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