Brian H. – “The Detroit School of Rock and Pop really does “rock” in the eyes of its students and many spectators who have watched their outstanding performances.”
22 March 2011
The School that Rocks!
Many people may believe that it’s normal for preteens or teens to go through an “I want to be a rock star” phase. For me, it started in the 9th grade. I had gone to a U2 concert, in Baltimore, Maryland. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a singer and guitar player in a band. I convinced some of my friends that we should start a band of our own. One of my friends volunteered his aunt’s barn as an ideal place to practice since it was already equipped with an old set of drums. It wasn’t long before the four of us were rockin’ and ready to roll! We were really getting into it; we were starting to write our own songs. We couldn’t wait to perform in front of an actual audience. That’s when we hit it—our roadblock! We did not know where to perform. We did not know how to get an audience. It was like we had hit a brick wall. As we tried to figure out what to do about our predicament, my dad suddenly announced that we would be moving to Michigan. My band mates realized that they were going to have to solve the problem on their own. Meanwhile, I became more concerned with other issues such as how I was going to safely transport my instruments to Michigan and where I was going to play music once I got there.
By the summer of 2009, the move had been completed. My family had relocated to Michigan, and so began my quest to find a suitable place to take music lessons and possibly join up with a band. I took lessons from a couple of different places but could never figure out how to get hooked up with a band. Fortunately, one day while I was riding in the car, I heard a radio ad for a family festival that was going to be held in the town of Royal Oak. The commercial mentioned that the entertainment would be provided by the Detroit School of Rock and Pop (DSRP). That name really spurred my interest. I thought to myself, “What is this Detroit School of Rock and Pop?” I can confidently say today, after having been with the school for a year now, that I can answer that question. It is an awesome place to (as the DSRP motto states) “Stop practicing, start performing.” The Detroit School of Rock and Pop is a music school that provides many unique hands-on learning opportunities for anyone (any age) who wishes to enhance his musical knowledge.
There are several things that make this school different from other typical schools that offer music lessons: live performance opportunities, awesome summer camps, special music classes, and opportunities to meet prominent professionals from the music industry. DSRP offers a package deal that includes a weekly private lesson along with an opportunity to join a band of peers. The band practices for two hours each week and then performs approximately once a month. The band plays cover songs and is given the opportunity to pick their own set-list (choose which songs they want to perform). The owners of the school set up the performances for the students. Some of the places where school bands have performed include the Hard Rock Café in Detroit, the Detroit Zoo, community festivals (such as the Royal Oak Clay and Glass Festival, the Farmington Founders Festival, and Arts, Beats, and Eats Festival in Royal Oak), charitable events (such as the St. Aloysius Soup Kitchen Outdoor Event), and parade performances (such as the Christmas parade in Royal Oak). For students who wish to delve even deeper into their musical pursuits and desire more performance opportunities, the DSRP also offers an awesome summer camp program.
There are three sessions of camp offered in the summer. Each session is three weeks long from 9:00 am. to 4:00 pm. daily. Some kids even sign up for more than one session. Each day the students spend time with a teacher practicing on their instrument of choice. Music theory instruction, songwriting tips, and lessons on how to record are presented to students at various times throughout the day. A couple of hours each day are dedicated to practice time in a band setting. The student bands prepare for a final show, for family members, on the last day of camp and for a concert tour at the end of the summer. During the three week session there are also occasional field trips to places such as a recording studio in the Detroit area and the Mo-Town Museum. Then finally at the end of the summer students from all three of the sessions come together for the grand finale event—a road trip (concert tour)—which includes hands-on music education through sight-seeing events and performance opportunities.
Last year’s culminating tour involved a bus trip to Ohio. The summer camp bands toured and performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky. They even made time for a quick stop and performance at a mission church in downtown Cleveland. There they performed for people recovering from substance abuse. Plans are currently underway for this year’s summer camp concert tour. Camp participants will be traveling to Ohio and Tennessee with performances in both states. In Tennessee sight-seeing and concerts will occur in both Nashville and Memphis. However, if a student wants even more than all of this, there are additional classes and musical opportunities available through the school.
Separate classes in songwriting and recording are offered at various times throughout the year. These are usually about three months long, meeting once or twice a week. At the end of each session there is generally an opportunity for students to showcase what they have learned in the form of some sort of performance opportunity. DSRP also occasionally offers a program that they call “Access to Superstars”. This means at various times throughout the year, they will provide opportunities for their students to meet with professionals in the music industry. For instance, a couple of years ago students met with Ginger Reyes the bassist for the Smashing Pumpkins and Kris Pooley the musical director for Gwen Stefani. Then in 2010 students got to meet the percussionist for Kid Rock’s live band when DSRP hosted “Access to Superstars” at the Ford Arts, Beats, and Eats Festival in Royal Oak. Present also at this event were record label representatives and recording studio personnel who provided career tips and answered students’ questions. Unique opportunities like these seem to abound at the Detroit School of Rock and Pop and are available to students of all ages and ability levels.
Since its inception three years ago, the Detroit School of Rock and Pop has progressed in its mission to provide aspiring musicians, both young and old, with ample performance opportunities. This program is helping to revolutionize the way music is taught to students in the Detroit area. They are committed to their motto: “Stop practicing, start performing”. In the future, they are likely to continue their pursuit of providing outstanding hands–on musical learning opportunities for any interested student. The commitment of the DSRP to motivate their students through an array of performance opportunities and unique learning experiences definitely makes it a popular school amongst its members. The Detroit School of Rock and Pop really does “rock” in the eyes of its students and many spectators who have watched their outstanding performances.