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.

For more information, please visit:

5 most streamed artists of 2021 on Spotify

By: Mary Koch

On December 1, Spotify released their top 5 artists of 2021. Spotify has over 381 million listeners worldwide, so being on the list is a big accomplishment.

In 5th place was Justin Bieber with his album ‘Justice’ which he released on March 19, 2021. His song “Peaches” (feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon) had 925,549,910 streams as of December 1, 2021, and it’s his 2nd most played song on Spotify. “Ghost”, which has 171,459,836 streams is his 3rd most played song.

Drake is in 4th place with his album, ‘Certified Lover Boy’, which was released September 3, 2021. The song “Way 2 Sexy” (with Future & Young Thug) is his most popular song from the album, and overall, with 218,472,596 streams. His top 4 songs are all from ‘Certified Lover Boy’ which is interesting because he only released the album 2 months ago.

BTS is in 3rd with their single “Butter”. The song has 677,160,366 streams, and it was released June 4, 2021. It’s their 2nd most played song after “My Universe” which was released September 24, 2021 and has 257,570,191 streams.

In 2nd place is Taylor Swift with her album ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ which was released on November 12, 2021. She redid songs from her album ‘Red’ from 2012, other albums, and new songs. “All Too Well” (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) is her most popular song on Spotify right now. It was released less than a month ago and already has 93,107,823 streams.

Finally, in 1st place for the second year in a row, is Bad Bunny. He had over 9.1 billion streams this year, and he didn’t even release a new album. His most popular song right now is “Lo Siento BB:/” (with Bad Bunny, Julieta Venegas, and Tainy) which has 136,924,017 streams.

Music of the year/how COVID affected the music industry

By: Liv Miller

It’s known that music is a big part of today’s pop culture. With more and more new artists emerging, the music industry just keeps getting bigger.

In 2020 many artists were confined to their homes due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This sadly meant no concerts or meet-and-greets with fans, but it gave artists the opportunity to work on their own music more than ever.

Fast forward to 2021 many artists have now released new singles and albums with the time that they were given in quarantine. ‘The New York Times’ did an interview where they asked artists what they had achieved during the lockdown. Aaron Dessner, a musician and producer answered, Right as the quarantine started, I started writing so much music, and I had no idea what it was. There was no horizon line, there was a lot of uncertainty — so I just made a lot of music that I didn’t know what it was for.

So far this year many artists have released music that did great on the charts. Artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, lil Nas X, Kanye West, and many more have released very successful albums so far this year.

One of those artists, Olivia Rodrigo has had her album ‘Sour’ break many records like “The most songs in the top 10 at one time” and “Most streams of a song in a week” for her first single Drivers License.”

Olivia Rodrigo isn’t the only one breaking records in 2021. With his new album, ‘Certified Lover Boy,’ Drake has broken the 2021 record for “Most-streamed artist in a day on Apple Music.”

With some COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, artists are getting the opportunity to start performing again. Whether it be at festivals, award shows, or even rescheduled tours fans are happy to start seeing their favorite artists perform live again.

A.I. Generated Music Article Title

lil robot guys playing some trumpets from the Toyota Kaikan Museum in Nagoya, Japan Image taken from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/09/affordable-home-robots-james-dyson

You guys ever have the Travis Scott Burger™ at McDonald’s®? Cause I have, and it was glorious. I could feel my big stinky gullet grow with every bite of it, truly an experience for the ages.

But, why in the seven seas did I take a big ol’ chomp of this Travis Scott sandwich in the first place?

Well…because it was funny, because it was a hamburger with the name Travis Scott on it, and that amused my rat brain into giving money to McDonalds in order to get this regular burger with barbecue sauce. Like that was the only thing about the burger by the way, like it literally was just a regular burger, like they didn’t do anything wacky like put apple sauce and elk tongue on it (which is how I usually take mine).

But why oh why am I telling you this story?

Well…it’s because I just wanted to say that we, as individuals, like people’s names being attached to a product. Remember being a kid and buying that Spongebob Go-Gurt, that literally was the same as regular Go-Gurt, but it had good ol’ Spongbob on it?

It’s basically that, and now when I’ve happened upon this cool lil’ thing of A.I. generated music, it got me thinking of just how far could we take it, in regards to marketing a personable celebrity person attached to it.

