I first got involved with the S.C.O.R.E. program four years ago when JoAnn (our Project Coordinator) saw me open for David Lee Roth and Van Halen. She knew that I'd been involved in music for quite a while and after the show she asked me if I wanted to come down to the program and teach. It sounded interesting and I thought I'd take a chance.
Teaching music to the kids in the program is as fulfilling as opening for a major act, which I still do. I still tour and play and open for major acts, but now I also teach at the S.C.O.R.E. program. It's great to see the kids keep coming back and to see how much they're enjoying learning to play instruments and to see how much their lives change when they get into music. Some of the kids have even asked for instruments for their birthdays or Christmas, so that they can practice at home.
I've been a musician all my life and even had a semi-hit record in the '70s. I would have never dreamed about being a teacher, but now I'm at the program all the time. I don't want to miss a day and the experience has made me a better parent and a better person. It's really easy to get caught up in being a rock star and working with kids reminds me of how important the 'little things' can be.
When I first started working at S.C.O.R.E., I was working in a class with kids who were all Spanish-speakers. I had 20 kids and 15 guitars and I thought, "what am I going to do to keep them busy?" I decided to have them teach me Spanish and I'd teach them to play a Spanish word for a guitar chord. They learned a lot and it helped me get to know the kids better. Some of the younger kids who were in that class are still coming back and they're at the program all the time. Some of the older students still stop by to say hello and check out class. It's so fulfilling to see that.
I have to say that the program directors at S.C.O.R.E. have been incredibly supportive of me and these kids. They are always checking in and making sure that I have everything I need to do the best job possible of teaching my kids. I'm told that they're able to run the successful program we have because of our 21st Century Community Learning Center federal grant, so we're all advocating every chance we get to keep the funds available to the kids who are thriving because of it.