A Conversation with David Wish of Little Kids Rock

david wish 1by Christian Williams, UTNE Reader: http://www.utne.com

David Wish is the founder and executive director of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides music education for students in disadvantaged public schools. 
 
Since 2002, Little Kids Rock has provided meaningful music education to more than 200,000 students nationwide thanks to the support of teachers, volunteers, and music icons such as B.B. King and Paul Simon.
 
David Wish is a 2012 Utne Visionary; below is our email interview with Wish from September 2012.

Christian Williams: Where were you teaching when you decided to start the after-school lessons and develop the program?
 
David Wish: I was a first-grade teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and was very upset that my students were not receiving music education. So I took matters into my own hands and started giving free classes after school for my class. More and more kids wanted to get in on the fun so I kept offering more and more classes.

It got to the point where I had to start turning kids away which broke my heart. So that's when I started reaching out to other teachers I knew to enlist their help. Not only did I no longer need to turn kids away, I found their were tons of teachers who wanted to help.

CW: Little Kids Rock has been around for 10 years now. Did you expect this kind of longevity and success when you started?

DW: Time flies when you are having fun! I really can't believe that ten years have passed. I have never pursued success; I have pursued fulfillment. It brings me such joy and satisfaction to watch a young person's life transformed by music. That's where I still keep my focus: reaching kids and making a difference in their lives. That's something we can all do every day of our lives: do something for other people. I don't expect success, I expect impact.

CW: What were your initial goals or measures for success in the beginning?

DW: When I first started, I just wanted to bring music into the lives of thirty first graders. That seemed a big enough goal. Then my goal became reaching another group of thirty, then another. I could see the impact immediately in the way the kids carried themselves, the ways that they expressed themselves and the ways that they connected to school.

That's what motivated me. Today, in year 10, over 1,300 public school teachers have decided that they feel the same way and have brought Little Kids Rock programming to over 200,000 kids.

Read more: http://www.utne.com/arts-culture/conversation-with-david-wish.aspx#ixzz2Ajr8DwYw
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