Little Kids Rock

Little Kids Rock, Inc.
Non-profit organization
Industry Nonprofit, Education
Founded 2002
Headquarters Verona, New Jersey
Key people
David Wish, Founder

Little Kids Rock is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Verona, New Jersey that provides free music instruction and instruments to under-served public school districts across the United States. Their 'Modern Band' curriculum is rooted in popular music (rock, blues, hip hop, reggae, country, funk, etc.) and their teaching methods are rooted in the teaching music as a language, with a heavy emphasis on composition and improvisation. The organization is a 4-star rated charity by Charity Navigator [1] and is known for restoring and revitalizing music education in US public schools.[2]


The program dates back to 1996 when David Wish, an elementary school teacher, began giving free guitar lessons to his students. After a short time, he started recruiting other volunteers to help him with his efforts, including celebrity supporters like Bonnie Raitt [3] and Carlos Santana.[4] In 2002, Little Kids Rock became a nonprofit organization,[5] and in the following years, the programme was extended to New York City and several other public schools districts.


Little Kids Rock is supported by a significant number of prominent music industry figures.[6]

In May 2015, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith, was given the "Livin' The Dream Award" at the first annual Little Kids Rock Family Jam benefit at Facebook's Menlo Park campus for his work to help expand public schoolchildren's access to music education. The benefit raised over $85,000 to help provide music education for students.[7] [8]

Amp Up NYC Initiative

Berklee College of Music and Little Kids Rock have partnered [9] 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.[10] The Amp Up NYC initiative is the largest private investment to date in a city’s public school music education program.[11] 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. The program is already live in more than 70 classrooms.

“We are excited because we have been working with Little Kids Rock for many years and we’ve seen how effective their work is. We hope that this becomes a model for other large [school] systems in the United States to follow.”
Paul King, NYCDOE Executive Director of the Office of Arts and Special Projects, [12]


  1. "Little Kids Rock".
  2. , Les Paul Foundation
  3. , Bonnie Raitt Supports Little Kids Rock
  4. , Carlos Santana Supports Little Kids Rock
  5. Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation,
  7. "Watch RHCP's Chad Smith Jam With Children for 'Little Kids Rock' Event". Rolling Stone. May 25, 2015. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  8. "National Nonprofit Little Kids Rock to Honor Chad Smith at Family-Friendly Fundraiser at Facebook HQ". Market Watch. May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  9. ,
  10. , Wall Street Journal
  11. , Boston Globe

External links

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