The largest private investment in a public school district’s music education program in the history of the United States.

Amp Up NYC is an initiative that is putting Modern Band music programs into 600 NYC Public Schools. Modern Band music programs focus on teaching kids to play the music that they know and love. By focusing on newer genres of music such as rock, reggae, country, pop and hip hop, Modern Band helps get kids engaged in making music quickly and easily.

Little Kids Rock has partnered with Berklee College of Music to support the expansion of Modern Band music programming in the New York City Department of Education – the nation’s largest public school district. Launched in early 2014, the initiative will be rolled out over a three-year period to include an additional 600 schools and serve 60,000 K-12 students in NYC with robust music education programming. Amp Up NYC will provide teacher training, classroom instruction, state-of-the-art online technology and a large donation of instruments.

“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

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. It will put the New York City Department of Education at the forefront of the movement to expand music education opportunities at a time when budget cuts are forcing the elimination of many such programs.


Launch Event (Mar. ’14)  •  Modern Band Workshop (May ’14)

Gabriel Cobas

Originally from southern California, Gabriel comes to Amp Up NYC with years of music education, nonprofit management and corporate experience. Gabriel is also a published author in the field of music technology. Prior to Amp Up NYC, Gabriel served as the Drum Corps Manager for Pacific Crest Youth Arts Organization, a nonprofit, community based 150+ member ensemble for which Gabriel managed staffing, touring and financial operations. Prior to Pacific Crest, Gabriel was an Education Account Executive for Avid Technology. While at Avid, Gabriel was the face of Sibelius, Pro Tools and M-Audio to education institutions throughout the USA. During his tenure, he gave numerous clinics throughout the country on effectively using Sibelius and Pro Tools in the classroom, ultimately leading to him authoring the book “Mastering Sibelius 6.”

From 2001 – 2008, Gabriel served as the Manager of Education Programs for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, directing learning programs for youth and families and professional development workshops for teachers, working with the Massachusetts Department of Education to provide recertification credits to educators. While in Boston, Gabriel also served on the teaching staff at Boston University and at the Roland Hayes School of Music.

Throughout his professional career, Gabriel has maintained an active teaching schedule as a music educator for all levels, K – college. He has written percussion based curricula for middle and high school and has presented clinics at the collegiate level on building successful percussion programs in the secondary school environment. He has also served as a school district arts advocacy consultant, promoting the preservation of elementary music education.

Email: gabriel@littlekidsrock.org


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