School of Rock is now in session!
A new music school opened its doors last weekend with a ceremonial guitar smash! The School of Rock’s Williamsburg location — its second in the borough — will tutor local youngsters in how to rock out, with a curriculum that teaches the stars of tomorrow how to handle their instruments as well as how to hit the stage with flair, said the school’s manager.
“Performing live and learning in a band type of setting — it gives them something to work towards,” said Ken Kramer.
The school’s teaching methods are specifically geared towards performing on stage as part of a band. This approach gives the kids a strong sense of camaraderie, according to Kramer.
“It’s a sense of community, you’re part of a bigger thing,” he said.
Kramer officially opened the school by smashing a guitar and a traditional ribbon cutting, followed by a performance from its first class of students, along with some tiny stars from a School of Rock branch on the distant Isle of Manhattan
Shredders as young as 3 can start in the school’s Little Wing program — named after the Jimi Hendrix ballad — where they learn the very basics of music, including rhythm patterns and different types of singing.
For those aged 6 or older, the school offers a “Rookies” program, with weekly one-on-one sessions and group sessions where the kids get a chance to play various instruments before they settle on one (or more) to focus on.
Burgeoning guitarists, bass players, drummers, keyboard players, and singers learn the essential skills to play particular tunes, with teachers bring material from a variety of different sub-genres, including 1990s rock or the 1960s British Invasion, according to Kramer.
“We’re focused on learning songs first and then breaking it down on more theoretical level,” the Park Slope resident said.
Later students can enter the Rock 101 and Performance program, where the young ’uns learn to take their skills to the stage.
Prices vary depending on the program and location, said Kramer, but the Rookies program is generally around $100–$200 per month, according to the School of Rock website.
The Philadelphia-based School of Rock franchise, which inspired the Jack Black movie and the subsequent Broadway show, set up its first Brooklyn shop in Gowanus. Kramer — who describes himself as a serious amateur guitarist — is happy to provide northern Brooklynites a chance to learn the ropes of rock too.
“I wish something like this was around when I was a kid,” he said. “It makes kids better musicians.”