Giving the Gift of Music…One Instrument at a Time.

Jake RubensteinWhen I think back to the house that I grew up in, not only was it filled with the chaos that 4 children and their friends bring to a home; it was also always filled with music. We had a small upright piano that my mother later upgraded to a baby grand. Starting at age 7, each of us took 2 years of piano and then we were allowed to move on to another instrument or continue with piano. My brother, Brian, learned to play violin, drums, acoustic guitar and electric guitar; he followed his passion for music and is now a classical pianist in Cleveland. My brother, Sean, added saxophone to his musical repertoire and my sister, Allison, added trumpet. God bless my mother who encouraged all of this because the learning curve is rough on the ears–especially with the drums and trumpet.

There was never a question of whether or not we could take music lessons. And for all the complaining that we did as kids about practicing, I look back and realize how fortunate we were to have parents that not only encouraged us to learn but that could afford it. A musical instrument is a huge investment that many cannot afford. Many children will never have the rewarding experience of making beautiful music in a quiet room.

Meet Jake Rubenstein. He wants to change that and we thought that his story and his idea were worth sharing.  At 13, Jake knows how fortunate he is to be able to pursue his passion for music. Jake is a gifted drummer and has been playing since he was 5. He also has a talent for the guitar. He has even played at a sound check on the stage at Madison Square Garden before a concert by the band Death Cab For Cutie.

Jake, a student at George Washington Middle School in Ridgewood, is celebrating his Bar Mitzvah this year. One way to celebrate this milestone is to choose a mitzvah, or good deed, to share with others.  Jake decided he would share his passion passion for music with children who would not ordinarily have such an opportunity. He decided to collect new or gently used instruments to support Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free instruments and music education to underserved public schools. Little Kids Rock has locations around NJ, CT and NY. Since 2002, they have given more than 400,000 underserved schoolchildren across the U.S. access to fun and engaging music classes, as well as, instruments atno cost to the students, teachers, or school districts.

“Music gives people an outlet to express themselves,” Jake explains. “I’m passionate about music and I want to help kids who may not have the same resources as I do,” he said.

Jake is collecting guitars, ukuleles, drum kits, basses or, as he puts it, “anything you’d see a rock band using.” To date, Jake, alone, has collected 3 guitars, 2 amps, 1 drum kit, 1 keyboard, 1 ukulele, 1 violin and 80 recorders! When I heard that last number I thought, wow, that is enough recorders to supply a few entire classes at a school!

CEO and Founder, David Wish told Tips, “At Little Kids Rock, we are dedicated to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to unlock their inner music maker. There are few things that are more inspiring then when another child devotes his or her time and efforts to help peers who are less fortunate. We are so grateful to Jake and his family for their support!”

So pull out that dusty recorder or unused ukulele and pass it on to someone who will give it a home, love and appreciate it! Don’t have any instruments? Consider giving a donation. Just $25 can sponsor weekly music lessons for a student for a year. $50 can provide ten sets of drum sticks!

To learn more about Little Kids Rock, visit Little Kids Rock!

Have a story that you’d like to share? Let us know:

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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