Our board members are passionate and distinguished music, education and business leaders committed to social impact and positive change through music education.
Martina Vasil, PhD, is assistant professor of music education and director of the Modern Band, Orff Schulwerk, and Dalcroze Summer Institute at the University of Kentucky (UK). She teaches courses in general music, popular music education, and qualitative research. She was a member of the inaugural Modern Band Higher Education Fellowship and has established summer Modern Band training at UK as of 2018. Her research centers on popular music education and Orff Schulwerk.
UK Professor Awarded Modern Band Higher Ed Fellowship – University of Kentucky
Patricia S. (Patti) Foy, is a professor of music education in the Petrie School of Music at Converse College, a position she assumed after teaching K-12 general and choral music for twelve years in South Carolina and Georgia. She earned the Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Converse College, and a Master of Music Education and PhD in music education from the University of South Carolina, and is a Past President and the current Executive Director of the South Carolina Music Educators Association (SCMEA), the SC affiliate of NAfME, Her current musical pursuits outside of school include singing soprano in two church choirs and performing on keys and vocals with the Blue Regime Band, a recently-revived group from her high school days.
Craig Denison is Associate Director of Music Education and Choral Music at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Before that, he served as Artistic Director of Florida’s Singing Sons Boychoir, and director of the Master Chorale at Florida International University. He taught for many years at Saint Mark’s Episcopal School as Director of Vocal Music. Dr. Denison has also served as Music Director for the Colorado Children’s Chorale and Associate Music Director and Conductor of The American Boychoir. He founded the Schola Cantorum at Westminster Choir College as Assistant Professor of Choral Conducting. He currently serves as the American Choral Director’s National Chair for Repertoire and Standards in Boychoirs.
In the 2017-18 academic year, Dr. Denison’s chapter on boychoir pedagogy was published in The Oxford Handbook of Choral Pedagogy. He also conducted All-State Choirs in Colorado, Georgia, and West Virginia as well as honor choirs at the regional and county level. This year, in addition to numerous honor choirs, Dr. Denison presented a long paper on his research entitled A Structural Model of Physiological and Psychological Effects on Adolescent Male Singing at the Symposium on Research in Choral Singing at Northwestern University.
Dr. Denison earned his Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Miami and holds a Master of Music degree with Distinction from Westminster Choir College. Dr. Denison’s research agenda includes youth male singing, choral pedagogy, statistical modeling of vocal outcomes, and music teacher identity formation.
Candice Davenport Mattio is the Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Music Education at Florida International University. Her interests include creativity in technology and STEAM integration, project-based learning, and equity and social issues in contemporary music education.
Candice received degrees from the University of Miami (Ph.D.), Northwestern University (M.M.), and the University of South Alabama (B.M.). She also was a Music Technology Leadership Academy intern (TI:ME, NAMM), and a co-recipient of the 2012 Next Generation Learning Challenges Grant (EDUCAUSE). She is currently the 2019 Music Access Grant Research Fellow with Radical Partners.
Candice previously taught secondary general music, electronic music, studio production, and popular music ensembles in Chicago, and instrumental programs along the Gulf Coast.
Carol Frierson-Campbell, Ph.D. is professor of music at William Paterson University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in instrumental music education and research and coordinates the music education program. Her scholarly interests include music education in marginalized communities, instrumental music education, and research pedagogy. Recent publications include the edited volume Sociological Thinking in Music Education: International Intersections (2022, Oxford) and the 2nd edition of Inquiry in Music Education: Concepts and Methods for the Beginning Researcher (with Hildegard Froehlich). Dr. F-C also directs the WPU Music Outreach program, providing music enrichment for underserved children northern New Jersey.
Dr. Pendergast began his appointment as Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at Colorado State University in the Fall of 2018. His pedagogical and research interests include choral music education, creativity in music education, music technology, and student motivation/participation in K-12 music programs. His most recent scholarship includes publications in Journal of Research in Music Education, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, The Choral Journal, and book chapters with several academic presses.
Mike joined Little Kids Rock as an intern in September 2014. Nowadays, he works as the Manager of Certification, helping teachers get modern band programs started all across the nation. As a member of the program team, Mike manages professional development events and operations.
Graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2014, Mike holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Electric Bass. In his free time, he likes to jam, record, and gig with friends.
Growing up as a music student, from elementary school through college, Mike has a genuine passion for music education. As a member of the Little Kids Rock team, he is committed to the pursuit of music in all walks of life.
Chad West is an independent scholar and former Associate Professor of Music Education at Ithaca College.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents a bold mandate to music educators to provide music to all students regardless of their socio-economic circumstance. This new era is ushered in by thought leaders envisioning and enacting a more open, democratic, and participatory type of music education for all students.
Any debate there had been about the importance of access to music education has been closed by the federal government in favor of music education. The new challenge that faces committed music educators is the goal of universal participation in music programs.
Current research shows that secondary music programs frequently serve 20% or less of the student population. Music programs that serve a distinct minority of a school’s student body (even ones that do so exceptionally well) must now turn their attention to the other 80% if they hope to pursue the ESSAs goal of universal participation in music programming.
Little Kids Rock has pioneered culturally responsive and inclusive music programming across a national network of more than 2,500 K-12 schools in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Our work is redefining what a well-rounded, inclusive music program looks like.
Modern band programs teach students how to compose and improvise while performing the musical genres they know and love such as rock, reggae, pop, hip hop, EDM, and others as they emerge. Modern band also utilizes the musical instruments that are common to these genres: guitar, bass, drums, piano, voice, and technology.
With the shared belief that contemporary popular music is a central cultural asset that is underutilized in public education, a diverse set of school districts across the nation has rallied behind modern band and, as a result, millions of children currently attend schools in districts that offer modern band classes as a part of their standard in-school music programming.
Modern band is a useful tool for engaging students who would not elect to participate in existing school music programs and it is thus an excellent means of increasing student participation numbers in music education. Modern band programs ‘widen the door’ to school music participation by incorporating popular musical instruments, contemporary repertoires, and student composition and improvisation into the classroom.
The legendary bassist, whose philosophy of music is very much in line with that of Little Kids Rock, has not only visited students in a Little Kids Rock classroom, but was also the keynote speaker at our national Modern Band Rockfest conference for teachers.
Steve Miller was honored as the Rocker of the Year at Little Kids Rock’s 2015 Benefit in NYC. He performed a few of his hits, including “Fly Like An Eagle” with student vocalists, and even came back on stage to help auction off a guitar he signed.
The Dave Matthews Band bassist has been a member of Little Kids Rock’s honorary board since 2010, and stopped by our annual Dallas Jam Summit to give the students a special experience, which included a jam session on his tour bus as well as on stage, where he presented a dozen new guitars to the district. In Tampa, he invited a group of our students backstage to meet the various people involved in a concert setup, from the lighting guy, to the sound engineers, to Dave Matthews himself.
Orianthi met with and inspired a group of high school students who got to take their first ever trip to the NAMM Show in Anaheim. There, they presented her with a guitar that they all signed and got time to ask the young Australian shredder lots of questions.
Ne-Yo filmed an awesome PSA for Little Kids Rock, sharing his story about the teacher who helped transform his life by introducing him to music, the way that so many Little Kids Rock teachers do.
A longtime supporter of our work, Herbie Hancock gave Little Kids Rock students the experience of a lifetime when he performed for them at the GRAMMY Museum in the heart of Los Angeles.
Elvis Costello has performed at two Little Kids Rock Benefits to help honor both Steven Van Zandt and Darlene Love. Furthermore, he autographed several instruments so that Little Kids Rock could auction them off to raise more funds to buy brand new instruments for kids in need.
Warren Haynes is a longtime friend and supporter of Little Kids Rock. In 2019, Haynes was honored at Little Kids Rock’s annual Benefit in New York City and again, took the virtual stage in 2020 with Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead in a rendition of “Patchwork Quilt.”
“We’re not only talking about the future of music. We’re talking about the future of our country.”
Once pronounced by Bob Dylan as America’s “greatest living poet,” acclaimed singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson’s career spans over four decades of hits. The Motown legend received Little Kids Rock’s “Rocker of the Year Award” in 2016 and shared his passion for keeping music education in schools. After joining a 12 year old student in a duet of “My Girl,” Smokey performed “Get Ready,” a hit he wrote for The Temptations, along with Little Kids Rock students from New York City and Philadelphia.
Bonnie was one of Little Kids Rock’s earliest supporters back when it was just a grassroots movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since that time, Bonnie has joined our Honorary Board, done meet and greets with students and donors, visited classrooms and invited Little Kids Rock to soundchecks and to host tables at her concerts.
Lady Gaga was Little Kids Rock’s honoree at the 2011 Little Kids Rock Benefit. Her appearance at the event was a complete surprise to the hundreds of guests in attendance. Gaga gave a rousing speech, took photos with our kids, and donated various items to our auction, including a signed keyboard and her very own earrings! She even bid on and won one of the auction experiences herself.
Santana and his Milagro foundation donated some of the first electric guitars to Little Kids Rock back in 2001. Since then, Santana has personally visited and jammed with our kids in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
Recently, he and his foundation helped us bring music education to 13 new schools in New Hampshire.
JBL donated nearly 10,000 pairs of headphones in collaboration with their celebrity Ambassadors, who promoted the local donations on social media and through an e-commerce campaign. The in-kind donation was made early on during the COVID-19 pandemic to support urgent educational learning from home so kids had the equipment they needed to participate in free streaming music lessons through Little Kids Rock.
Locations & Ambassadors included:
NYC (Aaron Judge / Julius Randle)
LA (Kenny Smith / Priyanka Chopra Jonas)
Miami (Bam Abedayo)
Chicago (Zach LaVine)
Milwaukee (Giannis Antetokounmpo)
Boston (Kemba Walker)
Detroit / Cleveland (Andre Drummond)
iHeartIMPACT teamed up with Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour to create a social movement, #TrollingForGood, in honor of Little Kids Rock. Combining iHM’s 360 scale across broadcast, social & digital, with influence from Trolls talent Justin Timberlake, we catapulted the film and Little Kids Rock into the zeitgeist.
Little Kids Rock empowers and inspires youth using a revolutionary new teaching method called Music as a Second Language®. This student-centered approach to music education teaches children to play the popular musical styles they know and love, including rock, reggae, hip-hop, pop and also to improvise and compose their own original music. The Music as a Second Language® method was developed by our Founder & CEO, Dave Wish.
Dave’s decade-long public school teaching career was in the field of bilingual education. Drawing upon what is known about how children learn language, he developed a unique approach to teaching music that utilizes the deeply interconnected nature of language and music. “Just as all kids are natural language speakers,” says Dave, “they are also natural music makers. Not just some kids; all kids.”
More than 5,000 public school teachers have been trained in the Music as a Second Language® method since 2002, and these teachers have used it in the service of more than 1,000,000 children grades K-12. This makes Music as a Second Language® one of the most broadly used and fastest growing methods of teaching music in the U.S. public schools today.
Little Kids Rock has invented an entirely new kind of school music program called Modern Band. It teaches kids to perform, improvise and compose using the popular styles that they know and love including rock, pop, reggae, hip hop, R&B, and other modern styles. Modern band classes feature guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, vocals, and technology.
Our modern band programs leverage the cultural capital of the children we serve. They also expand upon existing music programming such as Marching Band, Jazz Band and Chorus, making music available to children who might otherwise not participate in traditional music classes.
A number of our partner districts, including the nation’s two largest public school systems, the New York City Department of Education and the Los Angeles Unified School District, as well as the Dallas Independent School District, the Chicago Public Schools, and the Hartford Public Schools have officially adopted modern band programming by making it an official part of their music programs and by working closely with Little Kids Rock to help make modern band available to children throughout their school systems.
Several colleges and universities that train music teachers are now offering their students methods courses that focus in part or entirely on modern band.
Little Kids Rock provides a variety of musical instruments, musical equipment, music software subscriptions, and products to get students making music right away, in their school or home environment.
Little Kids Rock fosters a vibrant community of practice where teachers learn from, collaborate with, and support one another through virtual and in-person platforms, conferences, and events.
Little Kids Rock offers teachers a donation of student-centered curricula and other resources, based on the music kids know and love, so they can launch modern band music programming for students at their schools.
Joi Brown is the Head of Strategic Partnerships at ICM Partners. In an industry marred by change and uncertainty, Brown has secured her place as a trusted and steadfast executive.
Brown works with companies like MasterCard, Covergirl, McDonalds, Pepsi, and many others to develop campaigns that extend from overall company-based partnerships to artist-based, third-party campaigns. She also works with brands to develop their music strategy globally as a member of Warner Music Group’s Global Brand Council. Some of her most successful campaigns include a Remy Martin endorsement deal for T.I., Rosa Regale endorsement deal for Estelle, and K. Michelle’s partnership with Jack Daniels, just to name a few.
