The School of Rock is a performance based music instruction organization. They are nationwide. Kids (and adults!) take lessons on the core rock instruments; guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals. The typical student also signs up for one of their semester “shows”. For example, this winter’s choices at the Fairfield, CT location are Radiohead, Alman Brothers vs. Lynard Skynard, The Beatles Sgt. Peppers album show, best of Bowie, SoCal 4, New Wave, and Rocket Man vs. Piano Man. Each show is geared toward all different levels of ability from beginner to advanced. The advanced shows are designed to challenge students with new and complex concepts, rhythms, harmonies, etc. Some of the more recent advanced shows have been Rush, Yes, and the music of Frank Zappa…
The School of Rock also delves into other types of music. It’s not just classic rock and roll. This past list of shows included Michael Jackson, U2, Coldplay, and Dave Grohl. They also do One Hit Wonders, Women of Rock and other shows. One of the more interesting performance was the “Nothing but the Blues” show. This particular show played at Stage One in Fairfield, CT and featured old and new blues songs. It was an excellent show and reknowned drumer Carmine Appice was on hand to play a couple of songs with the kids.
When a kid enrolls in the School of Rock they basically sign up for a 45 minute lesson each week along with a three hour rehearsal with the other kids in their show. Each kid is assigned 4 or 5 songs to learn with other kids. An adult music director is assigned to each show to help guide the kids through their songs concentrating on teamwork, timing, tempo, and stage performance. The instructor in the respective lessons works on the individual parts that the kids must learn. This goes on for a good four months and culminates in a performance at a local venue on two different days. If you ever go to a performance be sure you get there early as the seats fill up fast.
Then it gets interesting. At each show the music director and other instructors decide which two songs were the best at each show. Those two songs compete with the other best two songs in the other shows to represent that school at an area competition. In this case the Fairfield School of Rock battled it out with the School of Rock from Shelton, CT and New Canaan, CT.
From there about an hours worth of music is chosen as “the best” to represent the county in a tri-state competition in New York City at the famous Highline Ballroom. School’s from Westchester, NY, Chatam, NJ, and New York, NY are represented for the ultimate school winner. I went to one of these performances and was blown away. I didn’t have a camera then so I didn’t take any pictures. But the music was absolutely amazing. The kids are very talented.
That’s not all….at the Fairfield School of Rock they have what they call a “House Band”. This house band is comprised of the “all stars”, if you will, of the school. They rehearse independently of the various shows that the kids are in and play a variety of songs. They are active in playing various venues throughout the year as a way to help promote the school and the fun music education that the kids end up getting. If you ever have the chance to see the House Band (or any School of Rock performance) I highly recommend it. These kids are truly talented and play some really great music.
Stop by the Fairfield School of Rock any day and you’ll see and feel the energetic vibe and buzz of kids and rock music. Needless to say I am a big supporter of the School of Rock and would highly recommend it as a school for kids of any age and ability who want to learn an instrument and, most importantly, learn how to Rock!