Tag Archives: KRF

Won’t you be my Valentine?


The Kids Rock Free® (KRF) School of Music Fender® Benders, Cutting Edge, and No Surrender (student bands) always say yes. This year they continue their friendship for a repeat performance for some very special youth.  This holiday weekend they will be performing for survivors of fire at the Fire & Burn Foundation’s Winter Camp. This is a unique camp that serves as the hallmark of a burn survivor program and takes places in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Beyond the Scars Camp provides a relaxed social setting offering burn-injured children the support and counseling needed to re-establish and enhance their self-esteem.  Campers discover that they are not alone—that there are other children out there learning to live with burn injury. They also get a chance to just have fun in this great natural setting.  Burn Camp is a unique, positive experience for these children where they can be themselves, share common ground with others and make new friends in a nurturing environment (FireandBurn.org).

KRF believes that sharing music is vital and what better way than for kids to engage with kids. Empathy is a learned response, and making friends around music is a beautiful way to grow our compassion. Whatever our differences, we can all agree that everyone loves music. Music doesn’t just excite us, it touches our hearts. Without even using words, music can let us know we are not alone.  You can be sure that all will be rockin’ to the tunes played by KRF’s student bands on Feb. 15, 2014 at 6 p.m.  Lee Zimmer, guitar and band instructor, will direct all members. The parents of these high school performers will play the role of the roadies.

The nonprofit Kids Rock Free School of Music in Corona, CA provides free and low-cost music lessons to kids ages 7 – 17.  Advanced students perform in bands in the community and at the school’s two concert venues.  KRF has taught over 15,000 kids in over 15 years in guitar, keyboard, drums, bass and voice.  Generous supporters that keep the kids rockin’ include Lucas Oil Corp., Riverside County EDA, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and many, many more music fans.

KRF Profiles – Pam Hogan

Pam Hogan

Hello, I’m Pam Hogan, the Executive Director for Kids Rock Free. I’ve been involved with KRF for the last five years. Two were spent as an outside consultant writing grants and helping to build support campaigns for KRF. Then the last two as the director.

My favorite thing about working here is being able to listen to the kids playing from my office . I get to watch them walk in with instruments larger than they are, and then visibly grow into those same instruments. I love the enjoyment I see in their eyes and the exuberance they express in making music.

Watching young people grow is really an amazing thing to behold, you get to see them really extend themselves beyond their own person. Very young children are naturally very tuned to themselves, but as they develop they begin to have a keen awareness of culture, art, and their community.

Helping to foster that connection to others is wonderful. Particularly after we have guided them, seeing them change and then watching them guide others. I get to see them share their enthusiasm and inspire younger siblings or friends, acting themselves, as mentors. As an onlooker, it’s thrilling to see camaraderie blossoming. I wish I could download the memories I have of them.

While the research says music has a positive impact on math and on reasoning; we can’t see that directly. But what we do see is the effect on their self-pride, their confidence.

I think that with all the emphasis on group work in school, and in the business world—that camaraderie, mentorship, and the feeling of harmony builds individuals who literally know how to play well with others.

That’s something we definitely see and celebrate.


KRF Profiles – Henry Rodriguez

photo 2Hi there, I’m Henry Rodriguez, I’m the drum teacher at Kids Rock Free. I’ve been involved since 2002, when the Fender Museum first opened. I left in 2005, but then returned in 2008. I just couldn’t stay away!

I think KRF is a really upbeat and positive environment. All the instructors are talented and knowledgeable and I love working with all of them. Not only are my colleagues great, but I think we’re all very productive together. We’ve established our curriculums in symmetry, but then we also have freedom to work with kids individually, and we get to play outside the box.

As a teacher that’s really important to me, because some kids don’t respond to curriculum right away. Our size, and our structure is such that I can be creative. I want them to learn, but I want them to have fun too. Sometimes I’ll create a competitive environment in the classroom, the kids get all fired up and want to outdo each other, the next thing we know we’re breezing through the supplement book and we’re ready to move on to the next phase. Getting through the early process of learning, so that they can experience the joy of actually having knowledge can be profound.

I personally document and video my students’ performances, so that they can see themselves growing in mastery. That gives them motivation to play on bigger stages. We have many talented kids that show the promise and will now have the opportunity to go really far. That realization that they really have learned. That’s awesome.

We can’t force kids to learn, but we can create an environment of opportunity. We get to create an experience that’s custom made for each kid. That makes them more likely to stick it out through the tough parts. Kids quickly become passionate—we create a place for them to learn passion.

Learning to Rock

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 🙂