Brown is an alumna of Howard University and member of the esteemed Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She founded HU United, a grassroots organization of over 3,000 alumni from historically black colleges and universities who are committed to community activism. She recently launched Culture Creators, a series that includes networking, panel discussions, and mentorship to create, share, and inspire the black experience through entertainment.
Melanie Tolomeo joined the Little Kids Rock team in January of 2018. As Senior Manager of Business Systems, she manages Little Kids Rock’s information technology (IT), including their CRM platform Salesforce.com.
Melanie has five years of Salesforce experience at startups and small-medium businesses in the marketing and corporate training industries as both a system administrator and an end user. She has helped build systems for sales and account management teams that service clients such as Facebook, Siemens, and LinkedIn.
Melanie has a B.S. in Business Administration from Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. In her spare time, she enjoys playing guitar, writing, reading, and running.
Doug Camplejohn is the Founder and CEO of Airspeed, Inc. He has been a serial entrepreneur for nearly 20 years, and has founded three technology companies that have each had successful exits. He was the Founder and CEO of Fliptop, a predictive analytics application for B2B sales, that was acquired by LinkedIn in 2015. Prior to Fliptop, Doug was the Co-founder and CEO of Myplay (acquired by Bertelsmann in 2001) and Mi5 Networks (acquired by Symantec in 2009). Most recently, Doug was EVP and GM, Sales Cloud for Salesforce. Doug plays guitar (badly), loves nearly all music from Abba to Zappa, and still believes that three chords and the truth can change the world.
Sofia Reyes surprised a Little Kids Rock classroom in 2016 in partnership with State Farm. The aspiring musicians were so excited to meet Sofia and share how music was making a difference in their lives!
Internationally-recognized cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, has become one of our biggest advocates for music education. In 2019, Ma joined Jim Peterik and Little Kids Rock students on stage at Millenium Park in Chicago. Together, they performed an unbelievable rendition of “Eye Of The Tiger”.
Country singer, Wynonna Judd, selected Little Kids Rock as her charity of choice to help her and City National Bank rename the San Jose Civic Center. Little Kids Rock students performed, and she joined them for a rendition of her song, “Love Can Build A Bridge” before unveiling the new marquee. She also helped present Little Kids Rock rock a check for $5,000 to expand music programming for local students in San Jose.
Rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor, Wiz Khalifa has become a big friend of Little Kids Rock starting in 2019 when we honored him at our annual Benefit in New York City for his philanthropic leadership. In 2020, Khalifa auctioned “Clothes Off His Back” to fundraise on behalf of our work in bringing more music to more kids. in the same year, we coordinated a visit to a Los Angeles Little Kids Rock classroom where Khalifa surprised music students while they were performing his award-winning “See You Again”.
Will Lee shows his commitment to music education through his every action! Since 2015, Lee has served as the musical director for every in-personal Little Kids Rock Benefit that we have held across various iconic New York City venues!
Singer and songwriter, Vance Joy, joined us at our 2020 Little Kids Rock Virtual Benefit by surprising one of our student songwriters, Julia Kirkwood. After hearing Julia’s song “Keep Fighting”, Joy created a tribute for the young fan. Julia was speechless seeing her idol sing her original song!
Singer, songwriter, actor, and dancer, Usher, was honored by Little Kids Rock at our 2019 Benefit in New York City for his commitment to music education through his Nancy Lackey Community Fund based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In incredible philanthropist and friend to Little Kids Rock, we first honored Trombone Shorty at our 2018 Benefit in New York City. He returned in 2019 to present that same award to the singing legend, Usher. In continued support of music education programs across the country, Trombone Shorty has collaborated with fellow musicians and music students, most recently with a music video rendition of “Touch Of Grey”.
Both Train and Little Kids Rock participated on COUNTRY Financial’s Road Trips and Guitar Picks campaign, which raised funds to help Little Kids Rock expand its free music programming to more schools. Before a concert in Alpharetta, GA, the band met with and sang “Hey Soul Sister” with a some Little Kids Rock students from Atlanta.
Tom Waits helped put Little Kids Rock on the news back in 2002 when he visited an elementary school classroom with Bonnie Raitt, Jason Newsted and Norton Buffalo.
The Black Eyed Peas vocalist surprised an entire school in East Los Angeles to when he showed up to deliver a dozen electric guitars and perform “I Got A Feelin” with students at their end-of-year school concert. He followed up in in-school performance with another one at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, CA, where he took the stage with kids from San Francisco. Later, he took elementary school students into a recording studio to record an original song that he wrote.
Steven Van Zandt has helped Little Kids Rock raise millions of dollars by producing and performing at several Little Kids Rock Benefits in NYC, procuring and directing artists including Bruce Springsteen, Joan Jett, Elvis Costello, Alice Cooper, Billie Joe Armstrong, Darlene Love, Brian Wilson, Cheap Trick, Bill Medley, Southside Johnny, Tommy James and many others. In addition, Little Kids Rock works closely with Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation to produce music curriculum that includes both music performance and history.
Stephen Colbert painted this custom Fender (R) Stratocaster (R) for Little Kids Rock’s custom guitar auction in which various celebrities from both the music and entertainment industries painted or decorated one-of-a-kind guitars.
An honorary board member since 2009, Slash has inspired thousands of our students with his music, and an entire classroom full of students with his presence when he visited a school in Los Angeles and jammed with students on Sweet Child O’ Mine. Slash has contributed various auction items to help Little Kids Rock raise funds, including autographed Gibson Les Paul guitars, which he is known for shredding.
Sammy Hagar has supported our work by coming out to one of our events at Facebook’s Menlo Park, CA headquarters, where he performed on stage with our kids and donated autographed memorabilia to our auction.
The tenor vocalist for the soul vocal duo Sam & Dave and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer graced the stage at the 2016 Little Kids Rock Benefit and gave a rousing rendition of his hit song, “Soul Man.” He took the time to connect with students, most notably.
In efforts to provide percussion instruments to schools, RUSH created a premium Neil Peart Paragon Cymbal Pack, each of which came with a free splash cymbal personalized, autographed and dated by the RUSH drummer himself. This cause-based marketing initiative went on to raise over $50,000 for Little Kids Rock.
Rascal Flatts surprised our students by delivering dozens of brand new instruments to a school in East Los Angeles. In partnership with CMA Foundation, the band presented a check to Little Kids Rock to help expand music education to even more students. The Insider and People Magazine came out to cover the visit, and the students, who jammed with Rascal Flatts on “Life Is A Highway” were thrilled to be featured on TV and in print!
Primus featured Little Kids Rock as a beneficiary of its 2014 summer tour raffle, which gave fans the chance to support Little Kids Rock while entering for a chance to win a custom Orange Amplifier signed by the band.
In 2016, record producer, songwriter, and singer, Pharrell Williams, surprised Little Kids Rock students in a New York City school. The music students were in for a huge surprise as Williams joined them on stage mid-assembly concert!
Nick Jonas was the celebrity partner for the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search, a campaign that benefitted Little Kids Rock and gave kids all across the country the chance to submit a video of themselves singing for a chance to win a record contract and be produced by Jonas himself!
The English singer/songwriter, who came to fame with the band The Wanted, joined a star-studded lineup of musicians paying tribute to Smokey Robinson at the 2016 Little Kids Rock Benefit and performed Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You.” Sykes, who has already inspired Little Kids Rock students across the nation as evidenced by his band’s popular song “Glad You Came,” dropped his debut solo album the following week.
Monte Pittman made his name as a guitar teacher for the stars, and has since been the primary guitar player for Madonna, Adam Lambert, Prong and others. He joined Little Kids Rock’s Honorary Board after visiting a school in LA and falling in love with our program. Pittman has also raised funds for Little Kids Rock through an online crowdfunding campaign, filmed a PSA, donated auction memorabilia and even served as the keynote speaker for the middle school he went to visit on its graduation day!
In 2017, actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer, and director, Mike Myers presented our honorary award to Elvis Costello.
The Incubus lead guitarist performed live with Little Kids Rock students on the Dr. Phil Show in 2009, and even gave them a few pointers!
Michael Franti painted a custom Fender (R) Stratocaster (R) for Little Kids Rock’s custom guitar auction in 2010. He also met with Little Kids Rock students prior to one of his shows in New Jersey, and invited one of the 12-year old girls to open his concert with an original song!
The Guns N’ Roses drummer has visited several Little Kids Rock schools, performed with Sammy Hagar at a benefit event, and partnered his Adopt The Arts organization with Little Kids Rock, resulting in a tremendous pyramid of guitars being donated to schools throughout Los Angeles.
Singer, songwriter, and record producer, Linda Perry, joined us in 2020 as a keynote speaker at our annual Modern Band Summit with more than 1,000 music teachers in attendance.
DeVitto had a 30-year career as the drummer in Billy Joel’s band, and though he has traveled the world and helped create some of rock and roll’s most iconic songs, he has never forgotten his roots. Ever since Little Kids Rock moved its headquarters to New Jersey, DeVitto has been very involved in the organization’s growth, helping film drum curriculum videos, visiting schools to give masterclasses and performing at our benefit events.
In 2018, Lake Street Dive put on a duet to remember with a Little Kids Rock student at our annual Benefit in New York City.
The Grammy Award Winning country group surprised a teacher in Miami by showing up with a classroom set of instruments and two free tickets to see the group perform.
The Season 8 American Idol winner was honored at the 2010 Little Kids Rock Benefit, where he performed “Imagine” with Bernie Williams, Carmine Appice and our kids. Allen first saw Little Kids Rock in action when he visited a “Little Kids Rock Across America” Modern Band workshop in Los Angeles with Dr. Phil, and has since come out to perform at various Little Kids Rock events.
The a capella star joined local students on stage at the 2015 Little Kids Rock Benefit and captivated an audience of 700 just weeks before making GRAMMY history with Pentatonix.
Guitarist and singer, Christone “KINGFISH” Ingram, started his work with us in 2020 by performing in our first-ever Virtual Benefit.
“I’m thrilled to receive the Humanitarian Award from Little Kids Rock. Every child should experience the healing power of music. I’m really proud and honored to be a part of the Little Kids Rock family.”
The “Footloose” and “Danger Zone” singer/songwriter was honored with Little Kids Rock’s “Humanitarian of the Year Award” for his decades of commitment to children’s causes, including his work with the Children’s Miracle Network and Why Hunger, and his involvement in the 1985 landmark charity single “We Are the World.” He performed his hit song “Footloose” with Little Kids Rock students and shared his strong feelings about keeping music alive in our schools.
Multi-platinum singer and songwriter, Kelly Clarkson, holds music education close to her heart. In 2014, while celebrating global Citizen Watch Company’s flagship opening in New York City, Clarkson performed on stage with Little Kids Rock students for quite the audience!
Joshua Radin has visited several Little Kids Rock classrooms all over the United States, teaching then to play his songs and then inviting kdis onstage with him at his concert later that night. He also filmed a music video to his song Beatiful Day with students from Los Angeles. A former teacher, Radin understands the importance of music education and has even done benefit shows to raise money to support Little Kids Rock’s work.
After supporting Little Kids Rock through his Find Your Light Foundation, Josh Groban made time to meet-and-greet with some students before a concert in Newark, and then gave the organization a shoutout from the Prudential Center stage. With the funds donated, he visited a school in lower Manhattan, jammed with the kids, spoke to them about his career, and delievered a bunch of brand new instruments.
Our friendship with guitarist, singer, and songwriter Joe Walsh deepened during a visit to a Little Kids Rock classroom in Los Angeles. The students were thrilled they could jam with Walsh and learn from the best!
Joe Satriani has been on Little Kids Rock’s honorary board for many years, having visited several schools and raised money through various auctions along his tours.
In 2014, Joan Jett was the honoree and headliner at the Little Kids Rock Benefit, which raised over a million dollars and attracted various luminaries including Alice Cooper, Billie Joe Armstrong, Cheap Trick, Tommy James, Ad-Rock, Darlene Love and others.
Jesse and Joy visited a classroom in Los Angeles along with State Farm Latino, who was running a fundraiser campaign for Little Kids Rock that unlocked another second of an unreleased song by the singer-songwriter duo every time someone used the hashtag #RitmoDeCambio. They taught the kids to perform one of their songs, and then filmed a music video with them to help promote the campaign and raise more funds to help Little Kids Rock put music into classrooms across the country!
James Hetfield is the lead singer and guitarist for Grammy-winning band Metallica. Metallica has received worldwide recognition and is widely regarded as one of the most progressive and influential rock bands of all time. Hetfield himself has received recognition as one of the greatest metal guitarists as well as one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time.
