School of Rock

By: Annika Getz

School of Rock is a music education program founded roughly twenty years ago by Paul Green. Green says that the idea for the program came from an assignment he gave his students. He told them to do “jam sessions” over the weekend, and noticed that they improved greatly, just by practicing their instruments in a group. Green said, “Imagine being on a baseball team and never playing games. That’s what music education was like before School of Rock. You’d just practice.”

Since its founding, the program has spread greatly, with locations all across the world. There are over one hundred locations in the U.S. alone, and three in Minnesota.

There are multiple different main programs involved in the school. Little Wing is a group for kids ages 3-5. With one lesson a week, the kids learn foundational music skills such as rhythm, dynamics, melody, and song structure.

The next group up is Rookies. Rookies is for kids 6-7 years old. Composed of children with no previous musical training, Rookies meet once a week, and learn fundamentals like chords, rhythm, and song structure. They practice with multiple different instruments, and then decide which instrument they’d like to continue with in the next group up, Rock 101.

101 is composed of kids ages 8-13. Each student get’s one group lesson a week, and one private lesson with an instructor.

The next groups up are 201 and 301, which are more or less the same, but with more difficult songs. 301 groups are also themed, while 201 and 101 are typically not. 201 and 301 are also performance groups, with mid and end season shows.

House band is a group of kids under 18, who meet several times a week, and have frequent live shows in the community.

The AllStar summer tour is a nationwide two week long tour, with the best of the best from School of Rock locations all around the country. Less than 1% of students are selected for the tour, with the audition process including both video and live auditions. Those selected travel in a tour bus, and have nightly performances at famous venues, and festivals.

Online and adult programs are also available.

I’ve been in the 201 program for one season. While it hasn’t been very long, I’ve already learned more, and improved more, than I have for the first year I’ve played guitar. Playing in group band sessions is a fun and gratifying way to improve with your instrument, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable music program.

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