Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kids Rock Free® School of Music & Home Gardens Academy: FirstPerformance

One student shows her rock pose after playing guitar
Yesterday, there was a performance of the first class of students that benefitted from a Home Gardens Academy and Kids Rock Free® (KRF) School of Music partnership.  It was  the first foray into off-site lessons for KRF. 

It came about because my principal, Cassandra Wills and I, let Pam Hogan, executive director of the Kids Rock Free program, know how important we thought music education would be to our students’ future success in high school. They agreed and we jointly devised a plan using funds from Fender Center’s National Endowment for the Arts grant to engage Americans in the arts. 
Bella demonstrates her guitar skills on the "EFG" song

Two KRF instructors, Lee Zimmer and Chris Diaz, took on the challenge of providing lessons in a location other than the Fender Center to best accommodate the students.  Lee taught guitar lessons once a week and Chris handled the vocal lessons. Lessons ran for eight weeks and were either free or at a reduced cost. 

We are all pleased with the results of this trial and are looking forward to implementing what we have learned and to expanding the offerings in the next school year funded by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and, we hope, other sponsors we have approached.
Breanna brings down the house with her amazing vocals
Next school year, we are looking to add two more courses to our program: music production, taught by Chris Diaz; and music video production, taught by yours truly. 

It's gratifying to me, both professionally and personally, to watch a vision become a reality, but more importantly, as I reflect on yesterday's performance, I'm reminded of how important the arts are in education. May I challenge you to do whatever it takes? Think outside the box and make it happen if it's not already happening in your school. We owe it to our kids to make the arts a priority -- even when politics and funding seem to point us in the opposite direction. We want our kids to be well rounded and given opportunities to be successful in all aspects their education.

1 comment:

Andrea Thompson said...

This is so cool, Buzz! Way to go! I agree with you 100% about bring music back to elementary schools. Did you know that Washington Elementary has an after school chorus and Katie is the director. I help her a bit but mainly do behinds the scenes paperwork. This is our second year. We will be sure and send you information regarding any performances we have and please let us know about any you are doing. This is so COOL! Rock on "Kids Rock Free School of Music!"