In 2013, Hetfield was honored by Little Kids Rock at their Rockin’ the Bay Benefit in Menlo Park, CA. There, he performed on stage with local students and has filmed several PSA’s and donated autographed guitars and other items to our auctions.
After coming to an event and meeting our kids, KoRn’s guitarist got his whole band involved by particpating in an online raffle in which the winner would get to go on tour with the band and ride on their bus! They filmed promo videos and promoted the raffle on social media, raising tens of thousands of dollars for Little Kids Rock. Munky also helped us deliver a bunch of instruments to a school in LA and helped the Hot Topic Foundation announce a huge donation to Little Kids Rock.
Jack Johnson’s Ohana Charitable Foundation has funded Little Kids Rock’s efforts to expand music education into inner city public schools. Personally, Johnson has autographed various guitars to be auctioned off by Little Kids Rock to raise more funding to support our work.
Joining us at our 2017 Little Kid Rock Benefit in New York City, the legendary Harry Connick Jr. presented our honorary award to the one and only Bonnie Raitt.
The Detroit-based DJ hosted a series of micro-events as part of his 10 GRiZ-mas, helping to raise awareness and funds amongst his loyal fans.
Nash was honored by Little Kids Rock as the Humanitarian of the Year in 2015, and performed “Teach Your Children” onstage with several local students.
Gene Simmons and his family surprised a Little Kids Rock classroom in Los Angeles when they showed up to give a masterclass in music instruction and delivered tons of new instruments! The entire visit was featuerd on Simmons’ national television show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels. The KISS star also has donated autographed memorabilia for Little Kids Rock to auction off at its fundraiser events.
The Anthrax bassist visited an elementary school in the Bronx and donated some of his custom signature bass guitars. He spoke to the kids about the importance of making music, saying no to drugs, and being all around positive people.
In 2015, Fall Out Boy joined our music students for a photoshoot of a lifetime! In partnership with the Hot Topic Foundation, we facilitated this once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students to become true rockstars for a day!
Joining us at our 2015 Little Kid Rock Benefit in New York City, the one and only, David Letterman presented our honorary award to Paul Shaffer.
A talented singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, filmmaker, and more, David Byrne’s work with us began as he embraced the title of ‘writer’. In writing “How Music Works”, Byrne referenced our work and approach in bringing music edcuation to students. His love of our program continued with a classroom visit to a Little Kids Rock classroom in New Jersey to meet our talented students!
Darryl McDaniels’ history with us dates back to his public school years when he was the student of a Little Kids Rock teacher’s mother! In 2009, he visited that teacher’s music classroom in New Jersey and saw how the transformational power of music was benefiting the students. Having a long relationship with us, McDaniels returned in 2020 as a keynote speaker at our annual Modern Band Summit with more than 1,000 music teachers in attendance.
Darlene Love has supported Little Kids Rock for many years, having been honored at the organization’s 2013 benefit event and having performed at several others, including the annual “A Souled Out Christmas” show in Red Bank, NJ. She also visited a school in Jersey City to deliver dozens of brand new instruments and sing “Lean on Me” with the students and the mayor!
Country music rising star, Clare Dunn, made a special tour stop at Mt. View Elementary School in Nashville, TN to deliver brand-new acoustic guitars, entertain and visit with students. The students were ecstatic to perform “Brown Eyed Girl” with Dunn, and she shared that it was the first song she ever learned to play.
Cheap Trick flew out to New York to help Little Kids Rock honor Joan Jett at the annual Little Kids Rock Benefit in 2014. The band opened the concert with an incredible rendition of Jett’s song, “I Hate Myself For Loving You.”
Pop star Charlie Puth took time from his national tour to surprise students at Cage Elementary in Houston, TX with a delivery of brand new instruments. He performed his song, “One Call Away” with students, answered questions, and took photos with them, giving the students an experience they’ll never forget.
Chad Smith is a staunch supporter of music education, having worked with NAMM, Turnaround Arts and Little Kids Rock to ensure that all kids have access to music education. After having gone on the Dr. Phil show with some of our kids in LA, Smith joined Little Kids Rock Facebook’s HQ in Menlo Park, CA to be honored at our West Coast Family Jam Benefit, where he jammed with our students and did several interviews about the importance of music education.
Casadee Pope has been supporting Little Kids Rock since early in her career, urging her fans to donate to help other budding musicians have the same opportunites she did. She also helped raise funds for Little Kids Rock at a weeklong fundraiser at the Hard Rock Hotel and Resort in Cancun.
The legendary drummer of Vanilla Fudge and Cactus fame has been a Little Kids Rock supporter for over a decade, having visited schools, filmed PSA’s, performed at fundraisers and even served as a guest judge and speaker at other Little Kids Rock events.
Bruce Springsteen surprised a huge crowd at the 2012 Little Kids Rock Benefit when he showed up to present an award to his friend and bandmate Steven Van Zandt. Bruce not only spoke, but also performed two songs onstage.
Brian Wilson wowed our attendees at the 2013 Little Kids Rock Benefit in New York City. Wilson’s continued commitment to our work led him to record a beautiful version of ‘Love & Mercy’ with Little Kids Rock students.
Record producer, bassist, and member of legendary hip-hop group, Public Enemy, Brian Hardgroove’s first worked with us by visiting a school in Jersey City with Bootsy Collins. In 2020, Hardgroove’s passion and advocacy for music education positioned him as a keynote speaker at our annual Modern Band Summit with more than 1,000 music teachers in attendance. In the same year, Hardgroove joined our National Board of Directors.
Brandi Carlile did a backstage meet-and-greet with some high school students in New Jersey, and it turned into an all out jam session! Afterward, she filmed this public service announcement about how important music education is for kids.
The Linkin Park guitarist visited a high school in Los Angeles, and filmed a PSA to promote his support of Little Kids Rock.
Bootsy Collins busted out his legendary space bass and the funky basslines to go with it when he visited a middle school in Jersey City. He jammed with the students, did lots of Q and A, and gave them a lesson that James Brown gave to him: “As long as you play on the one, you can do anything else in between… but always play on the one!”
Billy Squier performed with a group of Jersey City students at Little Kids Rock’s 2011 benefit event, and signed his guitar afterward to be auctioned off. Leading up to the concert, Squier visited the students at their school to work with them and prepare them for their biggest performance to date!
The Green Day frontman came out to help Little Kids Rock honor Joan Jett at the 2015 Little Kids Rock Benefit. He performed on stage with Jett and then again with all of the evening’s performers, including our own students!
Big Kenny, country music star and half of the Big & Rich duo, visited a Nashville classroom and brought a dozen Guild acoustic guitars to donate to the class. As he said to the class, he believes that all children have the right to bear musical instruments!
The former New York Yankees outfielder and GRAMMY-nominated guitarist was honored at Little Kids Rock’s 2010 benefit event. With the funds raised during that event, Williams visited a Little Kids Rock classroom in the Bronx and delivered a dozen guitars!
Alice Cooper came out to help Little Kids Rock honor Joan Jett at the 2015 Little Kids Rock Benefit. He performed on stage with Jett, helped us present an award to her, and then performed again with all of the evening’s performers, including our own students!
The former American Idol runner-up surprised an entire school full of students when he appeared in their classroom and sang along with them while CNN filmed a segment. It was not only these kids’ first time meeting an American Idol, but also a role model whose music they were familiar with. It was also these kids’ first time on TV!
Little Kids Rock provides various professional development workshops for teachers based on our innovative and transformational methodology.
Brittany Nixon May is an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Brigham Young University. Before joining the faculty at BYU, Dr. May served as the Beverley T. Sorenson Endowed Graduate Assistant for Elementary Music Education at the University of Utah. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. May taught music in Syracuse, New York and Washington, D.C. She currently serves as Elementary Vice President of the Utah Music Educators Association, as Western Region Representative of the NAfME Early Childhood Music Special Research Interest Group, as the Western Region Representative for the Society of Music Teacher Education, and as the arts integration columnist for General Music Today.
Alex White co-founded Next Big Sound in 2008, while in his last semester at Northwestern University. Next Big Sound raised $7.4 million dollars across two venture financing rounds (2009 and 2012) from Foundry Group, IA Ventures, SoftTech VC and other notable angel investors.
On July 1, 2015 Pandora Media (NYSE: P) acquired Next Big Sound, Inc and White ultimately became VP, Content and Programming at Pandora reporting to Scott Greenstein, Chief Content Officer of SiriusXM.
White and his co-founders were featured in Fast Company (#1 most innovative company in the music industry, 2015), Forbes (30 under 30) in the music category three times, Billboard (10 best music companies), Bloomberg BusinessWeek (25 under 25), Entrepreneur Magazine’s 30 under 30 list and in the New York Times, CNN, Fox Business, Washington Post, TechCrunch and many other publications. White is an adjunct professor at NYU, sits on the NY Board of Little Kids Rock, and enjoys playing soccer, reading, skiing, and traveling for work and pleasure. He lives in New York City and is currently taking a year-long sabbatical.
Stefani Scamardo is the founder of Hard Head Management and Evil Teen records. She has a wide variety of musical influences dating back to her early days as an avid record collector and live show enthusiast. She is able to work within different genres including rock, Americana, alternative, indie, and electronic as well as with classic and new bands. Stef came up through the ranks of the A&R department of Island Records at the start of her music business career and she spent 16 years as the face and voice of SXM’s Jam On where she hosted “Jam On with Stef Scamardo.” Coming up shortly she will be debuting a new talk show on channel 100, Volume. Stef also co-founded Mountain Jam, one of the country’s premier music festivals in Hunter, NY.
Stefani has managed Gov’t Mule for 20 years and under her guidance, they have solidified themself as one of the most influential rock bands of the modern era, developing a robust touring regimen and showcasing their virtuosity over the course of 27 studio and live albums, millions of album and track sales, and over 2,000 live performances. Simultaneously, she has overseen Warren Haynes’ impressive balance of Gov’t Mule, The Allman Brothers Band, The Dead, his solo acts, and more. She’s worked closely and consulted with both the Dead and the Allman Brothers Band, most recently co-managing and producing The Brothers sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden.
Stefani has a great ear for talent as well as helping artists develop that talent. She is able to find unknown and young acts and develop them into global powerhouses through connections with venues, promoters, press, radio, digital and traditional marketing, and labels. Recent discoveries and success stories include the Revivalists and the Marcus King Band. Other acts she manages and has managed include Tyler Ramsey, DJ Logic, Living Colour, Chris Robinson, Soulive, and others.
Stefani is a philanthropist as well. She co-founded the W&S Charitable Foundation and continues to sit on the board, helping produce The Christmas Jam in Asheville, NC which just donated over a half-million dollars from the proceeds of the 30th-anniversary show featuring Dave Grohl, Eric Church, Jim James, Gov’t Mule, Grace Potter and many more. She has been on the board of Headcount (since its inception in 2004) as well as Little Kids Rock and is an advisor to the board of the NY Chapter of the Recording Academy. She is also a member of several organizations including Women In Music, Music Management Forum, A2IM (American Association of Independent Musicians), and NITO (National Independent Talent Organization).
Dick Hoffman is the Chairman of Atomatic Mechanical Services a full service mechanical contracting firm serving the greater Chicagoland area. Prior to Atomatic, Dick attended the University of Miami where he obtained his finance degree, then began his career with Motorola where he worked on the pilot cell phone project (yes, I owned a palm pilot, a brick phone, and I am young at heart).
Dick has a passion for giving back. He believes you get out of life what you give. He has served as both Chair of the Harper College Foundation and as a Trustee of the college. Currently he serves as a Governing Board Member of Northwest Community Hospital and the Chair of its Foundation. Dick started the Little Kids Rock Chicago Advisory Board along with his son Mike in memory and honor of their late wife/mother, Kathy. Dick’s other son, Steve, is an accomplished musician. Kathy was a creative middle school math teacher who loved to teach and especially enjoyed the creative outlet of playing her piano. Kathy showed us how music and teaching methods can influence and change ones life.
Priscilla is a 26-year veteran public school Master Teacher; an elite distinction held by less than 1% of Colorado’s teachers. She was the first teacher in Colorado to become National Board Certified in Early Adolescent/Young Adult Music. Priscilla has worked in urban, suburban and rural schools in Texas, Colorado and Alaska as a public school teacher, principal, Regional Team Specialist, teacher evaluator/coach, Summer ELA Site Leader, high school tennis and volleyball coach and higher education Student Teacher Supervisor at CCU. Priscilla volunteers her time as Secretary of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, DUU Board alternate for the Colorado Education Association.
