Nishang Jiang recalls being forced to sit at the piano and practice for hours as a young child in China, and not enjoying it. One time, she threw her sheet music on the floor out of frustration and sat there upset for a long time. However, Nishang’s musical world was rocked when she moved to Jersey City, NJ just three months ago and enrolled in a Little Kids Rock class. “Music [became] more expressive and less rigid,” she said. “In America, everyone plays music because they like to and are interested, not just for a class goal.” Though she could read sheet music and perform on the piano, she never learned how to improvise or compose; never had the opportunity to choose her instrument or the songs she learned; never saw music as being relevant or fun. “One day, my teacher asked me if I ever thought about writing my own song, but I didn’t know how to start.” He empowered her by instructing her to write her story and use the guitar chords she had learned in the past three months. I Know You’re With Me is Nishang’s first original composition, and according to her teacher Mr. Flora, it helped “transform her perception of music as well.” Little Kids Rock teaches kids in a way that makes music fun, engaging and empowering, rather than a chore. Children can become originators, rather than imitators. “I have different appreciation for music now,” says Nishang, whose story is not unlike those of the 200,000+ children that Little Kids Rock has served. “I think a lot of students who learn music, learn it just to finish the task,” she says. “Maybe they don’t know what is the real meaning of music.”
"Thank you for giving me the "oppor-tune-ity" to play the guitar and, of course, I took it! (the opportunity, not the guitar)" – Rachel (5th grade, New York City)
Because of your support, Little Kids Rock has forever enriched the lives of more than 200,000 needy school children over the past ten years by providing them with free instruments and music lessons.
But our work has just begun! (DONATE TODAY at www.littlekidsrock.org)
You have the opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT! Bohemian Foundation has offered up a challenge grant, and will match your donations up to $50,000 for the next six weeks. This means that your $1,000 gift, which puts 20 guitars into a classroom, will now enable Little Kids Rock to donate 40 guitars!
"I always played Guitar Hero... Now I am one!" – Ryan (4th grade, Dallas)
We all know music has a powerful impact on a child’s emotional and educational development. Unfortunately, the children from impoverished communities across America who need it the most are being deprived of music’s many gifts due to school budget cuts.
Please give the gift of music this holiday season so that our children have the “oppor-tune-ity” to experience the sensation of an instrument in their hands, to add some sound to their silent schools, and to feel like they are a real Guitar Hero.
"Before Little Kids Rock came into our school, it was silent. Now we ROCK OUT!" – Levi (5th grade, Jersey City)
For every child you support, we’ll support another.
Your Friends in music,
Little Kids Rock
How do you express your emotions? Do you go for a run? Paint? How about writing a song?
At the age of eight, Aaliyah Baez experienced a life-changing event - she lost her father. Songwriting has since become a creative outlet for her to express her feelings.
“Writing a song about my father and sharing it made me feel better,” said Aaliyah, now 14. She wrote “Daddy’s Little Girl” as a way to cope with the hardship of becoming a teenager without a father.
To me, you’re the greatest dad in the whole wide world.
Daddy, it’s just not fair,
That you have to watch my life go by up there.
I’m always going to be Daddy’s little girl.
Don’t worry, one day I’ll be next to you,
Looking down on the world.
“I remember I wrote half of a song and sang it to [my Little Kids Rock teacher] Mr. Flora. He said I have a gift and that I should never give up,” she said. “It was a poem before, but it started to get boring when I said it with no emotion. I wanted to put more feeling in it. I wanted a melody to make it even more special.”
Aaliyah built up her confidence and asked her classmates to help turn her poem into a song. “Songwriting makes me feel powerful,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to touch everyone’s hearts.”
“I felt touched because I’ve also been separated from my father,” Ellesia, 13, said. “It has impacted me emotionally. I wanted to help out because I believe a lot of daughters without their fathers feel the same way as Aaliyah.”
Her classmates, many of whom she plays with in a band, helped her channel her emotions into a melody, rhythm and structure, effectively turning her poem into a full-fledged song.
“Little Kids Rock influenced my life by telling me not to give up, to keep going and to live my life doing what I love to do.”
Students like Aaliyah are evidence why music education matters in a child’s life – because it gives them something at which to excel. It gives them the tools to create an artistic expression of their inner most feelings, and the confidence to collaborate with others.
Little Kids Rock is the only national music program in the U.S. public schools that encourages song composition. Your gift helps students like Aaliyah express their emotions in a safe, creative way that will strengthen their character, and give them a reason to feel proud.
When you donate $50 to Little Kids Rock, you your gift puts a brand new guitar into a child’s hands, but did you know that your donation also helps children find their voices… literally?
Nancy Robles grew up in Dallas, TX with a severe speech impediment that causes her to stutter in between words. Her disability proved to be a major hurdle to her social and intellectual development, since communicating was difficult and embarrassing for her.
When her 7th grade Little Kids Rock teacher offered her a chance to learn to play guitar and to write songs, she embarked on a journey that has changed her life. "When I was first in school, I was very shy,” she said. “When I started with my songwriting, it really helped me."
Two years ago, Nancy broke free from her insecurities and sang publicly for the first time when she submitted an original composition to the annual Little Kids Rock songwriting exhibition. Her teacher noticed something that amazed him and Nancy – her speech impediment completely went away when she sang!
Writing and performing her own music has given Nancy a creative outlet to express her feelings in a way that is comfortable to her and allows her to communicate confidently. She has written more than 100 songs during her four years in a Little Kids Rock program, including one about losing her father six years ago. "I used to deal with my problems in a bad way,” Nancy said. “When I found music, it really helped me a lot."
She has performed her music for crowds of more than 500 people – a feat nobody would have expected to be possible just two short years ago.
Your support of Little Kids Rock has empowered Nancy to toss the limitations of her speech impediment aside and sing loudly and proudly. She still battles her speech disorder daily, but now does not let it hinder her growth as a musician, a student, or a young adult.
Music has the power to inspire creativity and self-assurance in children and Little Kids Rock strives to make a lasting, positive impact on kids’ lives by providing them with the tools and support they need to become music-makers and confident people.
Every day, Little Kids Rock learns about a new child whose life has been changed by music. Your support makes it possible to make these positive transformations possible for schoolchildren across the country!
"Music class is a place where you can try to be yourself," Nancy says. "And it is important because music can save lives."
Please consider to transform a child's life by making a gift this March in honor of "National Music In Our Schools" month. You may just help a child find their voice.
P.S. We at Little Kids Rock HQ were so impressed by Nancy that we covered her song! Check out the video below.
But look closer --
Sure it's about guitars and the "gift of music" -- but it has much deeper meaning to lots of kids. Your gift helps make photos like this a reality. Please make it a happier New Year for a lot of kids. Click Here for a very special "Thank You" and have a rockin' holiday!
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