Local entrepreneur promotes education, teambuilding — and himself
By Destiny Douglas
School of Rock has nothing on this.
Jason Gittinger of the Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music in Royal Oak, Michigan, focuses on motivating and teaching his students through the colorful world of tunes. Acting as a businessman, writer, techie, PR practitioner and being father as well, his journey to success has been far from normal.
Before this busy lifestyle, Gittinger was just a boy who unknowingly promoted his father’s business, Del’s Music Studio. He would wear his Del’s jacket to school everyday and around his small hometown. He did not know that this was the sprout of his own entrepreneurship.
Having suffered the lows and the highs of starting several businesses over the course of ten years, he was ready for something better and something stable— The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music. It took a year of planning and another year for building the school before he saw his dreams in front of him.
“It was and still continues to be constant learning. If you are not in it for growth and change, you are destined to fail,” Gittinger said.
Word of mouth became the most powerful tool for his business. The kids knew other kids, who had parents who have their own networks. As the years went on, he was getting raving reviews.
When asked how he promotes his business and how he makes so many connections he joked, “I just shake hands and kiss babies.”
He knows many professional musicians, locally and regionally. He also many business friends who were trained by Goldman Sachs, increasing his network and emphasizing the importance of word of mouth.
Being the extreme people person that he is, he is also on many boards such as the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts, Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, and is a member of a community relations board for the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Gittinger is on the constant hunt for musicians of all ages. His goal is to help them grow in their art and to make his community a better place. Not only do the students grow as musicians but they grow as people as well.
“I hope to benefit kids later in their life by the skills and experiences that they learn here,” he said.
The students are arranged in bands and have practice every week for two hours. This helps the students learn teambuilding, respect for others, and some major music skills that they will be able to use throughout their life. Being in this school creates families out of these young musicians.
Unlike other music schools that have opened after The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music, Gittinger gives his students more than just practice and lessons. He gives them opportunities such as playing at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Arts Beats and Eats, Fox 2 News, The Masonic Temple, and Hard Rock Café to name a few.
Stressing the importance of “selling the feeling,” Gittinger wants the experience of his music school to be enlightening and encouraging for all.