Priscilla’s husband is Darren Rahn, an accomplished saxophonist, with over 25 #1 radio singles and multiple Grammy nominations over the past 11 years as an artist, producer and mixing engineer. He has become urban jazz’s premiere sonic architect, the “go-to” guy for established genre greats and up and comers looking for their next sure-fire hit.
Nicole Crystal is a professional canine photographer at Pooch Pix, based in Bergen County, New Jersey and the founder of The Memory Vault, LLC.. She received a Bachelors of Science Degree from Boston University in Mass Communication and also holds a New Jersey Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education (K-8). Nicole has been an active member of her family foundation since 1995. Prior to joining the national board, Nicole served as a member of the New York Area Advisory Board. Nicole joined the board as an independent, voting member in 2013.
Nadine Levitt is a Swiss-born German Kiwi American, and founder of the music technology company, Wurrly, LLC. She began her career as an international trade lawyer but after 6 years of practice she began to pursue a career in music as a professional opera singer and songwriter. She has performed extensively all over the United States and the world, sharing the stage with David Foster, Andrea Boccelli, Kiri Te Kanawa, Roger Daltry, Christina Perri, and Steven Tyler to name a few. Passionate about music in schools she led the development of the music education platform WURRLYedu in 2016, which leverages pop culture to offer a fun and effective music education solution for teachers, offering one of the largest popular music catalog in K-12 along with lesson plans and videos and creation tools and assignment management for students. She studied at Auckland University, and holds a Bachelor of Law and Arts.
Ken Umezaki is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Verifi Media, a company focused on modernizing how media data is shared and dynamically managed across all parties in the media value chain, with a current emphasis on music rights data. Verifi believes that moving copyrighted media at “the speed of digital” will spark new revenue streams, information transparency, and efficiencies that will form the foundation for a more sustainable and diverse global creative economy. Ken is also an independent investor and business advisor for music startups and artists, through his company Digital Daruma, with a specific focus on artist facing music and media service companies. Digital Daruma has invested in numerous promising music startups over the last decade. Digital Daruma has also made select direct investments in music artists, music projects and songs. His past experience includes 25 years in financial services trading, asset management and senior management positions. Lastly, he is involved in a number of music foundations and academic organizations, including serving on the board of Little Kids Rock, as well as advisory board position for programs at New York University and Berklee College of Music.
Jules Follett is the Executive director and Founder of The Sessions (TheSessions.org), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that brings together a panel of Artists and industry experts to teach Musicians the BUSINESS side of the industry. The Sessions was spawned from Follett’s years as an entertainment photographer, as she heard countless stories of talented artists not getting their due. Jules joined the Little Kids Rock board as an independent voting member in 2014.
Joseph Laska is a partner and shareholder in the San Francisco office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, an American Lawyer A-List law and consulting firm. Joe defends managed healthcare plans in complex state and federal litigation, arbitration, and regulatory disputes, with special emphasis on class actions, ERISA litigation, and the evolving area of mental healthcare. His clients include several of the nation’s leading healthcare plans and insurance companies, including the largest nonprofit healthcare service plan in California. In 2017, Joe was honored to be named one of the top 40 lawyers under 40 in California by the Daily Journal.
Joe joined the board of directors in 2010 as an independent, voting member. He is passionate about Little Kids Rock’s mission because he was a beneficiary of music education in his public school. Joe spent his childhood as an avid percussionist. Fortunately for his neighbors, he now just dabbles in guitar.
Jose Vergara is a music teacher at Miramonte Elementary (LAUSD). Prior to becoming a full-time music teacher at Miramonte, he was a general education teacher for fifteen years. Since 2009, Jose Vergara has volunteered countless hours to run the modern band music program at Miramonte, with the support of the national organization, Little Kids Rock. Four times a week, when every teacher is wrapping up the day after a long day of teaching, you can find Jose Vergara preparing himself for band practice with his students. The diverse members of the music program consist of approximately 40 students, ranging from 3rd graders to 7th graders from various classes. Throughout the years, Jose has touched the lives of students in his class and in his band by helping them maximize their academic and musical potential. The first generation named themselves “The Big Deal” and the second generation has named themselves “The Next Big Thing”. The band names indicate that students believe in themselves as much as their teacher believes in them. Unsurprisingly, those are not the only lives that have been touched by his relentless drive for success. He has also changed the lives of the youngest students on our campus; all of which now believe that they too can someday be as spectacular as the kids in “The Big Deal” and “The Next Big Thing” because they see their brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors accomplishing what some might consider the impossible.
In Mr. Vergara’s music program, each student is prepared to perform several renditions of classic rock, pop, hip-hop and rap hits from the 70’s to the present. He has developed the gifts and talents of students by building and strengthening students’ self-esteem, confidence, showmanship, and artistic abilities. He teaches students, most of whom, if not all, have never touched an instrument or performed before a live audience. He teaches them how to play different instruments such as guitar, keyboard, bass guitar, and drums. Jose Vergara’s students not only learn how to play multiple instruments, they also learn the technical aspects of audio/visual preparation. All students are involved in setting up the stage, laying out cables, maintaining equipment, and setting up acoustics and instruments. Students are also required to choreograph dances and sing as well. Students harmonize and rap their lyrics with the precision of some of the most popular artists of all time. At the end of a performance, students discuss their performance and reflect on the experience. Jose Vergara has managed to provide a safe, respectful, nurturing, and supportive environment, where students have learned to respect each other’s talents, while also forming a support system for each other when facing individual and/or group challenges. Under the tutelage of Jose Vergara, his students have recorded a song titled “One Voice” with Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas and have performed with Carlos Santana during the inauguration of the Carlos Santana Arts Academy. They have also performed for notable musical artists Rascal Flatts, Joshua Radin, Siedah Garrett, Jesse & Joy, drummer/producer Narada Michael Walden, Joe Robinson, Michael Beinhorn, and Heidi Joubert. His students have also been interviewed and featured on Univision’s national TV program “Aqui y Ahora.”
In May 2014 Jose Vergara was the recipient of the Apple Platinum Award given by United Teachers of Los Angeles. The award recognizes excellence in education and dedication toward students in the teaching profession. What makes this award extra special is that fellow teachers nominate the candidates, which goes to show you the deep respect and admiration his peers have for Mr. Vergara and his modern band music program.
John Hopkins is Chief Operating Officer of Sweetwater Sound. Founded in 1979, Sweetwater is the No. 1 online retailer of music instruments and audio gear in the U. S. The company is respected as the nation’s leading retailer serving musicians, recording studios, broadcast, education, and houses of worship. Sweetwater has long partnered with Little Kids Rock by distributing instruments to Modern Band programs across the US and facilitating a “round up” program for customer donations when purchasing from the company.
John has been at Sweetwater since 1992 and actively leads all aspects of the business operations helping the company to grow from 6 million in annual sales to over 1.1 billion in 2020 sales. He has been passionate about music education since marrying Dawn (who is a pianist and has a Masters in Piano Pedagogy) in 1980. John and Dawn have a daughter who has a MSW and is a violinist and a son who is a Nuclear Engineer and a Cellist. John serves on the NAMM national board and joined the Little Kids Rock national board as an independent voting member in 2018.
Jay Vyas has been a Little Kids Rock volunteer and supporter for nearly two decades and has been a past Treasurer as well as Head of the Audit Committee. He is a dedicated amateur musician who is currently focused on improving his guitar and electric bass skills. When he’s not playing music, Jay serves as a consultant and strategic advisor to start-up organizations. Prior to this activity he had a three decade career in the field of quantitative investing. Most recently, he was the Managing Director, Head of Research and Innovation at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Prior to that, Jay was a co-founder and managing member of Vyas Capital Management, LLC. Continuing back into time, his career journey included roles at Barclays Global Investors, Martingale Asset Management, and BARRA, Inc. Jay earned his BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley, and he holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Farid has 30 years of experience in the financial technology industry as an entrepreneur, investor and manager. Previously, he founded FNX Limited, a leading provider of global over-the-counter trading technology to the world’s largest financial institutions. FNX was acquired by GL Trade (now part of SunGard) in 2007. Farid also has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, as a board member of Gain Capital and is an operating partner at LLR. He joined Lightspeed Financials’ Board of Directors (now Professional Trading Solutions) in September 2012 and became CEO in 2014. He holds a Series 7 and 24 licenses.
Farid currently sits on YPO International’s Board of Directors where his term ends in September, 2020.
Craig Kallman carries on the entrepreneurial tradition that has driven Atlantic Records since its founding by Ahmet Ertegun over 70 years ago, and is embodied in the careers of such fellow Atlantic producer/executives as Jerry Wexler, Nesuhi Ertegun, and Doug Morris. Craig joined Atlantic in 1991, when the company acquired his independent Big Beat Records label. Advancing through the executive ranks, the New York-born Kallman was named Chairman/CEO of the Atlantic Records Group in 2005.
A passionate music fan, obsessive record collector (with an archive now numbering 1.5 million vinyl albums and counting), and avid audiophile, Kallman began his music industry career while still in high school. He started out by DJ-ing at the Cat Club in New York, while working in Columbia Records’ dance department. At Brown University, he was the CBS Records college representative, programmed urban and rock specialty shows on WBRU-FM, and ran a legendary series of campus dance parties. After graduating in 1987 with a B.A. in English, Kallman worked for Factory Records and Billboard magazine, while DJ-ing at such legendary nightspots as Danceteria, Area, The Palladium, and The Tunnel – spinning boundary-crossing sets drawn from his vast collection.
Fresh out of college, he started the Big Beat label in his bedroom, selling dance records on the street from a shopping cart. He launched the label with the single “Join Hands” by Taravhonty. His second release, “The Party” by Kraze, was an international smash, selling over 300,000 copies, and prompting calls for Kallman remixes from such major artists as Soul II Soul. Through the 1990s, Big Beat remained a major presence in the dance and rap underground, as well as in the crossover pop and R&B fields, with a multi-genre string of hits by Robin S., Jomanda, Tara Kemp, Bucketheads, Artifacts, Double XX Posse, Dawn Penn, Inner Circle, Changing Faces, and Quad City DJ’s.
Just four years after Craig started Big Beat, his success prompted Atlantic to acquire the label and bring Craig into the company. He came on board as Vice President/Assistant to then Co-Chairman Doug Morris. Advancing to Executive Vice President, Kallman began to oversee Atlantic’s entire A&R operation. His roster of trailblazing artists grew to include Aaliyah (whose Atlantic debut introduced producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott to the pop top 10); Brandy; Notorious B.I.G.’s rap clan Junior M.A.F.I.A., featuring Lil’ Kim; and hard rockers Stone Temple Pilots and P.O.D.
Kallman was named Co-President of Atlantic Records in 2002. In the fall of that year, he forged an alliance with the pioneering dancehall reggae label, VP Records. The first VP/Atlantic album, Sean Paul’s groundbreaking, Grammy-winning Dutty Rock, sold six million copies worldwide. In 2002, Kallman inked Florida-based hard rockers Shinedown and the following year he brought hip-hop icon T.I. into the Atlantic family.
In 2004, with the new independence of Atlantic’s parent company, Warner Music Group (in the wake of its sale by Time Warner), the label was faced with the challenge of recreating the company for a new era, building a new culture with a new vision and fresh energy. Kallman was named Co-Chairman/COO of the newly formed Atlantic Records Group, and a year later he was promoted to Chairman/CEO.
Over the past 15 years, Craig has continued to drive Atlantic’s recruitment of a rich diversity of high-profile artists, among them Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Lizzo, Cardi B, Janelle Monae, Kelly Clarkson, Sia, Death Cab For Cutie, James Blunt, Trey Songz, Charlie Puth, Flo Rida, Melanie Martinez, Skrillex (via Kallman’s re-launched Big Beat label), Wiz Khalifa, Roddy Ricch, Lil Uzi Vert, Burna Boy, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, the late Nipsey Hussle, and many others. Kallman also spearheaded one of the music industry’s pioneering “360” deals, partnering with punk-pop band Paramore.
Craig’s entrepreneurial sensibility has also made Atlantic a highly desirable destination for indie labels looking to take their artists to the next level, as exemplified by the company’s partnership with Fueled By Ramen – whose roster includes Grammy winners fun., Panic! At The Disco, Twenty One Pilots, Gym Class Heroes, and others; and Canvasback (Grammy nominees Alt-J, Grouplove, Adia Victoria et al.). In 2010, Craig re-launched his Big Beat label, which has had tremendous success with artists like Grammy winners Skrillex and Clean Bandit, Icona Pop, and Martin Solveig, to name a few. In 2018, Atlantic spun off the new Elektra Music Group, including the iconic Elektra label, Fueled by Ramen, and Roadrunner, which has been part of the Atlantic family since 2007.