If you don’t already know, a while ago, at an obscure song competition in the middle of Portugal, I think it was called Eurovision or something, they premiered a song that was entirely generated by an artificial intelligence, or A.I. The melody, instrumental, and lyrics were all procedurally generated by a computer microchip, and it was honestly pretty interesting, and it was legitimately structured like a real song. Here it is if you’re interested in watching it.

Anyway, but more compelling than that (at least in my dumb lil’ opinion), was this A.I. Travis Scott song I happened upon, because as opposed to the Eurovision one, which was just an isolated song, sung by a text to speech robot voice, with a lil’ machine avatar, this fake Travis Scott song, actually has opportunity to be sold and marketed, in place of an actual human production team that could create a product very similar to it. Like honestly, while this specific style of music isn’t really for me, I could see a song like this being popular to an extent, (though the lyrics could use a lil’ work in like, actually making coherent sense).

But in regards to brands, how marketable could an A.I. artist be? Like sorta if a Gorillaz type like fictional character(s) was/were the icon of it, and all their songs were generated by a big wacky computer machine, how far could we take it.

Shot from the game Detroit: Become Human where robots are basically a replacement for humans and are gonna take our jobs and are gonna drink our milkshakes and build our Ikea furniture and there’s nothing we can do about it, which it really makes you think and scratch your chin with your big ol fingers very inquisitively and go “hmmmmmm”

Well, that concept was explored in Detroit: Become Human to an extent where there was a guy playing a guitar on a street corner with a sign saying “real human music”, which was a pretty wacky scene, but I dunno if that’s gonna happen or not, for a couple reasons. Mainly because people’d probably see it as a fad, and sorta have an aversion to it, even if it did get to a level where you couldn’t tell otherwise, and also because A.I. artists would probably end up creating songs that attempt to appeal to everyone, which usually ends up appealing to…no one.

So, honestly, Ed Sheeranbot5000 isn’t gonna replace people anytime soon, at least in my opinion, but the concept of already established artists feeding their songs to an algorithm, and just trying to put stuff out that’s generated by that without anyone noticing, is a different story. But I feel like most artists who make music would actually wanna, y’know… make music, at least to an extent.

Like, I know not every part of the production of a song, at least with a large portion of artists, is really done by one guy in whole, like of course there’s a team of people who you’d never even think about in most major productions now. Like a few guys to mix and master stuff, production in the backing track/instrumental, needing to credit a guy who does sample tracks that producers pay to download and plop into their DAW then add extra drums and stuff to it if needed, and even if a song is made using reference vocals and ghost writing, at the end of the day, there at the very least is a team of people, who all would have a passion for what they do to an extent, who come together and just make something, and just put lil’ details in, that I don’t think technology really could calculate.

I mean, until it can. But, I dunno. Just enjoy what’s already out and gonna be out, and watch movies, read books, do whatever you wanna do to blow off steam, cause by the time A.I. could perfectly replicate what humans could create, in regards to art on that deep or personal of a level, they’re basically human at that point, so I guess it’ll be fine.

But, who’s to say, I dunno. Happy pride month everyone.

Everything you need to know about Mother Mother’s new album

By: Caroline Crosby

Vancouver’s beloved indie-rock group Mother Mother recently unveiled their upcoming global tour in 2022, along with a shiny new album that has fans buzzing with anticipation.

For those unaware, Mother Mother is a renowned 5-piece band whose success shot to new heights at high-summer of last year. The group is no new installment, though, having respectably surfed Canadian based alt-rock charts since late 2008.

Via the video sharing social media platform TikTok, a resurgence of the group’s older music recently exploded onto a new, broader scene with an equally broad audiance.

Teenaged, and young adult, fans flocked to Mother Mother’s music in droves. Many spoke of being drawn to the unique, androgynous harmonies and daring lyrics that comprised very “on-brand” viral songs such as “Verbatim”, “Burning Pile”, “Arms Tonite”, and “Hayloft”. 

After the raging revival of the older albums ‘O My Heart’ and ‘Touch Up’, courtesy of social media, Mother Mother’s new album was formally announced on April 8 of this year. It’s titled ‘Inside’ and was informally referred to as ‘MM LP 8’ before its official debut. 

In an interview with ‘Rolling Stone’ last fall, the band was asked about the creative development behind the appropriately dubbed “pandemic album”. 

