MusicMoments: Music Returns To Schools In A Rock 'N Roll Way - KMSP-TV

From Anchor Christine Devine

MusicMoments: Music Returns To Schools In A Rock 'N Roll Way

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If American Idol is creating singing superstars, Little Kids Rock is creating kid rock stars. AND, in inner-city schools where money for music is almost nada.

I was invited to check out Little Kids Rock when a friend insisted I meet movie producer Cindy Cowan. This gorgeous, dynamic woman was calling in friends and favors. She loves music and made it her mission to help get instruments into our classrooms. After meeting Cindy and hearing more about LKR I went to Pio Pico Middle School to see it for myself.

This was not music class like I remembered. As a kid, I took guitar class merely so I could access the piano that sat empty. It was largely unfulfilling and I quickly lost interest. At Pio Pico I saw kids ROCKIN' OUT!

Why is it bass players always seem so cool! Okay, I might be biased being that my fiancé' is a bass player. He may have a run for his money though as a whole crop of kids are taking to music in a serious way. The African American girl on the bass had a swagger that just screamed rock star!

I was thrilled by the energy of teacher Randy Rodarte. He was alive as he taught. His chalkboard was dotted with music notes. He teaches 6th-8th grade, beginning to advanced to stage and travel band. He has 200 students this year, taught 800 over the last 4 years. "Twist And Shout" was being performed as I left. Rodarte has his own band out of East LA, Ollin.

LKR has stepped up nationwide with instruments and teacher instruction. LKR is in it where our schools have dropped off. Among the backers, that big kid rocker, Slash!  

Little Kids Rock

The Christine Q&A with Randy Rodarte, Music Teacher

Christine:  When and how did little kids rock come on board?

Rodarte:  I attended an LKR workshop 3 years ago, and they donated 30 guitars to our school, which served as a catalyst for the program.

Christine:  How has little kids rock made a difference?

Rodarte:  Since the LAUSD financial crisis has crippled many arts programs, LKR donated all major instruments including electric guitars, amps, keyboards, drumsets, and electric basses. Little Kids Rock has been a major musical enabler; I have the dream and LKR has supplied the tools to keep the dream alive.

Christine:  What has little kids rock meant for the students?

Rodarte:  LKR has provided students with the confidence and opportunity not only to play on a daily basis, but to dream towards playing professionally.

Christine:  Do you have any student success stories, any student taking this seriously or working in the business?

Rodarte:  My former students are still in high school, and have begun to form their own bands.

Christine:  What is your goal for the students?

Rodarte:  To perform on stage, to learn the history and significance that rock n roll has contributed to modern music, and to have fun on a daily basis.

Christine:  Describe your passion for music?

Rodarte: I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education in 2009. I started playing clarinet in LAUSD schools at the age of 9 years old, and drums in middle school. As I am a multi-instrumentalist, percussion is my main instrument. My band Ollin formed in 1994 and still exists.

Christine: Rock on Mr. Rodarte. Rock on!

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