Over the past two decades, Craig has championed Atlantic’s involvement in film/TV soundtracks and cast albums, beginning with the 1996 smash Space Jam, on which he served as Executive Producer. Under his guidance, Atlantic has released the Grammy-winning original cast recordings to the Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, as well as Mean Girls and Jagged Little Pill. The label is also home to the Grammy-winning soundtracks for The Greatest Showman, and Grammy-nominated Furious7 and Suicide Squad.
On the film front, Atlantic Films co-produced the documentary film 808, which chronicles the story of the influential Roland TR-808 drum machine, with a soundtrack on Big Beat/Atlantic. Kallman also served as Executive Producer on the recent Epix docu-series, Laurel Canyon.
As the number of senior music executives with authentic record-making experience and expert “ears” continues to dwindle, Kallman remains Atlantic’s musical director and constant hands-on creative collaborator with his artists – as A&R guru, producer, songwriter, and admitted studio junkie. Among his many production credits are the Grammy-winning “Daydreamin’” by Lupe Fiasco featuring Jill Scott (which Craig produced and co-wrote) and Cardi B’s No. 1 smash, “I Like It,” which became the first song by a female rapper to surpass the one billion streams mark on Spotify and has been certified RIAA 8X platinum.
“We have shifted our mission from being a traditional record company to an A&R-driven, music content company where focused, deep, and long-term artist development is king,” says Kallman. “Our compass is still set by Atlantic’s deep heritage in American roots music of every kind,” says Kallman. “It is a privilege and an honor for our artists, producers, songwriters, and staff to live up to that tradition, and to make our generation’s contribution to it.”
Chris Skarakis was an early employee of Google where he served as Director of Business Development and led the development efforts of Google’s early wireless and book scanning projects. After leaving Google, Chris co-founded Fuzz/blip.fm, an online music community and record label and Powersniff, LLC, a music management company. He has also held past positions with Netscape and Silicon Graphics. Chris recently joined the Board of Directors for The Historic Record Plant in Sausalito, CA and is a former board member of The Kanye West Foundation and the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo (a local rescue zoo and discovery museum that also brings science education to local schools). In his spare time, Chris loves to play guitar. He is in a couple of bands and has played with the kids at the local elementary school for the last decade, where he co-wrote the on-going 2nd grade musical. Chris holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco.
Chris Donohoe is an independent singer/songwriter. He has been traveling to Nashville to produce and record music there since 2000. He has released a project every year since 2009, recording nine albums, including “Let the Light In” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 in 2020 and 2021. Before his music career, he spent twelve years in television news as a weather anchor in Florence, AL, Bakersfield, CA, and San Francisco. His duties also included environmental and feature reporting. Chris chaired the Little Kids Rock San Francisco Bay Area Council from 2011-2014 before joining the national board on which he has served as chair since 2017. He has also served on the board of The Bluefield Project to Cure Frontotemporal Dementia since its formation in 2010. He was raised in Sunnyvale, California, on Simon and Garfunkel, Kiss, Benny Goodman, Neil Diamond, Tom Petty, and Cheap Trick records, and holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Davis. He is married to Robin Richards Donohoe, and they have four children. Chris loves tennis, cross-country skiing, constant exercise, hiking, travel, and of course, playing guitar and piano and writing songs.
Cheryl Zimlich serves as executive director and as a member of the board for Bohemian Foundation, a philanthropic, grantmaking institution based in Fort Collins, Colo. The foundation works to empower citizens and is committed to the care and enrichment of local, national and global communities. Through the foundation’s Community Programs area, the organization seeks to support youth, economic stability and the vibrancy of the Fort Collins community. The foundation’s Music Programs area works to build community through music. Through its Civic Programs area, the foundation funds organizations that aim to strengthen democracy. Zimlich has been responsible for the development of the foundation’s fourth program area, Global Programs, which seeks to identify and support organizations addressing some of our most serious global challenges at the intersection of public health, poverty and the environment. Zimlich is a respected community leader and 20-year volunteer in the nonprofit sector. In addition to serving Bohemian Foundation, Zimlich has held board and leadership positions with more than a dozen organizations. Cheryl joined the board of directors in 2012 as an independent, voting member.
Brian Hardgroove is a record producer, bassist, drummer and member (on hiatus) of the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy.
Although he’s done productions that include the extraordinary talents of Chuck D (Public Enemy), Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Burning Spear, Marc Anthony, Supertramp and The Fine Arts Militia, his most cherished work is the production of two of China’s premier punk rock bands Demerit and Brain Failure.
Hardgroove’s musical repertoire spans the genres of hip-hop, soul, rhythm and blues, rock, and reggae.
In 2013 Hardgroove joined the faculty of Santa Fe University of Art & Design as Artist in Residence until shortly before the school began closing in 2017.
In 2009, Gov. Bill Richardson proclaimed May 8th as “Brian Hardgroove Day” in the state of New Mexico for Hardgroove’s commitment to the regional music scene and for using his position as a touring musician, radio personality, writer, performer, and producer to promote the state in interviews while touring the world with Public Enemy and Bootsy Collins. Santa Fe Mayor David Coss proclaimed June 7 as “Brian Hardgroove Day” in the city of Santa Fe as well.
Hardgroove is currently producing two separate album projects with Stewart Copeland (The Police) and Fred Schneider (The B-52’s).
Brad Peterson currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology and Chief Information Officer (CTO/CIO) for Nasdaq.
Before Nasdaq, he served as CIO and EVP for Schwab Technology Services (STS), responsible for Schwab’s technology innovation, development, infrastructure and operations. While leading Schwab’s technology enterprise, Brad also was responsible for Project Services (which covered the planning, coordination and financial management of all company-wide projects) and Offshore Services (leveraging third-party offshore capabilities whenever appropriate).
Brad served as CIO at eBay for five years. He was the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Epoch Securities after its merger with Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. He also has held senior executive positions at companies including Epoch Partners, Schwab, Pacific Bell Wireless and Pacific Telesis (now part of AT&T).
He earned his master’s degree in management at MIT Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in systems science and economics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Bob Flaum retired as a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers after a 37 year career, where he specialized in Financial Services. At the time of his retirement in 2014, he led the Banking and Capital Markets practice in the Metro New York region. In 2016, Bob joined the board of UBS Americas Holdings – the holding company for UBS’ operations in the US. An avid guitar player since the early 70’s, he was hooked on the LKR mission from his first introduction in 2015, joining LKR’s NY Area Advisory in December 2017.
Donating securities that have appreciated in value can be a very tax-efficient way to support Little Kids Rock—please consult your tax advisor. If you are interested in this donation option, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to make a transfer.
To donate by mail, please make your check payable to Little Kids Rock, Inc. and send it to the following address:
Little Kids Rock
P.O. Box 43369
Montclair, NJ 07043-0369
Digital Songwriting and Production 161
This course is designed to address the current needs of all teachers who are providing virtual music instruction. Participants will learn to teach their students to collaboratively compose and produce songs using an online digital audio workstation (DAW) such as Soundtrap and incorporate a Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit with sequential lessons. Through various hands-on activities, participants will learn new student-centered strategies to engage their music students in a meaningful way by nurturing their creativity, providing social-emotional learning, and incorporating the Music as a Second Language® pedagogy.
Modern Band 101
This hands-on course serves as an introduction to modern band and the Music as a Second Language® pedagogy. This course covers the basic core values of Little Kids Rock: how we teach music-making, improvisation, and composition by getting our students into a comfort zone using student-centered instruction, approximation, and scaffolding. Participants are introduced to the instruments of modern band: guitar, keyboard, drums, vocals, bass, and technology, and learn basic playing skills and pedagogy for each. Participants will also use their new musical skills to compose and perform an original song in a collaborative setting.
Social-Emotional Learning in Modern Band 178
Throughout this course, participants will learn to engage students in mindful explorations of their emotional lives. To achieve this, participants will engage in activities like a “Honoring Our Loved Ones,” where they will use music to explore the seven stages of grieving. Participants will also create a musical letter on a personal loss, using contemporary popular music. Through these activities, participants will learn to guide students through difficult life experiences, using music as a catalyst for healing and expression.
Michelle joined the Little Kids Rock team in July of 2019. In her current role as Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications, Michelle works cross-functionally to implement strategic content plans. She ensures that internal and external communication reflects the organization’s highest priorities.
Michelle joins the team having worked with both private and public sector organizations of all sizes. Her experience in managing user journeys, digital channels, and partnerships put Michelle in a position to create strategies for multi-million dollar revenue goals.
Michelle is a proud alumna of New York University Stern where she completed her MBA and The College of New Jersey where she pursued international studies. An avid traveler and explorer, Michelle is always eager to learn new things. Being able to build relationships through shared values, visions, and interests is something that Michelle will always hold special and applies to her work ethic.
Georgina “Gina” Lugo officially joined the Little Kids Rock team January 2017 as Senior Finance Coordinator. Gina has worked in a wide variety of positions within the world of retail, where she learned great client service expertise and how to work with different clientele. Her focus for the past 20 years has been within the Accounts Payable department. In her last ten years, she held a position as an Accounts Payable Specialist, where she mastered her AP expertise. Gina went to William Paterson University focusing on Early Childhood Development. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and listening to wide variety of music ranging in Rock and roll to Jazz. She also enjoys dancing to ballroom music which includes Waltz, Rumba, Foxtrot including Salsa & Cha-Cha.
Diane joins the team at Little Kids Rock as Senior Manager of Finance with the passion to give back to her community, which is one of the many reasons she was attracted to the Little Kids Rock Organization.
Diane has served as Board Chairman for the Prince Hall Colonial Park Day Care Center in Harlem, NY. In addition to serving on the PHCPDCC board, Diane has also served as Registration Chair for the Board of Camp Eureka in Roscoe, NY.
When Diane is not at work at LKR, she is working as the President of Eureka Grand Chapter Prince Hall Order Eastern Star for the State of New York. EGC PHOES is a benevolent fraternal organization raising funds for the various charities they support, not limited to PHCPDCC, Special Olympics, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Lupus Foundation of America. Diane is currently serving as Chairperson of the Nellie B. Lofthouse Scholarship Fund, where she has personally raised over $20K over the past two years to distribute scholarships to underprivileged students throughout New York State.
Diane believes that no person stands as tall as when they are reaching down to help a child.
Bridget Toolan joined the Little Kids Rock team as a graphic design intern in the summer of 2017 and moved on to become the organization’s Design Associate the following year.
Currently, she works as the Visual Designer & Web Specialist and is responsible for creating all marketing and event collateral as well as designing and maintaining the Little Kids Rock websites.
Bridget has a B.A. in graphic design from High Point University in North Carolina. Her passions include photography and decorating and in her free time, she enjoys watching cartoons and cooking.
Abasi joined Little Kids Rock as Director of Technology in November 2020. In this role he manages the strategy, innovation, and implementation of Little Kids Rock’s technology initiatives, working with internal teammates and external partners to bring Little Kids Rock’s digital platforms to the next level of engagement.
Abasi has over 15 years of experience leading technology departments in the finance, legal, and non-profit sectors. He has led a wide range of projects from DevOps, infrastructure management, and governance, to cybersecurity and cloud migrations. Through his work, Abasi manages to communicate technology strategies to non-tech departments in a palatable form. He has had the opportunity to share his knowledge throughout the tech community on best practices for current and future technology initiatives as a featured speaker and panelist at conferences around the country.
In his free time, Abasi is an avid cyclist and enjoys playing basketball. He is also an aspiring BBQ Pitmaster who cherishes the art of smoking a brisket.
Matt joined Little Kids Rock as the Grants Manager in 2013 and is currently Senior Manager, Institutional Giving. In his role, Matt manages the daily operations of the institutional giving portfolio including the stewardship and solicitation of corporate and foundation partners. He previously worked in this capacity for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
A lifelong musician, Matt is excited to share his passion for popular music with the next generation of music-makers. Matt holds a BA in Political Science from Rutgers University. In his free time, he enjoys making music, traveling, and dining.
Madeline joined Little Kids Rock in January 2014 as Dave Wish’s Executive Assistant and was recently promoted into her current role as Senior Coordinator, Development. In this new role, she will be working closely with the Chief Development Officer and Development team to help cultivate and grow our list of supporters. She is excited to use all of the knowledge she has acquired over the years working alongside the CEO and founder to help inspire more people to support the mission of Little Kids Rock.
Prior to joining the Little Kids Rock team, Maddy already had an extensive background and passion for music and the music education industry. She worked for School of Rock, LLC for four years and was involved in all aspects of the company. She was also a performer and toured as a background singer in the International rock band Blackmore’s Night, with Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple for several years. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Stony Brook University. In her spare time, Maddy enjoys being with her family, including her daughter, who is already showing signs of being a great performer.