Guitarist, vocalist, and group frontman Ryan Guldemond answered: 

“The world stopped, and all the sudden I had a lot more alone-time on my hands, which isn’t necessarily conducive to song writing. Usually, I like to venture out and find guidance from an external, interactive narrative—travelling, people, serendipities etc. I love that process – it’s almost like you’re in collaboration with the world. But since that wasn’t an option, I set about a different kind of travel, one more inward and personal, exploring different types of therapies, meditation, and journaling as a means to unearth songs from a deeper, interior place.”

Only 4 of the 14 total tracks are currently available on streaming platforms, but the complete release of the band’s eighth album will drop on June 25 (mark your calendars!). The 4 songs immediately available, however, follow Guldemond’s poetic foundation exactly as the quote suggests. 

As established, Mother Mother’s music (both old and new), consistently works with themes such as pushing societal standards and often encourages questioning of personal identities. The most recent music video and lyrics to the fifth installment of ‘Inside’s’ 14 tracks; “Pure Love”, is an excellent example of this. It flaunts the band’s unique portrayal of the world, and provides an introspective take on self-realization and discovery. It features the sole, haunting voice of band member Molly Guldemond.

‘Inside’ takes a deeper dive into the fundamentals of these ideas, and will resonate with listeners who desire to internally perceive, learn, and grow as many individuals and communities have, regardless of the pandemic’s trials this year. 

For more information, please visit Mother Mother’s official website at:

Or, read their interview with ‘Rolling Stone’ at:

You can watch the music video for “I Got Love” at:

The Weeknd boycotts the Grammys

By: Alexandra Rimbu

The Weeknd has boycotted the Grammys after his snub. In a statement to the ‘New York Times’ this past Thursday, he publicly announced that he will no longer allow his label to submit his music to the awards show.

In response to the Weeknd’s statement, Harvey Mason Jr., the interim president of the Recording Academy, which oversees the Grammys, told the ‘New York Times’, “We’re all disappointed when anyone is upset. But I will say that we are constantly evolving. And this year, as in past years, we are going to take a hard look at how to improve our awards process, including the nomination review committees”.

It does not seem as though this will appease the singer, as his latest statement follows a series of comments he’s made against the awards show after he failed to receive a single Grammy nomination. The Weeknd himself, fans, and even the general public, highly anticipated recognition for the singer’s work after the release of his critically acclaimed album ‘After Hours’ this past year. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Following the Weeknd’s boycott, other artists have spoken on the issue, calling out the Recording Academy, the organization behind the Grammys, for what they say is a lack of transparency with voting and diversity among nominees.

The Recording Academy chooses the nominations for the ceremony. But since 1995, the final nominations in the “Big Four” categories — album of the year, song of the year, record of the year and best new artist — have been decided by a select committee, according to ‘Billboard.com‘. The outlet wrote in a 2020 article that the committee was created so the final nominations in those categories were “more progressive” and “more musically adventurous”.

But many artists do not think the Grammys’s system is as fair as it claims to be, insisting that favoritism, racism, and networking politics highly influence the voting process.

It seems we will have to wait and see if these artists’ opinions will inspire any change.

A review of The Weeknd’s Super Bowl halftime performance 

By: Caroline Crosby

There’s much to dissect concerning the eye-catching narrative that The Weeknd worked so hard to convey to fans, so I’ll first offer a personal hottake. 

Looking back on the performance, as someone who knew next to nothing about the superstar’s intentions, I must say, I was incredibly confused at first. It provided all the glamour and elaborate choreography that has come to be expected of a legendary Super Bowl halftime show, but the underlying message (far from my own comprehension, at the time) irked me. What was he trying to say? Why include the dizzying mirror scene and sea of red-jacket clad backup dancers? What significance did the face-obscuring bandages offer? 

I was not alone in my perplexity. The performance was well received by many, but also prompted much speculation and critique from confused fans and the general public alike. 

The media, to no one’s surprise, has been diligently circulating rumors regarding the “true meaning” of The Weeknd’s unique performance on the 7th. So what in the world could the real message be, and why were some fans so shocked after it’s grand debut?

In an interview with ‘Variety’, on the 3rd of February, The Weeknd stated that, “The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated, it’s all a progression and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.” 

The character referred to here, is one that The Weeknd had been developing since September of 2020, in preparation for the emerging show’s narrative. Throughout his concerts and various public appearances prior to the Super Bowl, the 30-year-old was frequently seen in prosthetics and bandages, adding to the general confusion of devoted fans and other patrons of pop culture.

