By: Dawn Duncan
Following our cover shoot with Little Kids Rock students Eddie, Scout, and Pelé, I had a few minutes to visit with our models about their experience in the LKR program, their plans for the future, and what they think of the current music scene.
Remarkably, these kids, while only 10-11 years old, had quite a bit to say about what the future may look like for them and this conversation was yet another reminder that kids are a lot more dialed in than we sometimes realize. They also think a great deal about what comes after high school, something that seems to be a common theme for today’s kids versus perhaps older generations. Personally, when I was 11, I wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer, a singer, an actress, a teacher, a writer, AND a doctor, so…….I think they are a bit more on track as far as being organized in their planning.
Eddie, the LKR drummer on our cover, talked about how he is a bit concerned that electronics may one day replace traditional drums on stage. “People like electronic music and this might replace drumming,” he said. Although he did not seem bothered too much by this idea, he definitely stressed that he loves drumming in a traditional sense, with a kit, and hitting the drums hard. He loves to be on stage and perform and we learned that his parents are involved in acting, so he has the stage chops in his blood. “I love Little Kids Rock because I get to be with other kids who are like me and we learn fun songs, perform together. And Miss Sparks is really awesome. She has fun with us in class and we learn a lot.” Eddie, along with Scout, listed The Piano Guys as a main influence in his current music career.
Scout, 11, is a rock guitarist and a very outgoing, talkative kid. He loves performing and being in front of an audience. I went out on a limb and asked Scout what I thought was a really “big” question regarding the current climate of music. I asked, “You probably know about streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, and that type of thing, right?” “Right, yes,” Scout commented. “So, given what you know about those, what do you think these streaming services will do to the future of music and the careers of musicians?” And here is where I was caught off guard. Scout looked me square in the eyes and said, “I think it will affect musicians and their ability to make money. If people get music for free, maybe they will not pay as much to get music.” And there we have a response that adults would most likely offer. He gets it—-these kids get it. They seem to understand that they are growing up in a time when the entire music game is yet again shifting, changing. It’s not just the time of music going from cassettes to CD’s. These kids are experiencing an environment where what they dream of doing for a living is now peppered with a tremendous amount of business, and new types of risk. Nevertheless, all three kids want to pursue music as their career, along with finishing college.
Pelé, our keys player on the cover, talked about her love of playing and also of acting. She loves pop and country music and being in Little Kids Rock. “It’s a lot of fun. We learn a lot of cool songs and we get to perform things we know from the radio. Right now, we are starting to learn Weird Al’s song “Eat It.” We laugh a lot and Miss Sparks is a fun teacher. She’s silly!”
The future is so bright for these kids and talking to them was a refreshing dose of enthusiasm and happiness that we can sometimes lose sight of in the music industry because of all of the ups, downs, and changes it experiences. These kids express nothing but joy when it comes to music and they’re eager to learn and perform.
If you are interested in learning more about Little Kids Rock, visit littlekidsrock.org and consider donating to your local schools that offer the program.