I remember seeing the movie School of Rock- you know, the one where Jack Black teaches a classroom of misfits how to be a rock and roll band- and thinking "wouldn't that be awesome if that was real?" Turns out, it is real. And there's a School of Rock right here in Wichita, Kansas.
Just like the movie, you don't get the "normal" music lesson experience at School of Rock.
"We're trying to create a culture, a different way of learning music," says General Manager Jason Ramsey. "It's more like a sports team than individual lessons."
Students at School of Rock take individual lessons, but they also take group lessons. These group lessons are designed to get students used to playing in a band and in front of people. The students come together in a performance room with a stage, amps and all their equipment- everything you would expect with a typical music venue.
School of Rock
School of Rock started in 1998 in Philadelphia, PA as a single school. It has since grown to a nation-wide franchise, with more than 69 schools. School of Rock continues to grow with their unique approach that the best way to learn music is to play music with other people. The students start in the lesson room and end up on the stage.
With the help of national vendors like Vans Warped Tour, Gathering of the Vibes and Film on the Rocks, School of Rock is able to offer their students something no one else can- a chance to play large stages with real bands. During the Spring season, anyone enrolled in School of Rock can send in an audition tape for the School of Rock All Stars Tour. A few select students are chosen from across the country to join the tour and play some of the largest music events and venues in the country. For the 2012 All Stars Tour, students got the chance to play four different dates of the Vans Warped Tour, Summerfest in Milwaukee, a show at The Hard Rock in Las Vegas, a show at Red Rocks in Colorado and more.
"School of Rock gives a lot of kids an opportunity to do what they want to, that they would never have had a chance to otherwise," says Ramsey.
School of Rock in Wichita offers beginning, intermediate and advanced classes in guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and vocals. Students are between the ages of 7 and 18. Everything taught at the School of Rock has roots in rock 'n' roll like blues and jazz. You won't find any rap or country in a School of Rock program.
Students meet individually with an instructor once a week, and then meet in a group once a week. Beginners participate in Rock 101- a class that helps them master the basics in a group setting. For students that already have the basics down, there's Performance Program. This program teaches students harmonies and musicianship, along with how to perform in a rock show. As the class's finale, the group does a live performance at a venue in town.
If you want to see what School of Rock is all about, come out to one of their live shows. The School of Rock in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area has put on their own summer tour, and they're coming through Wichita on August 7. They'll be playing Margarita's Cantina on East Douglas at 7 pm. All the students on the tour have been at School of Rock for about 2 or 3 years. They'll be playing songs from The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pantera and more. Admission to the show is free, and Margarita's will have the kitchen and bar open for the event.
If you want to know more about Wichita's School of Rock, you can visit them online at http://wichita.schoolofrock.com/blog/. If you have questions or want more information, just pick up the phone and call them at (316)351-7600.
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