Many expressed discontent with the star’s sudden transformation and obviously intense physical reconstruction, convinced that he was gearing up for some big reveal per his highly anticipated Super Bowl debut.

The Weeknd shocked fans yet again when he showed up as himself, perfectly bandage and prosthetic free. The performance came and went, and as expected, general Twitter chaos ensued. It was only after the fact when the bizarre storyline reached its climax and became clearest to the public.

Overall, The Weeknd’s cryptic performance provided a moving commentary on the loss of individuality that plagues fame, and the plastic “people pleasing personas” that many stars find themselves chained to in order to retain popularity in today’s society.

Regarding the big show in an interview with ‘Billboard Magazine’, The Weeknd explained, “We’ve really been focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Superbowl.” 

Truly dedicated to said performance, various sources report that The Weeknd paid around 7 million USD out of pocket to supply all the necessary resources for the show. A highly unusual feat for those graced with halftime-level stardom, but probably didn’t make much of a dent in the wallet of the man in the ruby jacket.

In other semi-relevant news, the aforementioned Givenchy jacket sported by our performer was embroidered with authentic rubies, and weighed around 44 lbs. For reference, The Weeknd spun around a football field in front of 96.4 million viewers, in a jacket equal in weight to that of an adolescent Basset Hound.

If that doesn’t convince you of the man’s sheer devotion to the arts, I’m not sure what will.

For the full recording of The Weeknd’s performance, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rhadTURsrw 

Why Ariana Grande is the queen of pop

By: Kayla Madison

Ariana Grande is the queen of pop. No doubt about it. She’s been killing it since her ‘Dangerous Woman’ era in May 20, 2016.

Even Nicki Minaj (the queen of rap) said so herself in the song “Side to Side” with the lyric “I’m the queen of rap, young Ariana run pop”.

Following the Manchester bombing (RIP) which left thousands of fans, and Ariana, traumatized, she released the album ‘Sweetener’ on August 17, 2018. It is said by her: I think that it was made to hopefully bring sweeter days.

She has a song “breathin” which she said is about anxiety, which she’d already had prior to the bombing, but that only seemed to heighten it.

Roughly 6 months later, on February 8th, 2019, she released ‘thank u, next’ which she made after her ex Mac Miller passed away (RIP, he was such a sweet hearted soul,) and the split from her then fiancé, Pete Davidson. All 12 of its tracks were on the Billboard Top 100 with “thank u, next”, “7 rings”, and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” occupying the top 3 spots.

After the release, it broke multiple streaming records, including largest streaming week for a pop album, and female album in the U.S., with 307 million on-demand streams.

Globally, this album was 8th in best selling in 2019, and 4th best selling for female artists.

About a month later, Ariana was set for the Sweetener World Tour that began March 18, 2019. The tour grossed $146.4 million from 97 shows. During 2020’s Grammy Awards, ‘thank u, next’ was nominated for ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Best Pop Vocal Album’ and the song “7 rings” was nominated for ‘Record of the Year’ and ‘Best Pop Solo Performance’. Since the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards were rigged, she went home empty handed.

On October 30, 2020, she released the album ‘Positions’. Now, I don’t know about everyone else, but this album is in the top rank compared to some of the others that had dropped around this time.

My favorites from this album are “just like magic”, “west side”, and “love language”. Check them out, they’re great. Of course, those aren’t the only songs I listen to off of it. This album is not like many others, there isn’t a song on here worth skipping. They’re all great and have their own sense of style you could say.

It’s also really nice to see Ariana change vocally and see how she’s in more of a healed place mentally through the songs. She explains them all in the Zach Sang interview, which is quite long but worth watching if you love her.

She also just recently dropped her “34+35” remix with Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion. I’m not really into Megan like that, but her verse made me laugh (it’s very explicit so don’t play it around your parents).

On an unrelated note, she’s engaged to Dalton Gomez, so let’s hope that she actually gets married this time!

Xenophobia in the Western music industry

By Ellie Mulvaney and Irene Cohen

Music is often called a universal language; something that ties people together without bounds. Throughout history, genres have been passed through people and geographical groups to spread different traditions, dances, and instruments through the music they originate from.

With this history, it’s hard to imagine that modern society is sometimes extremely intolerant with music, and the culture that’s associated with it, sometimes resorting to racism or xenophobia to hate on unfamiliar forms of media.