Kelly joined Little Kids Rock in May 2015 as the Manager, Institutional Giving. As Kelly deepened her knowledge of both the organization and the field of nonprofit grant-making, she was promoted to Senior Manager in 2018. Currently, as the Director of Development, Kelly supports the organization’s efforts to reach its fundraising goals across various disciplines, including institutional, individual, and corporate giving, by managing the development department and working across the rest of the organization to ensure department alignment.
Prior to joining Little Kids Rock, Kelly worked for two years as a Grants Specialist in the Sponsored Programs Administration office of the Nathan S. Kline Institute within the New York State Office of Mental Health, where she focused on NIH and NSF grant compliance.
Kelly holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Caldwell University and a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology, focusing on Human Development and Social Intervention, from New York University.
Keith helps guide Little Kids Rock’s strategic and creative vision for fostering a culture of philanthropy, and connecting the organization’s supporters with its work. By building deep, lasting relationships with supporters, and creating unique and meaningful pathways for them to support music education, he ensures that everyone who engages with Little Kids Rock and its network of teachers and students feels like part of a movement. Keith serves as the liaison to various regional advisory boards and committees, plans and executes all fundraising events and campaigns, and enacts meaningful partnerships that help expand Little Kids Rock’s reach and impact.
Keith joined Little Kids Rock as an intern in 2009, and quickly realized he was home. He joined a small team and contributed to growing a grassroots organization into its current state. For years, he managed all of the communications, marketing, PR, and branding efforts before turning his efforts toward helping raise funds to support Little Kids Rock’s program. His strengths include public speaking, storytelling, and exuding passion for the mission.
Keith grew up in New Jersey with a passion for storytelling, sports, and concerts. He studied Public Relations at Penn State University and spent a semester abroad in Australia. While he dabbles in various instruments, he is the organization’s resident harmonica player.
Erin Keating joined the Little Kids Rock team in December 2019. As Senior Coordinator, Institutional Giving, Erin prospects new and stewards existing foundation support for Little Kids Rock. Prior to joining Little Kids Rock, Erin worked at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and served in a similar capacity in their development department. Erin has a B.A. in literary studies and creative writing from Roanoke College in Virginia and an M.A. in history and culture from Drew University. She is grateful to use her writing skills and passion for the arts and arts education to help support Little Kids Rock’s important mission.
Danielle joined Little Kids Rock in February 2020 as Senior Manager of Artist & Industry Relations. She is focused on nurturing and stewarding “Little Kids Rock’s artist relationships” while building and managing the organization’s artist relations strategy.
Danielle has over 12 years experience in the music industry starting her career at Next Plateau Entertainment, Inc. an independent label based in New York City where she started as an intern and later evolved into a full-time position focusing on licensing and production after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a music business degree. Danielle spent the last 8 years working for Kobalt Music Group where she began in the synch publishing department and soon grew into one of the first US employees to build Kobalt’s global digital distribution and label service company AWAL. Serving many growing roles at Kobalt, Danielle recently worked in label management providing direct support to legendary independent label Glassnote Records.
Danielle loves to travel with her husband, especially to the Caribbean. Jamaica is their favorite island with all the reggae and jerk chicken they can get! She is also a huge animal advocate and volunteers at Husky House a non-profit committed to the rescue, shelter, care, and adoption of stray, abandoned and unwanted animals. Danielle is so excited to be apart of Little Kids Rock’s incredible mission and to help impact our kids in a different way. Let’s rock!
In his role as Manager of Program Certification & Operations, Warren liaises between district arts administrators and Little Kids Rock. Warren also manages logistics and presentations at national music conferences, as well as virtual professional development trainings throughout the year. As the modern band movement continues to grow, Warren makes sure teachers interested in bringing modern band to their districts have a reliable and proven path to make it happen!
Warren received his Bachelors in Music from The College of New Jersey and his Masters in Music from The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Both of his degrees were received with a concentration in classical guitar. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Music Education from Boston University.
Warren has also been a mentor for Thomas Edison State University since 2006, working in both the PLA and Music departments. He has instructed online courses on prior learning assessment, music history, and guitar. Besides his work with TESU, Warren’s teaching experience includes private guitar instruction since 1999 and public school teaching of general music, choir, and modern band in the Jersey City Public School system from 2006 to 2017.
In his spare time, Warren enjoys photography and spending time with his wife Kelly, and their two children Catherine and Matthew.
Tony taught music in Los Angeles for 8 years before joining the Little Kids Rock team. Tony has been working with Little Kids Rock since 2007 and is a firm believer in recreational music making and music therapy.
Tony received his bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Ethnomusicology with a minor in Chicana/o Studies. He received his master’s degree in Afro-Latin Music from California State University Los Angeles in 2012. He has been playing guitar for over 20 years and currently tours nationally as a singer-songwriter with his group, Cuicani. He is an avid supporter of music from around the world and has a deep passion for Afro-Caribbean music.
Spencer joined Little Kids Rock in 2016 as the Technology Education Manager. A teacher for three years in New York City public schools, Spencer focused on combining instrumental performance with recording and digital music production. Their students learned to play guitar and keyboard and produced music using iPads and laptop computers. As an educator, Spencer focused on cultivating a love of music in their students and on providing them with the skills necessary to continue to learn on their own. Spencer’s YouTube channel (YouTube.com/SpencerCHale), built to support their students’ learning, features over 200 educational videos from instrumental lessons to software demos to play-a-long tracks. It has over 4,000 subscribers and over 1 million views.
Spencer was in the first graduating class of New York University’s dual degree program, completing their BA in Music Performance in 2012 and their MA in Music Education the following year. Spencer performs around the city on bass guitar and writes and records music in their home studio.
Scott, the Director of Teaching and Learning, taught music in the Los Angeles public school system for twelve years before joining the Little Kids Rock team as full-time Los Angeles County Regional Program Director in 2012. His duties include managing all musical content of the organization, including training, professional development, and curriculum. He was introduced to Little Kids Rock in 2004 at one of their first trainings and has been involved ever since.
Scott completed his dissertation, “Transformation of Habitus and Social Trajectories: A study of a popular music program”, and received his DMA from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. He received his B.A. in Music from University of California, Santa Barbara,studied and taught music theory at the doctoral level at the Eastman School of Music, and completed his single subject music teaching certificate from California State University, Northridge.
While primarily a guitarist, Scott has played a variety of instruments as a performer in the fields of classical music, jazz, mariachi, and salsa music and has taught music theory, marching band, concert band, guitar, rock band, jazz band, mariachi ensemble, and keyboards. He misses working directly with his students but loves working with fellow educators and helping them reach their students through Little Kids Rock!
Ryan has been serving the world of music education since 2012. After teaching for a brief period in New York’s Hudson Valley he became an instrument repair technician, maintaining the classroom instruments for several nearby school districts. He then joined the Carl Fischer Music company to serve the needs of the educational publishing market. Originally joining Little Kids Rock in January 2017 with the responsibility of serving all modern band educators in NYC, he now drives programmatic project planning and execution to meet the organization’s strategic priorities.
Ryan earned his Bachelors in Music Education with a concentration in upright bass from SUNY Fredonia in 2012, although he has never forgotten his garage band roots. He is often seen playing upright bass, electric bass, and tenor banjo in several New York groups, performing a diverse range of styles including traditional Punk, Rock, Jazz, and Bluegrass.
Miranda joined the Little Kids Rock team as Program Manager in April 2009, and has helped expand the mission from serving 35,000 children annually to its current reach of more than 550,000 students today. Throughout the past decade she has worked to grow many programmatic areas of the organization, including the vibrant teacher community, training operations, customer service, special events and the organization’s annual professional development conference, the Modern Band Summit.
Currently, as Senior Director of Program Operations, she oversees all operational elements within the program department, providing leadership in areas that include instrument distribution, certification logistics, partner relationships, program budget and the management of key program metrics.
Miranda is currently working on her MBA with a concentration in Music Business from Berklee College of Music and Southern New Hampshire University. An avid music maker, she loves organizing staff jam sessions and has led beginner lessons in lead guitar both at the Modern Band Summit and via Little Kids Rock’s YouTube Channel. She is always excited for any opportunity to play and enjoys supporting local bands in her local New York/New Jersey metro area.
Mary Claxton joined the Little Kids Rock team full-time as the Colorado Director of Programs in August 2017. Previously, she was a classroom teacher for five years, and began work as a Little Kids Rock teacher trainer during that time. She now works directly with teachers and administrators across the state and is thrilled to be working with Governor John Hickenlooper’s Take Note initiative to bring music education to every student in Colorado.
Mary has a Bachelors of Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Jazz Performance at the University of Northern Colorado. She gigs regularly as both a drummer and a vocalist and enjoys spending time outdoors with her family.
Lauren joined Little Kids Rock in February 2012 as a Program Assistant. Since then she has worked closely with the many teachers served by the organization, welcoming them from their first workshop to providing support throughout each school year. Now, as the Senior Manager of Program Evaluation & Operations, Lauren ensures meaningful program data is collected and analyzed to help further the organization’s mission. She also works closely with instrument providers to get teachers and students the instruments they need to make music in the classroom. Each year, Lauren oversees registration and hospitality for the annual Modern Band Summit and has seen the conference grow immensely since the first “Rockfest” in 2013. Also a dance teacher, Lauren jumps in to give teachers tips and tools to get their students moving. Occasionally Little Kids Rock students perform her choreography at the organization’s annual benefit.
Lauren graduated from Rutgers University in 2011 with a Bachelor of the Arts in American Studies and Dance. During her time at Rutgers, she managed the annual New Jersey Folk Festival. When she’s not at the office, Lauren enjoys gardening, taking walks, baking, and spending time with family and friends.
Clayton is a Little Kids Rock alumnus (2003) and an avid music lover who joined the organization as a Teaching and Learning Assistant in May 2019. He helps the Teaching and Learning team provide ongoing support for our teachers and students nationwide.
Clayton is a multi-instrumentalist who, throughout his musical journey, served as a Minister of Music, a Musical Director, and a producer. Clayton has contributed to the projects of major industry artists including OMI, Popcaan, and others. He is the Co-Founder of Sworn Creative Solutions, a songwriting and production company. Clayton is also the bassist and background vocalist for an eclectic New Jersey-based band that blurs the genre lines of funk, R&B, hip-hop, and rock.
Clayton is currently in the process of completing a Bachelor of Arts in public and nonprofit administration with a minor in music at Rutgers University. In his free time, he enjoys spending quality time with his family. His wife and son are foundational to his zeal, and he values the vital role they play in his success.
Before moving to the U.S. in 2018, Bronwyn Horton, professionally known as Bronwyn Reddy, was a performer, singer/songwriter and vocal director in her home country, South Africa and abroad.
Bronwyn Reddy graduated with a BA in Live Performance from AFDA in 2006. She was a recipient of the Best Musical Performer award every year during her time at AFDA Cape Town.
She toured with Grease the musical (Westend version) produced by Pieter Toerien Productions and David Ian Productions(UK), where she played the role of Patty Simcox and was the first understudy for the role of Rizzo. She has also performed in Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunset Boulevard and other musical theatre and straight plays. In 2014, she toured with the international touring company of the Sound of Music as Head Chaperone and worked with nearly 100 children worldwide.
As a singer/songwriter, Bronwyn embarked on her debut project “Love Constant” in 2011. She has also collaborated on many studio projects and recordings throughout her career and has performed in many bands, groups, and ensembles. From 2015 – 2018, she was the Vocal Director and performer CCH Productions, a group that toured and performed at retirement villages.
Bronwyn Horton joined the Little Kids Rock team as the Chicago Regional Program Coordinator in fall of 2019 and more recently as the Virtual Events Coordinator. She is excited to once again be working to impact the lives of children with the gift of music.
Dr. Bryan Powell leads higher education initiatives for Little Kids Rock. He is an Assistant Professor of Music Education and Music Technology at Montclair State University where teaches classes in music technology, guitar, and popular music. Bryan formerly served as the Director of Programs for Amp Up NYC, a partnership between Berklee College of Music and Little Kids Rock. Bryan is a musician and music educator who worked as a public school music teacher for the New York City Department of Education. Bryan is the Executive Director of the Association for Popular Music Education and currently serves as the Chair of the NAfME Popular Music Education SRIG.
Bryan is a widely published researcher and author. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Popular Music Education and editor of the Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education. Bryan is the author of Popular Music Pedagogies: A Practical Guide for Music Teachers (Routledge), and a co-author of The Music Learning Profiles Project: Let’s Take This Outside (Routledge). He has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals including; International Journal of Music Education; Journal of Music Teacher Education; International Journal of Community Music; Journal of Music, Technology and Education; Update: Applications of Research to Music Education; Visions of Research in Music Education; @IASPM Journal; Education 3-13; Music Educators Journal; and Action Critique and Theory in Music Education. He also has authored multiple chapters in Oxford and Routledge Research Handbooks.
