What a rousing crowd welcomed the KRF Vocal Students in the Rhythm Lounge March 6th! Family friends, babies in strollers and proud grandparents with all manner of recording devices came out to support the brave performers. The program included class performances, solos, and duets that rocked us, awed us and made us smile.
Where does an eight year old get the strength to jump on stage, grab the mic, wait for the music to start and belt out that song that is in his or her heart? I watched with pride that I would have the smallest role in the process of bringing this show to Fender Center. Fender Center’s nonprofit status means that we rely on a multitude of financial supporters, volunteers and community goodwill to provide the training to aspiring artists and the great place for them to perform.
When Mr. Chris Diaz first walked in the door to our music school I knew that he not only had the heart to teach youth he had talents that we would not find anywhere else. How many songs did he expertly play for the performers at the show? I lost count after a dozen. He also understands and handles the technology to support the students’ musical wishes with such ease. What dedication to promoting the students’ desire to learn. Producing the show and practicing all those songs must have taken hours and hours. And have you heard the man sing? Just ask him, maybe he’ll share a song with you. We are so fortunate to have Mr. Diaz at Kids Rock Free, we have only begun to see the fruits of his work with our kids.
Though most of the audience grabbed seats closest to the stage, I had the best seat in the house at the very rear of the room where I witnessed time and again how returning performers melted in the most welcoming bear hugs from loved ones. One young man was enveloped by his mother and then quickly surrounded by more men, women and young siblings or cousins than I could count. His STAR-maker machinery is on overdrive, what a lucky young man!
Our students showed us anything worth doing is worth doing well and that is something that deserves supporting. Thank you all for your ongoing participation and support to keep a song in the hearts of all our students.
My name is Vicki Woods, and I’ve worked at Kids Rock Free® for eight years.
I think my favorite thing about working here is that I love watching the kids grow, both in talent and inches. I just step back sometimes and marvel as I watch life unfold before my eyes.
Sometimes I look at a class that is really getting into a song, and I remember how some of them struggled at first. I remember a kid’s “light-bulb moment.” It’s great when they finally get it, how to do something on their own. Unfortunately, a teacher’s job is to work herself out of a job: that’s when a student takes the knowledge and runs with it. When they find their own voice, and mature into a true artist.
I love working for Kids Rock Free because we help instill good habits that apply to all aspects of life. Practice, persistence, determination, problem solving, are all things that music education brings. We also help kids find, within themselves, the optimism and confidence that they really do have the ability and the drive to learn.
I also try to show them how to practice efficiently, spending less time but accomplishing better results. This can be applied to homework habits, and scheduling chores to take less time. That will leave more time for fun!
Just before the holidays I overheard a couple of students chatting here at KRF on their way home. The boy was bemoaning making the same mistake over and over and his sister, who couldn’t have been more than eleven, turned to her brother and quoted Batman Begins:
Sandy* was right, getting over mistakes just takes practice. Putting in hard work really makes a difference. You can listen to the latest recordings from our KRF Band: Cutting Edge
We don’t just need to learn a task in order to perform it well; we need to overlearn it. Decades of research have shown that superior performance requires practicing beyond the point of mastery. The perfect execution of a piano sonata … doesn’t mark the end of practice; it signals that the crucial part of the session is just getting underway.
Over-Practicing Makes Perfect | TIME
Help our kids practice, by sharing the gift of music!
*names have been changed 🙂
I’m Kayla LaMaster and I’ve been involved with Kids Rock Free® almost my whole life. I took piano lessons when I was nine years old before the current Fender® Center was built. The lessons were in a small house. My sister worked here before me, and I have worked here for almost three and a half years.
I think this gives me a unique experience, because I grew up at KRF and now I’m watching other kids grow up in the KRF family too!
Watching kids grow in the program is actually amazing. I think about some students that were in middle school when I started working here are now in high school and learning to drive. They go from being really shy to acting like real hams. Even students show differences from their first session to a second.
When students learn how to read music they are learning a foreign language. Research has proven that learning music improves a child’s grades in school. I do however truly believe Kids Rock Free goes beyond learning how to play music. I remember a student who was very shy and would barely say anything to anyone. He was involved in a band, which he loved, but was still very quiet. After two years he is so different! He says hello every time he comes into the building for class or band rehearsal. He talks and hangs out with his band mates. And best of all, he really rocks the piano.
In my estimation the confidence that comes from performing and the self-esteem building has a huge impact. It had a big impact on me, and on the kids I’ve gotten to know here.
Hi everyone, I’m Diana Conenna, Education Coordinator at KRF. I’ve been involved with Kids Rock Free® for seven years, since 2007.
I wanted to come onto our new blog and talk a bit about KRF and my personal experience here so that people can really see into our organization and everything new that’s going on right now.
My favorite thing about working here is to see the growth in the kids, to see how much they learn. They start off fragile beginners, and grow into their strength like trees. It’s amazing seeing their physical growth, watching little babies come in, in our Piano classes we allow students as young as five years old, and we get to see them follow through the program until the age of 17. That’s a physical transformation, but we also get to see them really spread their wings musically. Some kids don’t know their right from their left when they get here, and when they graduate they have the confidence of a true rockstar on stage.
I also love that we’re a nonprofit. Everything we do goes to something important. I feel good about myself in my position, because I know that the people I’m really working for are our kids. I feel personally blessed here, it’s given me even more than I’ve given to it.
This is KRF’s first profile series; stay tuned for part two.