We teamed up with the Little Kids Rock organization, longtime Ernie Ball band Avenged Sevenfold, and our industry friend Schecter Guitars to surprise the students at Eliot Arts Magnet Academy by unveiling brand new Ernie Ball gear and and a selection of Schecter instruments. Little Kids Rock aims to transform lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in schools across the United States. Since their inception in 2002, the organization has reached more than 850,000 students with highly-inclusive and culturally relevant music education. The students were able to spend the day with Avenged Sevenfold and learn more about their journey in the music industry, answer questions, and of course, make some music together.
Eliot Arts’ teachers connect traditional subjects with real world experience using an arts-integrated approach. Rather than teaching core classes in isolation, students learn math, science, social studies and English through arts-infused demonstrations and performance tasks, such as music. These kids are seriously talented, and we can’t wait to see what they bring to the future of music.
Students at Eliot were provided with a selection of brand new instruments from Schecter and one-of-a-kind Avenged Sevenfold backpacks, filled with Ernie Ball strings, picks, stickers, straps, and a t-shirt.
Hear from Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold about the event:
EB: It is national music in schools month, how long has A7X supported Music programs in our schools?
SG: To be honest we haven’t really participated directly with music programs before. We’ve donated instruments and other items but these were some of the first “field trip” experiences we’ve had and they were incredible!
EB: Did the band take band class when they were in school?
SG: We all took guitar class and I played trumpet, drums, and guitar in Jazz and Marching Band.
EB: Do you have a music teacher that was an influence?
SG: My father was by far the most influential and inspiring musical figure in my life. Still is actually. He’s played professionally for some of the biggest names there are like Frank Zappa and Jeff Dunham.
EB: How did he inspire or motivate you to play music professionally?
SG: He just helped facilitate whatever I wanted to accomplish from learning “[Stairway to Heaven]” and “Black Dog,” to picking up and dropping off all my band mates from rehearsal at my house when I was in high school. By the way… we were a Tower of Power cover band with a huge horn section so the pick ups and drop offs were no small feat.
EB: It’s awesome that you are using your success as an opportunity to give back, is this something you have done before?
SG: Absolutely! We love working with the Make a Wish and Fuck Cancer foundations and do so at just about every show we play.
EB: Can you talk about your musical partners? What are the brands that support you and this cause?
SG: These have been extra special experiences for the kids because of our friends like you at Ernie Ball along with other dear friends like the great people at Schecter Guitars, Black Craft Cult, and the late and great, Jim Dunlop. So sad to have lost Jim this year, he was a true innovator and legend.
EB: It’s great that both A7X and Ernie Ball both support the Little Kids Rock organization, what is it about LKR that made you want to partner on this event?
SG: They truly have their shit together. It blew my mind that these 11 and 12 year old kids could all play songs like “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “In The End,” and “Starlight,” and extremely well. It just shows you the amount of thought, time, and energy they put into this program.
EB: Do you have any advice for students in school music programs?
SG: Truly follow your heart. Your art has to touch and move you deeply or it won’t for anyone else. Pay attention to the business around your craft. Find out what it entails to be a manager, booking agent, and even a lawyer and beyond. Also, never ever stop asking questions!
About Little Kids Rock
Little Kids Rock transforms lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in our schools. The organizations network of thousands of K-12 teachers across 45 states leads a national movement that brings innovative and inclusive music education to students.
Using rock, pop, Latin, and rap, Little Kids Rock programs empower teachers to build music programs as diverse as the kids they serve. Students see themselves reflected in their classes, which strengthens their connection to their school, their peers, and their community.
Little Kids Rock also donates necessary instruments, and curriculum, meeting a key need of many school music programs. The world of music expands through innovation: Little Kids Rock ensures that music education does as well.
More than 500,000 kids currently participate in Little Kids Rock programs nationwide. Every dollar donated to Little Kids Rock helps support bringing more music to more kids. $100 places an instrument into a classroom, and $5,000 will launch a school music program that will serve hundreds of students for many years. The organization aims to reach the 1,000,000th kid in its history this year. Learn more at http://www.littlekidsrock.org