Making music with Little Kids Rock, Berklee College of Music and N.Y.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Little Kids Rock and Berklee College of Music are partnering with The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) to expand the district’s Modern Band music program to an additional 60,000 students in 600 city schools. On Friday, March 21st, Berklee College of Music President Roger Brown and Little Kids Rock Founder David Wish will be joined by representatives from the NYCDOE as well as Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), musician and former New York Yankee Bernie Williams, famed producer and musician Steve Jordan, Saturday Night Live keyboardist Tuffus Zimbabwe (Berklee College of Music and Berklee City Music alumnus), and others at Lower Manhattan Community School to officially kick off the ‘Amp Up NYC’ initiative, which will be the largest single private investment in a city’s public school music education program in the history of the United States.

WHAT: Press event to announce ‘Amp Up NYC’ initiative. There will be a brief musical performance by students, remarks by Paul King, Roger Brown, David Wish, Bernie Williams, as well as time for questions and answers.

WHEN: Friday, March 21st 9:00-10:00am

WHERE: Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, 26 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10004 (entrance at 81 New Street) (Icon parking garage on 30 Carlisle Street)

Modern Band music programs teach the music of the past 50 years, from rock and reggae to Latin and R&B, among other genres. They complement existing programs such as jazz, marching band, and orchestral music. Hundreds of certified music teachers will be trained and equipped by Amp Up NYC to bring Modern Band programming to children in grades K-12. Several teachers have already been trained and are running successful Modern Band programs in their schools. Extended day programs will also be offered, and a number of community-based music organizations will adopt the initiative.

“Modern Band leverages our children’s cultural and community experiences and helps us reach more students,” said Paul King, Executive Director of the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Arts and Special Projects. “In the world of music education, diverse musical experiences enrich kids’ learning and their understanding of the world. Amp Up NYC will certainly bring more and new music-making opportunities to our students and we are delighted to have Little Kids Rock and Berklee College of Music join the many excellent organizations that support music learning for our students.”

Berklee College of Music and Little Kids Rock have a long history of educating underserved students using innovative methodologies and popular music styles. Berklee City Music is a community-service branch of the college with after-school classrooms at 45 sites across the country. Little Kids Rock runs the largest, in-school Modern Band program serving over 1,000 schools in 25 of the nation’s largest public school districts. The partners combined their leading online Modern Band teaching platforms – Berklee College of Music’s PULSE music method and Little Kids Rock’s Teacher Hang – for Amp Up NYC teachers. This new and innovative online Modern Band resource includes lesson plans, tips for classroom management, social media and classroom portfolios.

The donated services and resources for this initiative are estimated at $10 million. Berklee College of Music and Little Kids Rock will contribute teacher training, Modern Band curriculum, and thousands of new musical instruments. Outside contributors include the Walker Family Foundation and Bohemian Foundation.

Taylor Guitars will contribute SolidBody Custom electric guitars to be distributed to participating classrooms as the initiative rolls out in schools. “Through the work of Little Kids Rock, children across the country are discovering the joy of making music, which studies prove time-and-time again benefits learning in the core subjects,” says Tim O’Brien, Vice President of Marketing for Taylor Guitars. “Taylor Guitars is proud to join Little Kids Rock and Berklee College of Music in this new and noble endeavor to Amp Up NYC, and we encourage others in the music community to contribute to this important initiative.”

The Amp Up NYC initiative will serve as a model for building district-wide Modern Band programs in other public school districts in the United States.

“We believe that learning to create music not only enriches a student’s academic life, but it can become a lifelong means of self-expression and joy,” says Roger Brown, president of Berklee College of Music. “Berklee is honored to be part of the effort to support talented music teachers who wish to expand Modern Band programs for New York City students.”

About Berklee College of Music:

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For more than 65 years, the college has evolved to reflect the current state of the music industry, leading the way with baccalaureate studies in performance, music business/management, songwriting, music therapy, film scoring, and more. With a focus on global learning, Berklee in Valencia, a new campus in Spain, is hosting the college’s first graduate programs, while Berklee Online serves distance learners worldwide with extension classes and degree-granting programs. The Berklee City Music Network provides after-school programming for underserved teens in 45 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. With a student body representing nearly 100 countries and alumni and faculty that have won more than 300 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today—and tomorrow.

About Berklee City Music:

Berklee City Music is a nonprofit program that harnesses the energy of contemporary music to provide music education to 4th through 12th graders in underserved communities at 45 Network sites, educating nearly 23,000 students across the country. With year-round instruction, the Berklee PULSE™ Music Method online music education platform, expert faculty, individualized mentoring and a comprehensive curriculum, Berklee City Music combines the breadth of Berklee College of Music resources, facilities and available scholarships with an environment of attention and encouragement. Youth receive the tools and support they need to flourish as students, musicians and, perhaps most important, confident and well-rounded individuals ready to shape the world.

Since its inception, Berklee City Music has awarded scholarships to nearly 1200 students to attend the Five-Week Summer Performance program and 205 full and partial-tuition Berklee College of Music scholarships. In 2013, Berklee City Music provided more than 100 summer program scholarships and awarded 17 full scholarships to attend Berklee College of Music.

About Little Kids Rock:

Little Kids Rock is a national nonprofit that transforms children’s lives by restoring and revitalizing music education in disadvantaged public schools. The organization partners with school districts to train public school teachers in their innovative curriculum while donating all of the instruments and resources necessary to run Modern Band music programs that focus on teaching kids to perform, improvise and compose the musical genres that they love. To date, Little Kids Rock has reached nearly 250,000 students. More info at

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