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December 10th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

It's Time for Kids in America to Rock Out!

found2My ears are still ringing from the jam session we had in the studio for last Thursday’s show. You would think I’d be used to it by now, after raising our very own rocker dude, our youngest son, Jordan. He can wail now, but boy, oh boy, those early years were rough! Ha! Jordan, I kid. I kid! (Sort of.)

I had such a great time with our amazing musical guests to kick off The Dr. Phil Foundation’s new music program called “Little Kids Rock Across America“, and man, they ROCKED. I’ve always said that parents need to encourage their children’s passions, and for some, that passion is music.

Not every kid is just a good student or athlete. For some, it’s music that can be a great way to enhance his or her self-esteem and help keep them out of trouble — “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” and all that. I really believe that when some children get to a certain age, they really want to feel like they belong to something, or at least have an identity that distinguishes them from being just a face in the crowd. 

I’d much rather that the something they belong to, be something constructive, like a band or a choir, and not a gang or a group of druggies. But when those choices are all that are available because music programs have been stripped from the budget, then bad choices get made. I would sure rather they choose a guitar over a gun, which is why the emphasis of Little Kids Rock Across America is on giving kids a chance to learn music and join or create a rock band. Music and teamwork! Now that is music to my ears!

The LKRAA project sponsored by The Dr. Phil Foundation will help revitalize music programs in schools in 10 cities across the country. That means about 25,000 under-served middle school kids will receive free instruments and no-cost lessons in genres like rock, blues and hip-hop. And the hope is that, with your support, we will be adding more cities in the future. How cool is that?

David Wish, the founder of the Little Kids Rock organization, has been so great in helping our Foundation get busy with this exciting program in the 10 cities we are starting to develop. David is a man of great passion and talent.

found1I think you’ll be amazed by how talented these young musicians are. Their confidence just blew me away. They looked right at home jamming with some guys that are … let’s just say a little further down the music highway than they are, like my son, Jordan, Mike Einziger from Incubus, Zack Merrick from All Time Low and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. May as well inspire them with the best of the best!

I’m also proud that Jordan will serve as the Foundation’s ambassador for the LKRAA program, and with our sponsors, supporting musicians and schools, working to put music into the lives of children who need it most.

“It’s wonderful to find what you love at an early age,” Chad told the kids and joked, “That’s what happened to me when I was 7, and I’m 92 now!”

To check out the performances, hear from Jordan, Mike, Zach and Chad and learn how you can help support the cause, click here!

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22 Responses to “It's Time for Kids in America to Rock Out!”

  1. Kudos to y’all Dr. Phil, Jordan (Abassador of LKRAA) et al. “Little Kids Rock Across America“ is an excellent idea. So many musical instruments end up in the landfill so, perhaps, there could be musical instrument drives. As well, a program in schools for tuning and refurbishing instruments. I have a repadded vintage clarinet y’all can have. Just call or email me. You are so right that music lessons/programs can steer persons onto the right path of positive pass times. Sincerely, SEA

  2. Dr. Phil, here’s my email to email me if y’all want my repadded vintage clarinet.


    Remember the 12 jurors after Perry Mason as many who email me forget 12.

    All the best to Ambassador of “Little Kids Rock Across America“ LKRAA, Jordan McGraw, et al in this fabulous endeavor.

    Ms. Stephenson

  3. Joyce says:

    What a cruel comment to make….
    They may not be growing up as healthy, smart and kind as you think if you show that kind of attitude around them…

  4. Thanks for the post, Dr. Phil!

    My kids sing and play several instruments. They’ve been rocking around the Christmas tree since Thanksgiving! :)

    Music rocks, and so do you! Blessing on you and your beautiful family! Meeerrrry Christ-mas!!!

  5. FosterBoys says:


    It’s the truth. Go volunteer at your child’s school. See for yourself the disrespect, apathy, cruelty, & violence.

    Sure, you’ll see some good there too, but the bad stuff will make you want to cry.

  6. Robin Davis says:

    Ironic that the founder of this org. has the last name Wish!! LOL Just kidding!! My son is 15 & can somewhat play guitar. I was planning to get him another one for x-mas. He enjoys it very much. I’m like u I’d rather see kids like this in a band rather than a gang. I just feel for the kids in other school systems that dump music because of budget cuts!! Did you know that Adam Lambert is part of an org. to keep the arts in schools? I support “any” org. fighting to do so. I hope that all of these org.’s succeed in thier mission to keep the arts in schools. Kudos to Jordan & the other guys that are a part of this!!

  7. Jo-Anne Morin says:

    That was a great show, especially for the children, you could see in their faces how proud they were to be there. I am so happy someone has taken an interest in this art. As you said many people can’t play sports so this gives them a great outlet to express themselves. Great going…….

  8. Fleur says:

    My mom never liked my music and so never let me play it! Though literature is much more a passion for me than music.

    Oh, well. Glad everyone had a great time.

  9. Joyce says:

    I have no doubt about the cruelty and violence and all that.. I may have jumped to the wrong conclusion when reading your post, thought you were being mean and hateful in reference to Dr Phil.. My apologies on that one..
    But I really do get the point… My 2 grandsons are harassed and bullied constantly on the school bus and no matter how many times we report it nothing is done to stop it… At the beginning of the year the bus driver made them both sit under a leaky air conditioner and one was totally soaked when he got off the bus, the other one was a little wet but not as bad..
    So yes there is way too much violence, disrespect and all that in the schools and people just willing to turn a blind eye and let it go on.

    Please accept my apology once again for taking your comment the wrong way.

  10. Barb Strom says:

    Hello my name is Barb and my husband and I live in Montana. In the state of Minnesota we have a grandson Jordan who is now 18. Jordan holds a very special place in my/our hearts as he came to our family blind. Over the last 18 years Jordan has been main streamed through school. He taught the school district that he is simply blind. Jordan’s passion for music is ongoing, it is an ongoing dream. He does the drums along with the keyboard and amazes those who see and hear him. Jordan is self taught. He has had piano training but the drums and the beats are in his soul. When I saw the show about: Little Kids Rock Across America and the fact you will be in Minneapolis I came to the computer to share the story (short version) of our fantastic grandson. I hope to hear from you you would too be amazed at his talent, he needs nurturing and mentoring and what better place than the Dr. Phil Foundation.

  11. Sandra says:

    “Idle hands are the devils workshop and all that” lol

  12. FosterBoys says:

    Thanks Joyce,

    I’m glad you said something. I like Dr. Phil’s kids. I meant no disrespect to them.

  13. Elin says:

    Hello Dr.Phil!
    You don’t have to post this because it hasn’t enything to do with your blogg!…
    I wrote one time ago that I wanted to write you a letter even if I live in Norway.
    I still think about it!….but it seems that I will get help here where I live now!!
    I just get wors and I feel I am on my way downhill…..but anyway….I should wish I lived in USA so I could ask you for help! I just have to be a little bit shelfish and get treatment so I can be the mother I want to be again….And find back to myself..being the artist that I have been hiding for a long time now! Paint and draw is what makes me happy!
    ..I think I write you a letter …….:)

  14. Music can help children to navigate through life. When others fail them, gifted children always have their music as a comfort. Many genius-level children direct their innate gifts into music, with astonishing results.

    It is to be hoped that more schools will cater to students with special gifts, so that these students can develop their potential.

  15. Debbie says:

    Good idea. Nice for the kids. But what about classical music? There have been many people who have used their musical talents to pull themselves out of poverty, and who were “discovered” by a choir or band director. Sometimes discovery does not happen until college, (such as the operatic tenor Stanford Olsen and Princeton University composer Steve Mackey) but not everyone can afford to go to college, and when it comes to learning a musical instrument, in most cases it requires many years of practice, beginning in childhood.

