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Little Kids Rock

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Bands & Ensembles, Education, Music, Primary & Elementary Schools

Mission: Little Kids Rock is a national nonprofit organization determined to build a world, through music, where kids can lead creative, rich, purposeful lives, and we won't rest until every public school student has the opportunity to unlock his or her inner music-maker.

Results: Little Kids Rock has: Brought free instrumental music lessons into more than 300,000 kids' lives. Trained and equipped more than 2,360 public school teachers to run Modern Band programs. Distributed more than 46,824 to schools across the U.S. Supported more than 26 inner city public school districts' music programs.

Target demographics: K-12 public school students via music education

Direct beneficiaries per year: 135,000 students and 1,200 teachers make music a dynamic part of the school day

Geographic areas served: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington DC

Programs: We won’t rest until every public school student has the opportunity to unlock his or her inner music-maker. Little Kids Rock has worked hard to ensure access to engaging, relevant, Modern Band music classes and brand new instruments for more than 300,000 under-served schoolchildren across the U.S., at no cost to the students, teachers, or school districts. Little Kids Rock trains public school teachers, donates all of the instruments, resources and support they need to ensure that their kids receive the right to rock! What makes Little Kids Rock's Modern Band program different is that they do more than just donate instruments like guitars, drums and keyboards; they build lasting music programs that focus on teaching kids to perform, improvise and compose the popular music genres that kids already know and love, like rock, pop, hip-hop, reggae and R&B.

Community Stories

56 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I learned more about Little Kids Rock from 1Love.org's website. I think what they do for underprivileged kids is fantastic. I especially like their grassroots approach and their commitment to the kids above all else. I highly recommend this organization! A+!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Altruism in the form of empowering our disadvantaged urban youth. I speak as an LKR advocate/teacher in NJ for three years...their methods are unprecedented, their network is growing exponentially, and their core values and pedagogy applies to all content areas as well.

Review from CharityNavigator

Client Served

Rating: 5

My role with the Dallas ISD is coordinating partnerships that support our 230 schools. For the past four years, we've been blessed to have support from Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit with an incredible track record of transforming children's lives by improving and revitalizing music education in public schools in Dallas and 25 other cities nationwide. We honored this group with our highest recognition, the Superintendent's Partnership Award, in 2010.

Jessica234

Advisor

Rating: 5

Little Kids Rock is unique among nonprofits in how clear a path there is from a donation to a direct service. Money raised goes right to kids, and you can see immediate, life-changing impact from the moment they hold an instrument for the first time. LKR teachers are the most dedicated, creative volunteers I have ever met in 14 years of professional nonprofit experience. Rock on, LKR!

Rodney D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so honored to be a part of Little Kids Rock and to be one of their ambassador teachers. What LKR has done for the two schools I teach at is phenomenal. What LKR has done for our district is unparalleled. They have trained and equipped over 100 teachers in the Dallas area. At my schools alone, they have not only given over 60 instruments, but have provided teacher support like no other organization I have ever seen. Through LKR, I have been able to meet musicians and music teachers from across the country, learn, work on curriculum, and grow as a teacher.
Little Kids Rock makes every teacher feel like somebody important. In turn, we teachers are inspired to make our students feel the same way. Little Kids Rock is not only helping to put music back in the public school classroom, it is putting fun back in learning...

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Little Kids Rock in January of 2011 by one of my college professors. Interested in music PR (as a potential career), I had researched the company and found that as a charity, LKR raises money to restore and revitalize music education in public schools. It wasn't until I became a volunteer that I FULLY understood what this organization does for children. Yes, they provide free musical instruments and lessons to students who's schools have been stripped of the funds to provide for them, but they also allow for students to learn and explore their creativity and confidence. Without these lessons, students have a stronger chance of getting into trouble, and being less engaged in their school work. LKR gives kids something to look forward to - it makes them WANT to get up in the morning and go to school. It's said that approximately 52% of students engaged in music are more likely to attend college and/or continue their education after high school. That statistic alone had this organization on the top of my favorite list. With music lessons boosting a child's confidence and creativity, it's no wonder why music classes are so important to a school's curriculum. Don't let a rock star slip through the cracks! Help LKR help our children.

Advisor

Rating: 5

After coming across the Little Kids Rock organization , I was totally impressed by their mission & commitment !
Having been fortunate enough to grow up & participate in school music programs during my elementary , junior high & high-school years during the '60's , I'm well aware of the advantages & positive impact that education provided myself & my peers ! Many of them, including myself , are still involved in music as performers or business professionals or both .
Luckily through my company & my network of clients / friends , I've been able to connect LKR with some people & opportunities that will hopefully further their cause & benefit all concerned !
Also previously held a fund-raiser & plan on doing more in the future !
http://www.woodstock4ever.biz/Keepin--Kids-Rockin-.html

Review from CharityNavigator

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so thankful and honored to be part of the Little Kids Rock Family. I got started with this program on accident. The music teacher could not make the Little Kids Rock Workshop in Chicago back in 2007, so I was asked if I'd like to check it out. No worries, give up my weekend to see how we can qualify for free guitars. I myself had just started playing an instrument in 2005 so this was exciting for me. After experiencing the LKR pedagogy and how they simplified theory into student friendly terms, I was hooked! Flash forward three years later, and now I currently hold a music endorsement on my teaching certificate! I originally started as a middle school History teacher, moved to Physical Education, and now I hold an accredidation for music from the Berkley College of Music. Who would have thought that this weekend workshop would change my life as a person, starting musician, and an instructor! The kids love love LOVE this program, especially now that they can transition between chords! LKR has provided a curriculum, a drum set, and of course GUITARS!!! When LKR is scheduled at my school, it is the highlight of my day. We have had such great times, jammed with professionals, played in front of 300 + people, the list goes on and on. And why did this happen? Hard work, dedication, and the tools provided by the Little Kids Rock Foundation to get us at the level where we are today!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got very lucky and became a music teacher at my school in the South Bronx. I had been a New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching 5th grade. I started an after school guitar program and at the end of the year, was offered a position teaching music. (The school had no music or art program prior). I was excited, but also quite nervous because I didn't have any experience teaching music. My very first day as a music teacher, I was sent to a workshop and saw an ad for free guitars for my school. It was an organization called Little Kids Rock and all I had to do was attend a weekend seminar. It sounded cool, so I signed up. That weekend seminar was THE defining moment of my pedagogical career. Not only did LKR provide instruments for my school, but they provided ME with a solid philosophical foundation for music education. I implemented the methodology and curriculum which LKR provided into my daily classes. I also used it during the after school program. The music program literally changed the culture of the entire school. The rock band became a staple of the community. We were given the opportunity to play at Madison Square Garden, city hall, The Knitting Factory and more. I am so grateful for LKR for all they've for me and my students. They have literally changed the lives of hundreds of students in New York. I cannot say enough for this organization and what they do for our children. Additionally, I think it's important to mention that LKR does not simply train a teacher and forget about them. We are literally part of a community. Teachers use 'The Hang' a community website to share lesson plans, post video of students performing, keep in touch. LKR is awesome!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Little Kids Rock is an amazing organization. When I began teaching at my current school 10 years ago, I learned about a free music workshop that would guarantee guitars for between 10 - 20 students. The summer workshop was led by LKR's very energetic founder and had a big impact on all the teachers who attended. In addition to the free guitars and other music materials for students, LKR arranged other summer sessions for teachers to get together and share strategies as well as opportunities for students to "play out" around San Francisco or to work with professional musicians from the Conservatory of Music.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to Little Kids Rock several years ago, when as a music teacher, I was given the opportunity to attend a free workshop with them in which they would donate guitars and materials to my music program. I was typically cynical about these workshops, having attended many that seemed to have no practical classroom basis. This one was very different, it really revolutionized my program. Throughout the weekend, a group of about 20 teachers worked with Dave Wish, their Executive Director, learning new and exciting ways to educate our students and revitalize our music programs. The programs focus on contemporary music helped to supplement our traditional teaching programs and validated the hard work we already do in the classroom. At the end of the workshop, I received a set of 40 guitars for my program, some music software, and a book of curriculum. However, what we learned with Dave was the most important aspect of the workshop and I quickly became as involved as possible. Throughout the years, I have consistently become more a part of LKR. When the program expanded, I became one of the teacher trainers that make it possible for LKR to train more teachers in more cities. My students constantly got amazing opportunities to perform with some of their rock heros and legends. Any time I have ever needed anything to help my program, LKR is just a phone call away, and even though they have grown exponentially, I can always expect a quick response and a personal hello from the executive director. For the last six months, I have been helping LKR move to their next phase, incorporating more styles and instruments, expanding past the guitar curriculum to a full modern band manual or teaching. It has been exciting and really has made teaching fun for me and my students.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Little Kids Rock positively changed my teaching. As a music instructor with a Master's Degree, I was successfully teaching the regular education student but I was searching for a way to reach the students that had already given up on school due various reasons - these were the "lost children" in the educational environment. Little Kids Rock provided that avenue to reach these children. I have been using the tools given to my by the organization such as guitars, drums, and complete classroom material to reach these students for three years. Not only have I been able to get these students involved in school, but something I didn't plan on was that I was able to engage the child's support system as well. Some of their guardians have taken part in the music growth with the Little Kids Rock performing groups at our school. Now the children that participate in the Little Kids Rock program, not only learn musically, but positively grow in their own self worth - that confidence will influence all facets of their lives.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

After meeting founder David Wish and visiting a music class at PS-11 in the Bronx I was convinced that the Little Kids Rock model was one of the more effective and innovative solutions to support music education in inner city schools.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Little Kids Rock has transformed my practice as a teacher and as a musician. I have gone from being a teacher who only plays guitar in her spare time to bringing all my guitars to school and sharing them with a group of kids. We've built a community of young rock and roll musicians and fans who enjoy hanging out together and jamming. The kids have become natural and relaxed performers and songwriters. When we teach kids how to play a song, we can teach them so much more than the technical skill. We can teach them about the role of music in social change. We can teach them how to represent themselves, to be active participants in the culture instead of passive recipients. We can teach kids to be inclusive--there's a place in the choir or the band for everybody who wants to play. We can teach kids that the arts are social, they help us communicate and create collaboratively. Music be a source of comfort and empowerment for kids. It can be a magnet, that keeps on encouraging kids who might otherwise become discouraged. Through participation in Little Kids Rock, I have come to understand that music, like language, belongs to everyone.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a pretty accomplished guitarist, rock fan and blues fan. I consider American blues and rock to be of cultural significance. From personal experience, I know that music, and rock music, and guitar playing, can transform a life, can bring joy to the challenged, and give strenght to the struggling. This program provides a perfect way to bring music education, creative expression, and enhanced learning to my school. Though I am a good guitarist, this program offers a unique and extremely effective way to teach music, guitar, and other instruments to children.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am an elementary music teacher, but only a self-taught guitarist. My skills were enough to lead a group singing. When I attended an Little Kids Rock Clinic, I was SO excited with their easy to follow material. I became a better guitarist in those 2 days and learned how to share basic guitar skills in a fun way. And even more, I learned how to help those guitarists improve. My guitar club went from 6 kids to 40 in one year with the guitars I got from LKR. Now every year I have more applicants than guitars to my group. It is such a big group, my principal got me an assistant to help tune them up and work with my advanced players! The guitarists have gotten good enough to accompany our choir during several performances in the year! Guitar is by far the most popular club I have out of six music clubs! What I like most about LKR as a teacher is their on-going support and motivation for our students. They are always sponsoring contests for the kids and teachers. The website is very helpful. They are continually working on new material to help teachers. And even thought LKR has helped my music program tremendously, I love that you don't have to be a music teacher to be involved in Little Kids Rock. You just have to want to share music. My kids have gained so much since I became part of LKR. They are writing songs, they're excited about playing, they love to perform - It has been a Win-Win relationship! I have gained so much from LKR. I have more ideas than I can use. They challenge me by using great technology as a teaching tool. They share the new keyboard material and drum material with us. I learn from other teachers. It is a phenomenal organization! Going to the LKR Clinic in Houston, TX was the BEST decision I have made to improve music at my school!!!

2 abc4all

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

From its inception, we have been aware of the work of LKR. With the extensive cutbacks across the board of arts classes in schools across the country, LKR took up the cause and began to make a difference. They have made significant progress but despite all they have done it is clear that MAXIMUM support is needed, including bringing their work to any/every school in need. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. LKR is already doing it and doing it successfully. What is needed is more support to help expand their programs until there is no more unmet need. ABC4All supports nonprofits/NGOs worldwide (more coming): http://home.abc4all.net/resources/view/145954/?topic=32255 Respectfully, Burton Danet, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist (retired) Co-Founder, ABC4All Portal4Relief http://home.abc4all.net/

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Little Kids Rock has changed my teaching. My students are so excited to come to school and play popular music on guitars. Class morale has increased. Parental involvement has increased. Students are finding ways to express themselves through music. I can't wait to come in on Wednesdays and rock out. My second graders feel like the kings and queens of the school!

1 saturday-morning-after-school-music

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a professional Los Angeles Music teacher. I heard about Little Kids Rock from my school district. Their plan was to develop guitar classes within the district. LKR asked teachers to attend 3 Saturday training sessions and they would supply us with a classroom set of guitars. My class flourished. I started with 1 class. The next semester we went to 3 classes. The following year I was teaching 5 guitar classes. In each class there were 40 students for a total of 200 students. The kids had a great time

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a Little Kids Rock guitar teacher in 2007, mainly by being inspired by David Wish, the founder. His desire to spread music across this country to the students who don't have the resources or the means was infectious and his attention to the details of how to do it right was very impressive. During the three years that I was involved as a teacher for LKR, I watched the level of quality rise and rise. It begins with a teacher workshop where LKR assesses if you are a good candidate to join their program. Once you "pass the test," it becomes an amazing journey with excellent equipment provided at no charge and tremendous materials and support. The bottom line is that the students don't pay a dime. They have a guitar of their own to play at home and at class. They have the opportunity to watch and listen to other students all around the country through great online sites. I have just loved watching my students become musicians. Little Kids Rock has been blessed by some great support by awesome musicians, but the basic program is such high quality because of the LKR staff that has always been available to help with any problems or questions and has continued to provide such great materials. During the last year, an online community of LKR teachers has made it even better. It's easy to be the leader of an LKR guitar group with all of those resources behind you. Hey, what can I say? I'm a cheerleader! It's September and I'm ready to do it again.