BY YVETTE BROWN
On Feb. 2, Kwame and The Uptown Shakedown joined Little Kids Rock and Pandora to unveil new instruments as well as perform for students.
The event took place at PS 69 in Jackson Heights, where Pandora, the popular music platform, has partnered with the national non-profit, Little Kids Rock, to launch new music programs and strengthen music education in inner city public schools in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Oakland, CA.
“At Pandora, our purpose is to unleash the infinite power of music and we want to ensure that teachers are given the resources to provide their students with a strong music education. What better way to do that than by bringing instruments and instruction into public schools where the music programs are being cut or reduced?” said Alex White, Next Big Sound Founder. “By partnering with Little Kids Rock, not only are we able to work with an organization that shares the same mission, but we’re also able to work with Pandora’s music maker community to identify local artists who are willing and excited to engage with kids and inspire them through music. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for our employees to get involved. Every employee at Pandora gets 40 hours of VTO (volunteer time off) per year and many of our employees choose to spend that time at our Little Kids Rock schools, such as PS 69 Jackson Heights, because as the founder of Little Kids Rock likes to say, ‘Music changes children and children will change the world.’”
Pandora’s contribution will help train and equip teachers with the curricula and instruments necessary to launch and grow Little Kids Rock’s signature Modern Band music program, which is a new, school-based music program that utilizes popular music as its central canon. It also utilizes the musical instruments that are common to the different genres.
“Through our partnership with Little Kids Rock, we want to relay the message to kids that music is a powerful medium for self-expression. Whether they listen to music or make their own, we believe music is a great way for kids to become inspired to express themselves in creative ways that will allow them to learn more about who they are as individuals,” said White. “We also want them to know that they have access to resources including educators and instruments that will allow them to not only discover their musical passions, but to pursue them.”
The event featured maraca and bandana decorating stations, a DJ, dancing, lunch and an instrument petting zoo with new guitars, drums and keyboards recently donated to the school.
“As a result of the launch event and our ongoing national partnership with Little Kids Rock, we’re excited to continue co-hosting events like this across the U.S. and our hope is that everyone leaves with not only a learning experience, but also a fun memory and a new sense of inspiration to continue making and exploring music,” said White. “Most of all, we hope that our instrument donation and the kids’ interactions with Pandora artists will serve as a good starting point to expand music education and that it will empower both teachers and students to make music a part of their everyday lives.”
Reach Yvette Brown at (718)357-7400 ext.128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @eveywrites.