Berklee College of Music, Little Kids Rock and NYCDOE Partner for Amp Up NYC Initiative
Berklee College of Music and Little Kids Rock have partnered with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) to expand the district's Modern Band music program to an additional 60,000 students in 600 city schools. The Amp Up NYC initiative is the largest single private investment in a city's public school music education program in the history of the United States. The donated services and resources for this initiative are estimated at $10 million. Berklee College of Music and Little Kids Rock will contribute teacher training, Modern Band curriculum, and thousands of new musical instruments. Outside contributors include the Walker Family Foundation and Bohemian Foundation. The program is already live in more than 70 classrooms.
On Friday, March 21, Berklee president Roger H. Brown and Little Kids Rock founder David Wish were joined by representatives from the NYCDOE as well as congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), famed producer and musician Steve Jordan, Saturday Night Live keyboardist and Berklee alumnus Tuffus Zimbabwe, and the first Amp Up NYC students at Lower Manhattan Community School to officially kick off the initiative.
Modern Band music programs teach the music of the past 50 years, from rock and reggae to Latin and R&B, among other genres. They complement existing programs such as jazz, marching band, and orchestral music. Hundreds of certified music teachers will be trained and equipped by Amp Up NYC to bring Modern Band programming to children in grades K-12. Several teachers have already been trained and are running successful Modern Band programs in their schools. Extended day programs will also be offered, and a number of community-based music organizations will adopt the initiative.
"Modern Band leverages our children's cultural and community experiences and helps us reach more students," said Paul King, executive director of the New York City Department of Education's Office of Arts and Special Projects. "In the world of music education, diverse musical experiences enrich kids' learning and their understanding of the world. Amp Up NYC will certainly bring more and new music-making opportunities to our students and we are delighted to have Little Kids Rock and Berklee College of Music join the many excellent organizations that support music learning for our students."