K-Pop is a genre of music thats name is a direct conjunction of its meaning: Korean pop. It’s typically associated with bright colors, vigorous dances, energetic songs, and is usually performed by groups.

The genre has spread west in past years, led by worldwide sensation group BTS. The group kicked off their first US tour in 2015, and since then, has only grown, getting their first Grammy nomination in the “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” category in November of 2020. However, the road to this accomplishment was anything but easy, and to this day, they still are on the receiving end of countless amounts of unjustified hate.

The stage makeup and outfits they wear are beaten down for being too feminine, while their songs are often branded as shallow, despite the language barrier that many Americans don’t care to overcome when looking into their music.

On a professional level, they have been void of some opportunities that many theorize could be due to where they’re from. At the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, the group received a nomination for “Best Collab”, which was won with regards to their song with an ​American​ artist, rather than a nomination for their solo music video that broke the record on YouTube for the most views in 24 hours.

This lack of Western recognition for the current, biggest, boy band in the world seems to run deeper than just simple coincidence, and bleeds into the xenophobia in America.

Some argue that BTS even being included in award ceremonies is the representation of East-Asian music groups that is needed in the award ceremonies. While BTS is able to get some representation from mainstream Western media, this is the first step in a very long journey to be more inclusive in award ceremonies.

Even when foreign groups are included in these ceremonies, they have special award names like “Best in K-Pop” instead of simply “Best in Pop.” They have these categories to make it seem like these groups are good but cannot be compared to our Western music artists. It is almost demeaning to have these categories.

This doesn’t just happen to K-Pop idols, either. In many music award ceremonies they have “Latin Pop” for Latinx artists instead of giving them just the “Pop” award.

We have seen countless times that when a song isn’t in English, it does not get the same representation in the award ceremonies that English songs receive. Many a time, songs not performed in English have performed extremely well worldwide to get beaten out by some English pop songs only known in the Western world. And that’s the best case scenario. Most of the time these songs aren’t even nominated for an award.

The Western music industry needs to be more inclusive in their coverage of music. Too long the Western music industry has not recognized the success or impact of a song, album, or artist just because it is foreign. The mindset of this music industry needs to change so that products of Western artists will not always be considered better than that of different regions.

Music should surpass language and culture, not be judged on it.

Why K-Pop is good

By: Kayla Madison

So, I’m not really sure how to explain why K-Pop is good. It just is.

So, I’ll just kinda explain why I like it, because I didn’t before this year, 2020.

Fortunately, I don’t like BTS. Their fans are literally crazy and they’ll like, eat me. I listen to NCT and all their subunits: Ateez, TXT, Got7, Monsta X, SuperM, Red Velvet, Twice and, Stray Kids.

Here’s what I’ll say, no matter what – there’s always someone hot in a K-Pop group. It’s unethical to stan for that reason, but it’s a reason nonetheless. I won’t lie. I can’t lie.

I may not know Korean, but I know whatever they’re singing or rapping about…is facts. It’s so catchy. All the songs I’ve listened to are so catchy. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing, it’s always in the back of my mind.

With stanning comes the secret shipping, making it known that you have a ship in a group of guys isn’t good for them, it hurts the group and it also hurts the company. If the company is SM, do everything in your power to hurt them, and not the group. SM sucks so much. Ask anyone into K-Pop. They’re terrible. So are the MAMA awards, but going into that would take me hours.

How I got into K-Pop is pretty simple actually. I’m not sure what I was watching, but “God’s Menu,” by Stray Kids, popped up and I was like “that’s funny.” I gave it a listen and my jaw dropped all the way into the asthenosphere. It was so good. The boys looked heavenly. The vocals *chefs kiss*, FELIX’S PART, holy who knew a voice could go so deep *tear starts rolling down*.

My bias for that group…yes, I have a bias for every group I’ve ever listened to, well it’s more than 1 haha. Lee Know, Seungmin, Han, Hyunjin…I’m naming everyone. Apparently I don’t have a bias; I love them all.

Anyways, ever since I’ve listened to “God’s Menu” I’ve sunk deeper into the fascinating world that is K-Pop. Don’t knock it before you try it. Give it a listen.

This is NCT 127 (my fav right now); Yuta, Jaehyun, Taeil, Johnny, Doyoung, Haechan, Taeyong, Mark and, Jungwoo ~picture from their official Instagram~