Robin Thicke knows a few things about succeeding young. He taught himself to play piano at 12. At 16, he was writing and producing songs for top R&B artists. By 21, he had written and produced more than 20 gold and platinum albums. At the starting line of that climb to the entertainment world’s summit was one very important thing: access to the tools that allowed him to make music.
On Wednesday, Thicke, in partnership with VH1 Save The Music and our companywide social responsibility umbrella Viacommunity, helped lock down that same opportunity for the youngsters at Long Island’s East Quogue Elementary School with a $10,000 donation to purchase a new piano.
“The elastic bands, the tape, the Band-Aids and the prayers that have been holding together our piano at our school seemed to challenge my confidence every year to see if they’re going to last through another concert, another talent show performance, another kindergarten graduation ceremony, and of course, another drama club musical,” said East Quogue music director Penny Russo. “Thankfully, because of the generosity of Robin Thicke, VH1 and Viacom, I can begin my school year next week with one less worry and with a lot of joy.”
Thicke, who has acted as a Save The Music Ambassador for two years, presented the check at a special concert for a group of East Quogue third and fourth graders and their parents at Viacom’s global headquarters in Times Square. Viacom employees also joined, streaming down the elevators to catch the show, which included performances of Thicke’s singles Magic and Dreamworld.
“As a 12-year-old kid, music was always the way I was going through anything if I was having trouble with family or trouble with school, and anything socially that I was going through, or if I felt insecure I could always go to the piano to get my feelings out,” said Thicke as he paused between songs. “So it’s really a wonderful thing VH1 Save The Music does to make sure kids have that opportunity to create and to do something with their hearts and their souls and their creativity.”
This was the second event in the Viacommunity Save The Music Moments concert series, following a show earlier this year by up-and-comers Belmont Lights.
“Studies have shown that music inside of the classroom has an incredibly powerful impact,” said VH1 General Manager Chris McCarthy, who also serves as chairman of Save The Music’s board of directors. “It not only makes students feel better and have better self-esteem, but also has a measurable impact on their actual grades. And that’s the reason the Save The Music Foundation was created – to keep music in the classrooms in our great country, and we’ve helped do that in about 2,000 schools across the country impacting about 2.5 million students.”
For the students of East Quogue, the chance to see an accomplished musician perform for them live provided inspiration for their own dreams. “It was so cool to see Robin Thicke live,” said Ali Jedlicka, an 11-year old going into sixth grade at East Quogue who has been playing piano since kindergarten. “I was inspired to play the piano even more because of him. I can’t wait to really try this new piano out.”