Bryan has a Bachelor of Music degree from Pepperdine University, a Masters degree in Teaching from Chapman University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University.
Braeden joined the Little Kids Rock team in 2014 as the part-time volunteer coordinator, moving through roles as the Los Angeles County Regional Program Coordinator, Teacher Events Manager, and Senior Manager of Teacher Community before becoming the Senior Manager of Community Outreach in 2020.
Through this work, he manages teacher communications and creates/implements Little Kids Rock’s strategy for teacher community-building, both online and in person. Across these areas of oversight, he attempts to widen networks, increase access to resources, and deepen teachers’ relationships with students, each other, and modern band/Music as a Second Language® pedagogy. He has also co-managed the Modern Band Summit, Little Kids Rock’s largest annual professional development event.
Braeden is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in ethnomusicology, and a longtime private music teacher, teaching lessons on a variety of instruments. He is also a veteran of the LA indie music scene, having sung and played guitar and bass in multiple bands over the last decade. An avid recording and mix engineer, he owns way too much musical equipment and spends most evenings annoying his cat with it.
Janice Polizzotto has more than 25 years working in both the private and public sectors with an emphasis on corporate social responsibility; nonprofit management, fundraising and event planning, and strategic partnerships.
As Chief Development Officer of Little Kids Rock, Janice is leading overall fundraising strategy, achieving financial sustainability, and stewarding large corporate partners and individual donors. She is also forging new relationships with major donors and partners to support the organization’s anticipated growth and expansion.
Janice’s years of experience in corporate giving, fundraising, and strategic partnerships, most recently as Senior Development Officer, Providence Foundations, Southern California, will serve to further the impact and mission of Little Kids Rock. Prior to Providence, she founded Social Wisdom, LLC, and held a senior management position with CBS EcoMedia, managing strategic partnerships and national programs. Janice also founded the successful endeavor, The Polizzotto Group, LLC, with clients including Toy Industry Association, White Plains Hospital, California Pizza Kitchen, Weingart Center, and Little Company of Mary Hospital. Janice also served as the inaugural Executive Director of Children Affected by AIDS Foundation. In addition to her role as CDO, Janice serves on the Los Angeles Advisory Council for Common Sense Media.
Janice began her professional career in corporate philanthropy with American Honda Foundation and later Mattel Children’s Foundation where she was instrumental in redesigning the foundation’s philanthropy and expanding its activities overseas.
Janice currently lives in Hermosa Beach, CA with her husband, Daniel. Recent empty-nesters, they enjoy traveling, entertaining, relaxing on the sandy beaches of the South Bay… oh, and music, too!
As our CFO, Howard brings extensive experience from roles in Internal and External Auditing, Risk Management, and Governance in the Financial Services industry, and Board leadership positions for Not-For-Profit organizations.
Most recently, Howard served as a Special Advisor in the Office of the General Counsel at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., with a focus on Corporate Governance and Project Oversight. Previously, as a Managing Director, he was the Global Head of Risk Management for the Investor Services line of business and before assuming that role he was the General Auditor for the Firm. Prior to joining BBH, Howard served in senior internal audit and business process and control roles at Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Salomon Smith Barney. Earlier in his career, Howard was an audit partner in the Financial Services Industry Practice of Price Waterhouse in New York.
Howard is a long-time member of the Board of Governors of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, a progressive rabbinical school, and he has served as the Treasurer of that organization since 2013. Howard is an active member of Bnai Keshet Synagogue in Montclair, New Jersey, and he has served the congregation as Treasurer and Co-President (as well as occasionally as lyricist and keyboard player for various synagogue productions).
Prior to joining the Little Kids Rock team in April 2019, Howard served on our New York Area Advisory Board and our National Board of Directors, where he served as Treasurer since January 2016.
A CPA with an MBA from Columbia University, Howard’s undergraduate degree is a BS in Commerce from the University of Virginia.
Charly joined the team in February 2014 and was named Little Kids Rock’s Chief Operations Officer in June 2014. Charly brings over twenty years of experience in team leadership, operational management, marketing and youth development to Little Kids Rock. Charly served as the Chief Operating Officer at America SCORES, a nonprofit organization that uses sports and creative expression to engage, empower, and inspire thousands of at-risk public school youth in low-income communities around the country. Prior to America SCORES, he served as a Vice President at LeadDog Marketing Group, an award-winning marketing company he helped found in 1999. At LeadDog, he shepherded the infrastructural development of the company as it quickly grew in revenue, clients, services, and employees, directing various operational functions along with supervising both administrative and account teams. While at LeadDog, Charly also served as an adjunct professor at NYU. Before moving to New York in 2000, Charly was the Director of Operations at a promotion agency in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Producer for the 1996 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games and other major sporting events, including the MLB All-Star Game. His professional career began in the area of informal education, serving as a regional Assistant Director, Senior Advisor and Program Director for a national Jewish youth organization, where Charly primarily worked with elementary school and high school students.
As a first-generation Cuban-American, Charly’s native language is Spanish. He began playing piano with a private Cuban teacher at the age of five and later, in public school, learned to play the drums. As an adult, he focused on Latin percussion, and currently plays timbales in a Latin Soul band and in his own Latin Jazz quintet. He has studied music theory, solfege, and performance in private lessons, school settings, rehearsals, and workshops (including at the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Spanish Harlem, a Berklee City Music Network member).
Fueled by his belief that all people are innately musical, Dave Wish founded and serves as Chief Executive Officer of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that funds and runs one of the largest instrumental and vocal music programs in US public schools today. Little Kids Rock is also a leading provider of free instruments and curriculum. Dave has initiated and managed the launch of campaigns to restore, expand and innovate music education for more than 1,000,000 children in 44 states.
While working as a public school teacher in California, Dave developed a revolutionary new approach to teaching music known as “Music as a Second Language.” Today, dozens of colleges and universities across the United States use Music as a Second Language in their music education programs. This methodology focuses on the linguistic aspects of music and focuses heavily on teaching children to play the music that they already know and love. By utilizing music which is culturally relevant and sustaining for youth, the approach brings greater equity and inclusivity into music classroom.
In 2008, Dave conceived of and launched a new type of school-based music program known as “modern band.” Modern band is a new category of instrumental, vocal, technological and performative music education that is offered alongside of existing programs such as jazz band, marching band and orchestra. Since that time, modern band programs have been written into the music curriculum of school districts across the country and a number of state departments of education have partnered with Little Kids Rock to make modern band a statewide feature of their educational offerings.
A recognized social entrepreneur, Dave has been awarded numerous honors for his work in the field, including prestigious fellowships from Ashoka, The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, The Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation, and The Goldhirsh Foundation, as well as receiving the 2014 New Jersey State Governor’s Jeffersonian Awards in the ‘Ambassador’ category for his exemplary volunteer service beyond the borders of New Jersey.
Dave’s work has been highlighted by national and local media outlets including The New York Times, CNN Headline News, Time Magazine, MTV, A&E, Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Dr. Phil Show and National Public Radio. He has also been a speaker at the LEGO Idea Conference, Imagine Solutions Conference, Social Innovation Summit, TEDxSantaCruz and the Net Impact Conference.Dave is active in the broader field of music education. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium, the Governance Committee of Amp Up NYC as well as the Advisory Boards of SpreadMusicNow and Oberlin’s Music in America Initiative.
Dr. Virginia Wayman Davis is Professor of Music Education at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 2005 and has taught public school music at all levels. She holds Level I & II certification in both Orff and Kodaly techniques. Her research interests include meaningful music education practices, secondary general music, and popular music education. Dr. Davis is also a performing percussionist, currently playing with the Valley Symphony Orchestra in south Texas.
Native of Puerto Rico, Vimari holds a Bachelor and Master degree in Music Education, an Artist Diploma in Flute Performance from the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Miami. She was the director of the Elementary Choir, and Recorder Ensemble “Renaissance” at the famous San Juan Children’s Choir in Puerto Rico. Currently she is an Assistant Professor at Bridgewater College. She is among the first group of teachers in the world to get certified in the Kodaly Method with the use of Latin American music. Her teaching and research interests are teaching music to special populations, body awareness, parental involvement, multi-cultural music education, and modern band.
Stephanie Cronenberg is an assistant professor of music and the Director of Clinical Experience and Practice at the Mason Gross School of the Arts of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education and specializes in general music. Dr. Cronenberg’s research interests include middle level general music, narrative methods, mixed methods, and teacher education. She holds a PhD in curriculum, instruction, and aesthetics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an EdM from Harvard Graduate School of Education, a MA from University of Maryland, College Park, and a BME from Wingate University.
Si Millican is a professor of music education at the University of Texas at San Antonio and currently serves as Associate Vice Provost of the university. He is the author of Starting Out Right: Beginning Band Pedagogy published by Scarecrow Press and has published articles in The Instrumentalist, School Band & Orchestra, Bandmasters Review, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, and The Journal of Music Teacher Education. Dr. Millican received his bachelors and masters degrees in instrumental music education from the University of North Texas and a PhD from the University of Oklahoma. Prior to his university work, Dr. Millican was a public school teacher in Texas.
Sara K. Jones, Assistant Professor of Music Education at DePaul University, holds degrees from Baylor University, Michigan State University, and Northwestern University. A former public school music teacher, she specializes in instrumental music education at all levels. Dr. Jones’s scholarly and research interests include alternative curricular approaches in the music classroom, music education for students with disabilities, and music teacher education. She has published articles on these topics in Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Music Education Research, and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education.
Sandra Sanchez Adorno is an assistant professor of music education at Florida International University. A native of Florida, she holds degrees in music education from the University of Florida (B.A.) and the University of Miami (M.M., Ph.D.). Sandra has worked as a general music teacher in public schools and community music programs and continues to serve as a workshop clinician for pre- and in-service music educators around the country. Her research interests include children’s musical cultures and musical identity development and expression.
Rachel Whitcomb is Chair of Music Education and Music Therapy and Associate Professor of Music Education at Duquesne University where her teaching focuses on early childhood and elementary general music methods and popular music pedagogies. Her research interests include improvisation in elementary general music classrooms and the role of popular music and songwriting in schools. She created a Songwriter Showcase on campus that provides a venue for students of all disciplines to share their original songs. Her work has been published in Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, The Kodály Envoy, and General Music Today.
Michael Raiber was appointed the Busey Chair of Music Education at Oklahoma City University in 2013. In addition to his university teaching, Mike also serves as the Director of Teacher Support and Conductor of Orquestra Esperanza for El Sistema Oklahoma, a music education and youth development program serving students in northwest Oklahoma City. He has degrees from the University of Tulsa (BME, MME) and the University of Oklahoma (Ph.D.). His passion is educating high quality music educators who will inspire future generations. He has special interest in culturally responsive music teaching and eliminating barriers that impede the diversification the American music teaching workforce.
Matthew Clauhs is an Assistant Professor at Ithaca College where he teaches wind methods and modern band pedagogy. His research on creativity and inclusion has been published in Music Educators Journal, Urban Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, and Arts Education Policy Review. He serves on the editorial board of Music Educators Journal and chairs the New York State School Music Research Committee.
Mark Montemayor teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education at the University of Northern Colorado. His research and clinical interests include topics such as teacher effectiveness, musical modeling, adolescent experience in music pedagogy settings, and the cognitive psychology of music instruction. A classical saxophonist, Gregorian chant aficionado, and a former high school band director, Mark now serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Research in Music Education and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education. He was the Scholar of the Year for the College of Performing and Visual Arts at UNC in 2017-2018.
Laura Artesani is an Associate Professor at the University of Maine, where she teaches music education and music history courses and supervises student teachers. She is the piano accompanist for the University Singers, and performs frequently at faculty and student recitals. On July 1, 2019 she will become chair of the Division of Music. Dr. Artesani has completed levels I-III of Orff Schulwerk training, and is the recipient of a research grant from the American Orff Schulwerk Association. Articles that she has written or co-authored have appeared in the Journal of Music Teacher Education, General Music Today, and The Orff Echo.
Dr. Lani Aloha Garner is a professor of Music Education at Oklahoma City University. She received her Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Oklahoma in 2017. Her passion for teaching younger students extends through her work as a Lead Teaching Artist and an administrator at El Sistema Oklahoma. Prior to this, she worked with the K20 Center for Education and Community Renewal, providing coaching, mentoring and coordinating technical assistance and training across the state for grant schools and their partners. Dr. Garner also spent over eighteen years teaching elementary music in the Norman Public School District.