  16. Kate Melcher says:

    Thank you Dr. Phil for this insightful blog. I truly believe music is healing for children, and we should put more focus on this gift we have been given.
    My son is nine years old, and he has received an abundance of love from myself, his step-dad, and grandparents. All of the love in the world would not penetrate the wall of anger he erected.
    His father, and I split when he was two, we did the customary court custody proceedings, and I did get full custody, and his dad got visitation every other weekend….splitting holiday’s etc. His father had his issues, as we all do, but never did I believe Preston was feeling a lack of love from his Dad. It started with an out of place tantrum, and some tears. It took quite a while for his Step-dad, and I to get to the root of his change in behavior. It came out one evening…all in a jumble of words. He told me he believed his father did not love, or care about him. We told him over, and over again how that was wrong…his father loves him, and cares very much. All our words fell on deaf ears. He became withdrawn, and seemingly depressed. The only time I saw him crack a true smile, was when he pulled out the guitar we had given him for Christmas. I suggested to him, that he make a list of things that made him feel good. We worked to think of everything that made him smile. Most of what was on that list, were musical instruments, and playing them.
    This affirmed my belief in the power of healing that music has. When it has such a profound effect on my young son’s feelings, I think that kids, and adults need something to believe in. Music takes away the hurt, and he is also doing an activity that will benefit his mind, body, and soul. I think it is so important to encourage children to explore their interests….music, or otherwise.
    We still struggle with the anger he has, and we want to get him therapy…Until we can find a therapist that will work for less money ( Insurance won’t cover, and we are on a limited income), music, a lot of love from us, listening ears, and will have to help. I will keep searching for a therapist, and I pray that my son can feel our love.
    Thank you Dr. Phil, we watch every show, and I love your blog! :)

  17. Tannis says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I am from Manitoba, Canada. I’m wondering if you know if we would have an organization like CASA up here or if it is only an American Organization?

  18. prefer anonymous says:

    I am a classical musician. My interest has been in classical music ever since I was a young child. I had a slight interest in rock in the 60’s, but that faded away. When I was a child, we watched Leonard Bernstein and Vladimir Horowitz on television. I don’t understand why, with so many TV channels available, classical music has been excluded from television. The few classical radio stations that remain play a watered down menu of waltzes, divertimentos and overtures and provide a completely false impression of the real classical literature. Local orchestra boards think that they will attract more listeners by watering down their programs. Their mediocre programming has driven away the base of real classical music lovers. Fortunately this is not so true in a place like Los Angeles, and you in Southern California have a new conductor. Oprah had Lang Lang on, but they had him playing a piece of virtuosity rather than a lyrical, intellectual or expressive composition. You never see a real opera on TV, but such programs could be very accessible with subtitles. The problem is the obliteration of our beautiful classical tradition by the mass media. One other coment – the Western culture is not the only culture that has beautiful classical music traditions. India and China, for example, have very fine traditions. It is a shame to see how Bollywood kitsch is weakening the Indian tradition. Asian classical music can have a very calming effect for mental health, like yoga.

  19. Lisa Burghardt says:

    I really enjoyed this show.

    I played the flute for 6 years. Music gave me confidence and kept me away from drugs.

    These children have the opportunity to give have something to do after school. This will also give them a chance to learn a skill to either join an orchestra or a rock band.

    Kudos to the “Little Kids Rock Across America” program.

  20. Gail says:

    Dr. Phil, I was pretty much awakened by your show tonight. The young man who committed suicide because of cyber bullying has my heart. My older brother was bullied from kindergarten through graduation and beyond. He is an alcoholic whose trek in life has been a hell hole of poor self esteem. If survival in a classroom and afterschool is your focus, how can you learn? As his younger sister, I have survivor syndrome. Life is just not fair. My heart goes out to those who are bullied today. If we had a GWB I am sure my brother would have jumped.

  21. Gail says:

    Bullying is worse today because it is so global. It may not feel worse to the victim, but at least the whole world didn’t know about it. Dr. Phil, thank you for exposing bullying for the evil that it is. When children are raised to do unto others, they don’t know what to do about bullying!

  22. JoEllen says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,

    Please, please, please consider expanding this much needed program to parochial schools as well. I grew up in in a working class neighborhood in the Bronx in NY. My parents struggled to send 3 kids to catholic elementary and secondary schools. We had an extremely bare bones music “program”. Once a week we sat in the gym while while the church organist played the piano and we sang songs.

    I am a teacher in a Catholic school, and I think, in these hard economic times, that this program would be beneficial to any or all schools.

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