When and how did the School of Rock get started?
“School of Rock was started by a man whose name was Paul Green in 1998 in his apt in Philadelphia. He was giving guitar lessons and his wife was giving vocal lessons. One day he brought all of his students to his own bands rehearsal to show his band the progress that had made with his students. When they started to play live, they didn’t do very well. So he decided to make the students performing together a regular thing, the rest, well, is history.”
How many locations are there?
“200 on 4 continents.”
When did you personally become involved?
“I started working at the Princeton school 10 years ago part-time. I was hired by my very close friends and owners of the school, Mike Morpurgo and Annie Morton. After realizing there wasn’t a better place for me to be (and no place I’d rather be) I quit my full-time job and started full-time 8 years ago.”
Why do you believe it’s important for kids to learn music?
“I feel, more than anything, learning and excelling at music is a life changing thing. When you are educated in music it does many things. It teaches confidence. It teaches history. Not to mention the fact that kids who play an instrument excel in all other academics. Proven fact!”
What era of rock do you teach at School of Rock?
“We teach all eras, but mainly focus on classic rock. The original moniker of the school used to be “saving rock and roll one kid at a time”, based on that Paul Green thought that there wasn’t any quality music out at the time and that the kids could be inspired from.
Many of the kids probably don’t typically listen to a lot of the music you’re teaching them. Do any of the kids resist or complain about the “old” music?
“Sometimes they whine but once they learn it and perform it and learn some history about the band, their “tune” changes.”
How far in advance do you plan the curriculum?
“The curriculum and shows are ongoing and span about 3 months from their very first rehearsal to the actual live performance. So, we are planning the next season the week the current one starts.”
I’ve seen School of Rock perform once, down the shore, and I was blown away! Where can people check out these amazing musicians?
“If you go to http://www.schoolofrock.com, you can check out schools local to you and see where they are playing. The schools I oversee would be, the “original” Philly school, Princeton and Doylestown.”
Can anyone attend?
“We have programs for all ages from 3 years of age to adults! But our main performance based program is for kids 7 to 17.”
Lastly, have any School of Rock students gone on to pursue careers in music?
“Yeah, we have had many kids go on to musical careers. Some going to college to become music teachers and others going the professional musician route. We have a group of SOR kids right now working with world renowned producer Rick Rubin. And we have another who’s song was used as the theme for the Winter Olympics!”
If someone were interested in sending their kid to your school, how would they go about that?
“Contact any of our schools, schedule a free trial lesson and I promise you will never want to leave!”
To check out a video of a performance in Wildwood, NJ from 2014, click the link or copy and paste into your browser: