The seeds of Keys To Achievement Foundation were planted in 1999 when founder David Arden undertook a community service project by launching an early-years piano instruction program for the Whitney Young Child Development Center in the Bay View/Hunter’s Point district of San Francisco. The program brought the joy and enrichment of piano playing and music-making to preschool-age children who normally would never have had such an opportunity.

The Whitney Young program was a musical success, culminating in an end-of-school-year recital. However, it became clear that the core one-on-one instructional format could not be sustained for the rapidly increasing student base that would ensue, nor allow for expansion to reach other children in other locations. Another keyboard instruction model needed to be found.

Besides the typical, and ideal, one-on-one instructional format, there are two other possible approaches: group lessons and computer/ interactive software systems. The group lesson method, which accommodates a large number of students (usually 15-25) receiving instruction from one instructor at the same time (either monitoring from a master console or roaming through the room), makes efficient use of expense, time and space resources. However, although this approach can often be successful with older students, it is an ineffective way to teach young children, who become easily distracted and need more immediate feedback and individual attention.

With the computer/interactive software method, the computer in essence assumes the role of private teacher. Students can be continuously engaged and receive immediate performance feedback and assistance. They are also able to progress at their own natural pace. However, no software has been available that is appropriate for an early-age beginner.

From this search for a way to reach all children effectively and cost-efficiently, Keys To Achievement Foundation was born.

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