Kevin Droe teaches undergraduate and graduate music education, modern band methods and creative music making at the Univeristy of Northern Iowa. His research focuses on music for special and underserved populations, technology and progressive music education. Kevin is the president of the Iowa Music Educators Association and chair of the Children with Exceptionalities Special Research Interest Group. He and his wife Shelley started the Spectrum Project, a performing arts program for children with differing abilities. Kevin has a Masters in Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado and a Ph.D. in Music Education from The Florida State University.
Jocelyn Stevens Prendergast is Assistant Professor of Music and Music Education at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri where she oversees the Music Masters of Arts in Education program, teaches conducting, music education courses, and supervises intern teachers. She received a BME from Butler University, an MM in Wind Conducting and an MA in Music Education from the University of Minnesota, and a DMA in Music Education from the University of Georgia. Her research interests include pre-service music teacher education, mentoring, secondary general music, popular music education, and rural music education.
Jill Wilson, DMA, is Associate Professor and Director of the Music Education Program at Luther College. She is currently serving as Past-President of the Iowa Choral Directors Association and recently served on the Iowa Fine Arts Standards writing committee. Current research interests include music teacher education program curricula, mentor programs, and music literacy pedagogy. Her work can be found in Research Issues in Music Education, Gender Research in Music Education, Visions of Research in Music Education, Choral Journal, Arts Education Policy Review and Journal of Music Teacher Education. She is a proud Modern Band Fellow thanks to Little Kids Rock!
Jay Dorfman is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at Kent State University. His research interests include the uses of technology in music teaching and learning, instrumental music, popular music, and music teacher education. Dr. Dorfman is the author of Theory and Practice of Technology-Based Music Instruction (Oxford University Press, 2013) and the co-editor of Pluralism in American Music Education Research: A Collection of Essays and Narratives (Springer, 2018). He holds BM and MM degrees from the University of Miami (Florida) where he studied classical guitar with Juan Mercadal. He earned the PhD in music education from Northwestern University.
Donna Hewitt is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside where she teaches preservice educators and coordinates the music education program. As a general music specialist with 13 years of public school experience, she teaches undergraduate courses such as Music In Childhood, Intro to Music Technology, and World Music. She integrates modern band practices and approaches with the collegiate chapter of NAfME at her university. Her research interests include popular music education, professional development, and culturally responsive teaching. Her dissertation examined the impact of a professional development program in popular music on a music teacher’s beliefs and practices.
Frank Martignetti is a conductor, music educator, music education researcher, and organist. Dr. Martignetti is Assistant Professor and Chair of Music & Performing Arts at the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut. He has conducted the Mystic River Chorale since 2008 and serves as Music Director & Organist at Advent Lutheran, Manhattan. A public school teacher for ten years, he received the New Haven Symphony’s 2006 Excellence in Music Teaching Award, and was a national finalist for the 2015 American Prize in choral conducting. B.A., University of Rochester, B.M., Eastman. M.M., University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Ph.D., New York University.
Dennis Siebenaler holds a DMA in Music Education from the University of Texas at Austin, a MM in piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and BM and BME degrees in Piano and Music Education (vocal, K-12) from Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Dr. Siebenaler has been a presenter at numerous state, national, and international conferences, and has articles published in Proceedings of the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy, Journal of Music Teacher Education, UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, and Journal of Research in Music Education. He has completed three levels of Kodaly pedagogy and studied Orff methodology as well as Dalcroze Eurhthymics. Dr. Siebenaler previously taught at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the University of Texas, and at Zavala Elementary in Austin, Texas. He currently teaches at California State University, Fullerton in the areas of music education, and musicianship, and is organist at Tustin Presbyterian Church. He has also worked as a studio piano teacher, and professional accompanist. His honors included memberships in Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda honor societies.
David Knapp is an assistant professor of music education at the Setnor School of Music, with a dual appointment in Syracuse University’s School of Education. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education, including secondary general music methods, current topics in music education, technology in music education, and steel band.
Knapp’s research interests include community music, multicultural music education, steel band pedagogy, and hip-hop. His work has been published in the International Journal of Community Music, General Music Today, and The World of Music. He also regularly presents at national and international conferences for the National Association for Music Education, the International Society for Music Education, and the Society for Ethnomusicology on topics related to community music and multicultural music education.
Dr. Venesile teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral music education at Kent State University, where he is also the Faculty Coordinator for the Master’s of Music in music education Online degree.
Dr. Venesile holds degrees from The Ohio State University, Cleveland State University, and Case Western Reserve University. As a music educator, Dr. Venesile has excelled in the niche world of vocal jazz, his ensembles appeared at 7 state, national, and international music education conferences and won DOWNBEAT magazine Student Awards. He is a frequent clinician and adjudicator at national festivals.
Chris Bulgren serves as Instructor of Music Education at Oregon State University. He has previously taught courses at Georgia Southern University, the Oberlin Conservatory, Eastern Michigan University, and Adrian College. Prior to his doctoral study in Michigan, he taught in Kansas Public Schools for seven years where he taught elementary general music, beginning band, and high school band. During this time, he completed his Orff levels certification and served on the board of the Kansas Orff Chapter. His research interests include gender in music education, popular music, and songwriting.
Dr. Cassandra Eisenreich is Assistant Professor of Music Education and Flute at Slippery Rock University and serves as the director and lead teacher for the Early Childhood Music Community Engagement Initiative in collaboration with the Butler County Children’s Center and SGA Preschool. Eisenreich partners with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to provide meaningful musical experiences for children by directing the Discovery Time Adventures Eurhythmics room as a part of the PSO Fiddlesticks Concert Series. She has extensive training and teaching experience in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Orff Schulwerk, Suzuki Flute, Conversational Solfege, World Music Drumming, Kindermusik, and Modern Band. www.CassandraEisenreich.com
Michael is an instrumental music educator with teaching experience in K-12 schools and collegiate settings in five states. When not teaching, he enjoys playing the trombone, learning guitar and drums, and making silly songs with his kids. He is a passionate supporter of Modern Band and contemporary music making.
Beau Taylor is a founding partner and Chief Investment Officer of Madava Asset Management (formerly Taylor Woods Capital Management LLC). Prior to founding Taylor Woods Capital in 2011, he served as a Managing Director of Credit Suisse, Head of the Global Commodity Proprietary Trading Group and Co-Head of Global Commodities. He also served as a member of the Fixed Income Operating Committee. Mr. Taylor joined Credit Suisse in 2007 from JP Morgan where he was the Global Head of Energy Sales and Trading. Prior to that he was the Co-head of Power Trading at Morgan Stanley. Mr. Taylor began his career at Merrill Lynch Commodities in 1994. Mr. Taylor graduated Cornell University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Economics and Business Management. Prior to joining the national board, Beau served as a member of the New York Area Advisory Board. Beau joined the board of directors in 2015 as an independent, voting member.
We don’t have any courses open at the moment. Check back for updates!
After attending, you’ll receive a certificate valid for professional development credits (Hours, CEUs, CTLE, Renewal Credits, etc.). You’ll also have the opportunity to register as a Little Kids Rock teacher, which includes the following benefits:
Premium streaming service, Hulu announced a multi-city record store takeovers in homage to the launch of their new series, High Fidelity. To raise awareness for music education, Hulu partnered with Little Kids Rock and donated 50% of all gross sales made in stores over the course of the three-day takeover period.
“In celebration of our premiere, High Fidelity is proud to help raise awareness and funding for music education in public schools. For me, music has always been more than a hobby, but a necessary part of my life. I was lucky enough to have grown up with the privilege of having access to instruments, music teachers and great records, but I know for many that is not the case. I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to Little Kids Rock’s commitment in empowering future generations of music lovers and makers. ” Zoe Kravitz, star and executive producer of High Fidelity
Alena Holmes, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and the Coordinator of Music Education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. An active teacher, clinician, researcher, and musician, Dr. Holmes has given over 60 presentations throughout the United States and internationally. She has published over 20 articles and is the author of the chapter in the Oxford Handbook on Assessment Policy and Practice in Music Education. In addition to her research and teaching, Alena Holmes is a singer and songwriter performing in educational, professional, and community contexts throughout the U.S. Dr. Holmes is an organizer and director of UW-Whitewater Rock Band Camp and Music Creativity Lab after school program.
After completion of Higher Education Modern Band Fellowship she started Modern Band program as a part of music education coursework.
Elliot Harris founded Ocelot18 in 2015 after a 22-year career on Wall Street. Through that time, Elliot has worked with owners and executives of growing businesses along with their advisors to develop sound business and strategic plans to maximize and streamline the company’s potential. Elliot has participated in over 10 billion dollars of underwriting over the past two decades.
Elliot is a participating lecturer at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and a finalist judge for the FAU Tech Runway Business plan competition. He has also lectured to the NYSSCPA for continuing education on Behavioral Finance as well as being a visiting lecturer at the Business school at SUNY Albany. Elliot has also been a judge for countless “Shark Tanks” throughout the country as well as countless speaking engagements.
Elliot co-founded Global Music Branding and has consulted on numerous projects with recording artists and producers that has resulted in over 85 charted billboard hits including 13 number ones and 6 Grammy’s. Currently, Elliot is a partner in Dos Banditos records catering to providing original music to advertising, movies, television and online. His experience with internet companies spans his career and was a key advisor for the sale of numerous. Currently, Elliot has a large portfolio of seed stage companies where he is both an investor and advisor. He is also a founding advisor and board member of Frandme.
Elliot has consulted to numerous nightclubs and restaurants throughout the United States and Europe and has successfully assisted with building and selling several franchise concepts. Currently, Elliot is a partner in Odyssey Hospitality which provides full logistics, staffing and security for private events, festivals and concerts. He also works with Livenation VIP experiences providing logistics and security.
Blake Croson is a Vice President at Assurance who focuses on the construction and manufacturing industries. With over 10 years of experience, Blake’s primary responsibility is to present solutions for clients regarding contractual risk transfer, general liability and workers’ compensation. Blake takes an analytical approach with clients, where he understands what’s driving claim activity and the root cause of those claims. By focusing on the actions or omissions that lead to claims, Blake can help reduce losses and, ultimately, premiums.
“ I work closely with my clients to get a feel for their culture and current practices; this way, I can offer the best possible solutions.”
Blake received his Bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois Chicago. He currently holds his Associate in Risk Management (ARM), Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS), Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Insurance Services (AIS) designations. Blake is an active member of: Chicago Building Congress, Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) and sits on the advisory board of Little Kids Rock Chicago.
Assurance is among the largest and most awarded independent insurance brokerages in the U.S. A “Top 50” broker, Assurance is a repeated, national “Best Place to Work” winner. Assurance creates value by minimizing risk and maximizing health for 6,000 businesses and individuals across the country. The company is headquartered in Schaumburg, IL with centralized office locations in Chicago, IL and St. Louis, MO. Visit Assurance at assuranceagency.com.
Nicole is founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Memory Vault, LLC, a company specializing in custom-made photo books, photo management & organization, greeting cards and photography. She received a Bachelors of Science Degree from Boston University in Mass Communication and also holds a New Jersey Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education (K-8). Nicole has been an active member of her family foundation since 1995. Prior to joining the national board, Nicole served as a member of the New York Area Advisory Board. Nicole joined the board as an independent, voting member in 2013.
Pandora employees from NYC piloted the first ever “classroom makeover,” where they changed and tuned guitar strings, hung up posters, and helped prepare a classroom for the new school year. Pandora’s employees stayed engaged with this program by participating in classroom makeovers in Oakland, Atlanta, and Denver.
The Hot Topic Foundation aims to inspire and encourage young people to express their individuality through music and the arts. In two years their round-up campaign has raised over $1 million dollars, impacting the lives of more than 30,000 students!
Bohemian Foundation is committed to the care and enrichment of their local, national, and global communities. Bohemian has helped us in many ways such as, bringing Modern Band to the Poudre School District in Fort Collins, CO, making the four-day Modern Band Summit conference possible for hundreds of teachers nationwide, and supporting our Amp Up NYC and Music Expanded Chicago initiatives!
In October 2019, the Dallas Independent School District suffered considerable tornado damage, including the destruction of classrooms and equipment. While the students were relocated to a temporary campus, where they will remain for the next two years, Little Kids Rock’s partners at Niagara Cares joined us to aid in the recovery period by donating brand new instruments to the school.
The benefits of music are positive and powerful, and during times of suffering are needed more than ever. Although schools are closed due to COVID-19, these instruments will be waiting to greet students when they return to their classrooms. Until then, Niagara Cares is supporting the efforts of Little Kids Rock to ensure that students & teachers don’t miss a beat in their music education. By finding solutions to engage virtually during this time, we can ensure that we all keep making music together even though we are physically apart.
Educators selected to become Modern Band Higher Education Fellows will receive all of the following resources for themselves and their institutions: