“Music changes children; children change the world.” David Wish, founder of the organization, Little Kids Rock, believes in the power of music and how creative understanding, education and nurturing brings forth the beauty and essence of artistic talent within a child. David believes in the power that music holds as a tool for many children to transform their lives. David’s public school teaching experience has shown him this first hand. “During my decade long stint in the classroom I learned two profound lessons. First, children who are in touch with their creative sides are infinitely less attracted to the cheap thrills of destructive behavior. Second, respect for others begins with respect for oneself.” David, whose school did not have an education program, implemented a module that was unique within his district’s curriculum. Kids were able to compose their own music and encouraged to find their own voice. They learned to play the music that they loved whether it was rock and roll, pop, jazz or rhythm and blues. With fabulous success in his school, David went on to develop a training program for teachers around the country in many urban areas. Over the past 11 years, over 1,600 Little Kids Rock trained teachers and their supporters have served over 235,000 children in 25 cities and this past year alone have reached 110,000 kids. This new “Modern Band” program has become the largest, free instrumental curriculum of any category in the U.S. public school system today.
This year’s “Right to Rock Benefit” in New York City was held at Cipriani on Wall Street and was a gala event featuring last year’s “Big Man of the Year” Steven Van Zandt, Brian Wilson, Paul Schaffer and Jake Clemons, nephew of E Street Band’s beloved Clarence Clemons. Special performances included students from Franklin L. Williams Middle School in Jersey City, New Jersey, followed by performances by Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, Bill Medley, Paul Shaffer, and Steven Van Zandt as well as the 2013 “Big Man of the Year” and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Ms. Darlene Love. All together, the event raised over $850,000 in donations, which will help fund music lessons and instruments for 15,000 additional children in disadvantaged public schools across the United States.
This year’s benefit also recognized a corporate honoree, James Allen, Chairman, Hard Rock International and CEO, Seminole Gaming, for his continued support of Little Kids Rock.
Additionally, Little Kids Rock founder, Dave Wish, announced a $4.5 million initiative to bring music education to 60,000 kids in 600 schools in New York City. Details on this will be forthcoming, and David is thrilled about this upcoming initiative.
"We are dedicated to providing a creative outlet for students,” says David Wish, “one that allows them to become self-confident, to transform their lives. Music is that outlet."
Article and photo's contributed by Denise Santoro Delaney.