MONTVALE, N.J. -- Keith Hejna, who grew up in Montvale, always had a passion for music, but was too intimidated, like many adults are, to attempt to learn a new instrument.
With his job as Communications Officer at Little Kids Rock, a national non-profit which aims to restore and revitalize music education in public schools by providing musical instruments and an innovative Modern Band music education curriculum, he not only found his inner musician -- he now plays guitar and harmonica -- he has a whole new appreciation for the craft.
Since 2002, the Verona-based organization has given more than 400,000 underserved schoolchildren across the U.S. access to fun, engaging music classes and brand new instruments at no cost to the students, teachers, or school districts.
And that includes six Paterson public schools which launched programs this past year. Those schools include the Academy of Health Science, John P. Holland Charter School, Paterson Public School 20, Paterson School 6, Paterson School 7 and YES Academy.
"We do more than just donate instruments like guitars, drums and keyboards," said Hejna. "We build lasting music programs that focus on teaching kids to perform, improvise and compose the popular music genres that they already know and love, like rock, pop, blues, hip-hop, country, reggae and R&B.
"For just $25, Little Kids Rock can serve another child with a year of free music education, and for just $5,000, we can launch a sustainable and long-lasting music program in a school. It is incredible how far a donor's dollar can go."
To learn more or to support Little Kids Rock, visit www.littlekidsrock.org/ .
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