Usher and his Chattanooga-based arts education fund, along with Little Kids Rock, launch music programs in his hometown


Hamilton County Schools are expanding and innovating their music program with one of the city’s most remarkable citizens. Eight-time Grammy-winning music artist Usher and her Chattanooga-based community education fund Nancy Lackey are working with Little Kids Rock to bring their music education program to 19 schools across the city, which is already reaching thousands. Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Chattanooga.

“I am proud to support Little Kids Rock by bringing music education to children in my hometown,” Usher said. “I’ve had many conversations with teachers who have really found this way to really connect with kids by understanding their music; understanding what kind of music and cultures these children come from.

Officials said that as public school students return to in-person learning, many are struggling after suffering social and emotional trauma due to a long period of isolation from their peers. Music teachers become emotional first responders by providing a much needed creative outlet. However, music programs in underfunded school districts continue to struggle as music programs have been decimated.

Little Kids Rock is a nationally recognized nonprofit that has donated millions of dollars in musical instruments, trained thousands of music teachers and served over a million students from Kindergarten to 12th grade. year in 49 states since 2002. Their approach aims to help schools create music programs. that are culturally appropriate and relevant to their students.

“I started Little Kids Rock when I was a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and noticed that there weren’t enough resources for schools to have strong and engaging music programs. “said David Wish, CEO of Little Kids Rock. “I’m so inspired by Usher’s commitment to making an impact in his hometown, which nurtured his own musical debut.”

In 2019, Usher helped raise funds for Little Kids Rock to bring his nationally recognized music program to the city where he grew up. He joined Little Kids Rock at their annual benefit in New York City and has been joined by other musical luminaries and music education advocates including Wiz Khalifa, Warren Haynes, Steve Miller, Trombone Shorty and Jon Secada.

Building on the momentum of this event, Usher and Little Kids Rock set out to launch modern group music programs in Chattanooga in 2020, but plans have been delayed by COVID-19. In 2021, music teachers from Hamilton County schools participated in two virtual professional development training sessions, and they are already excited to expand their music programs and have their students perform in the community.

“I believe music brings us all together,” Usher said. “It ties everything together in a way that nothing else does. As a tool of expression, you learn the culture of the places you come from, and that becomes a pride.”

Hamilton County School Recipients: East Hamilton Middle School; Elementary Woodmore; Spring Creek Elementary School; Red Bank High School; Clifton Hills Elementary School; Normal School of Park Museum Magnet; Elementary rustic; Elementary of the Middle Valley; Hixson College; McConnell Elementary School; Lookout Mountain School; Wolftever Creek Elementary; Wallace A. Smith Primary; Hunter College; Ooltewah Middle School; Elementary of the Alpine ridge; Sale Creek Middle High; Soddy Daisy Middle School; Elementary Allen and Elementary Soddy.


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