools to be active participants in the restoration of their music programs, and will achieve the most effective and sustainable outcomes.
Because Little Kids Rock’s program is student-centered, it expands the franchise of music education beyond communities that can afford artist-in-residence or conservatory-type programs in their schools. Little Kids Rock levels the playing field of cultural literacy in music, giving students skills they can take beyond the classroom and leverage for social capital or pursue as a career choice. The confidence, emotional and intellectual growth, and discipline fostered by creating music refocuses students’ energy, making participation in high-risk behaviors far less appealing.
This school year Little Kids Rock plans to open two new chapters and reach more than 50,000 students, overall.
David Wish has distinguished himself as a dynamic and visionary educational leader. In 2005, David was awarded a fellowship by the Draper Richards Foundation to support his work as social entrepreneur at Little Kids Rock. Before founding Little Kids Rock in 1996, he spent ten years as an elementary school teacher, during which time he served his peers as master teacher, clinician and trainer. He has also worked as a Spanish bilingual teacher, a school music teacher, and a professional musician. David has used his hands-on experience as a educator to develop the innovative methodology that enables Little Kids Rock programs to transform music education in public schools. David is a credentialed teacher in the state of California and holds B.A. in Sociology and History from Brandeis University.
Doug Camplejohn, Fliptop
Karen Chakmakian, Fuzz Artists, Inc.
Cindy Cowan, Cindy Cowan Entertainment
Leslie R. Crutchfield, Ashoka Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship
J. Michael Fernandez, BTI Group
Ken Golden, Ed.D., Golden Professional Corporation (Dr. Golden is an advisor to the Board)
Todd Shaiman, Pixar Animation Studios
Jay Vyas, Vyas Capital Management, LLC
California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois
116 Greenwood Ave.
MONTCLAIR, NJ 07042-4907
Phone: (973) 746-8248
A Gift Card
Keys to Learning
One classroom keyboard
This gift will provide one keyboard plus one year's worth of instruction and curriculum for a child in an underprivileged public school.
Rock a Teacher!
This gift will provide one teacher’s guide plus one year's worth of curriculum resources and mentoring for a teacher in an underprivileged public school.
Rock A Classroom!
Guitars for one class!
This gift will provide rockin' instruments plus instruction and curriculum for an entire class of underprivileged public school children for an entire school year.
Rock A Child!
One guitar for a child
This gift will provide one guitar plus one year's worth of instruction and curriculum for a child in an underprivileged public school.