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Stories From Main Street: NYC School Music Program To Get Help From Carnegie Hall Concert

New York City students with instruments (credit: Young Audiences New York)

New York City students with instruments (credit: Young Audiences New York)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Who knows? Maybe the next Prince could be a New York City student.

“A working instrument or a class in the school can be so inspiring for a kid and actually could keep them in school,” Michael Dorf, owner of the Knitting Factory and founder of City Winery, told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.

He’s also behind a benefit for music education programs – a March 7 concert at Carnegie Hall featuring the music of Prince with help from Elvis Costello, the Roots, D’Angelo, Betty Lavette, Sandra Bernhard, Blind Boys of Alabama, Maya Rudolph, Talib Kweli, and Madeleine Peyroux.

“In public school… after school programs and arts programs within the schools are usually the first things to get cut,” Dorf lamented.

One of the beneficiaries of the concert will be Young Audiences New York.

“While we may be teaching them to play an instrument or read a piece of music, we’re actually re-wiring their brain to make them smarter,” said Executive Director B.J. Adler. “Kids who study music create cognitive pathways in their brain that actually help them, not only in other subjects, but in making decisions in life and becoming better citizens.”

Percussionist Chacho Ramirez works with the organization and teaches music in Brooklyn and he has seen the profound impact that music can have on a student.

“We were literally playing on pots and pans and after five weeks, he came up to me and he ‘Mr. Chacho… I’ll never forget you as long as I live,’” Ramirez told Adams.

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street – Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

RELATED: More Stories From Main Street

He has also seen the connection between music and decisions.

“A little bit more disciplined, a little bit more about collaboration with each other, a little bit more about respect,” he said.

They played on pots and pans because so many instruments in schools are broken.

Dorf started a fund to fix them.

“It’s amazing the number of closets in a school that are filled with broken instruments,” he said.

“The repair costs are invaluable. They really help us out,” said high school music teacher Michael Sobel.

He said a student once said to him, “If it weren’t for this class here, I wouldn’t come to into school.”

“I’ve wanted to stay consistent to music education because it’s one of the programs that is so easily forgotten,” said Dorf, who is looking at doing benefit concerts to honor Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, or Led Zeppelin.

To attend the concert, click here.