Featured on our CityBurb Magazine & Neighborhood Guide
and student House Band performed at the Mamaroneck Food Truck & Makers Market on Nov 6th, 2016
School of Rock, Mamaroneck offers an innovative way to rock on stage with peers through a performance-based music education. Since opening in 2014, this husband and wife owned business inspires a love of music through performance with one-on-one classes mixed with a variety of workshops, camps, and group lessons. Aspiring musicians of all ages and levels learn to perfect their talent and ultimately rock together as a team in a fun, safe, and friendly environment.
1 Depot Plaza
Mamaroneck, New York
You offer camp and workshops for all ages to practice and perfect talent. By bringing so many kids together, how does working in these groups impact their success?
School of Rock is an inventive concept that gets kids and adults to play renowned music they enjoy performing on stage together with their peers within a three to four month period of combined private and group instruction.
Music programs are designed to create a supportive environment where music students of all skill levels are comfortable yet challenged at every turn. In addition to individual private instruction on guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards and/or drums, students participating in the performance program also learn to jam with their peers in a weekly practice session. This team dynamic generates an engaging and motivating environment where the experience builds confidence and an appreciation for great music.
You decided to open a franchise, rather than an independent school. Do you think that name recognition attributed to the success of your business?
Having had professional experience in various industries since meeting in college in the 90s, we were both drawn to the concept of applying the principles of stage performing to everyday life after starting a family. We were introduced to School of Rock at a concert in 2009 when Jon Anderson, former vocalist for our favorite rock band Yes, performed with School of Rock AllStars. We had considered going on our own because we were hesitant with how compatible the term “franchise”was with “Rock & Roll”. However, after years of research and networking, we were particularly impressed with the brand’s reputation and authentic performance experiences available to students aspiring beyond their local schools when accepted into the School of Rock All-Star program.
Do you have any advice for new businesses opening up/expanding in Mamaroneck?
Do what you do best wherever and whenever you can! There are so many opportunities to build credibility and awareness within Mamaroneck. In our experience, our success is directly attributed to being both authentic and involved in the communities we serve. By being authentic, we work hard to bring what we do from our school to within the community. Our students have been welcomed as performers at various Chamber of Commerce and Village of Mamaroneck events. We have also actively supported volunteer-led events and efforts with local school PTAs and Town/Village committees. Tory Ridder also is active performing locally in the area as the drummer of the Larchmont-based band SWAY. He has also just finished his part in the songwriting and recording project of Heathcote Hill – produced in Mamaroneck’s historic recording studio Headline Studios, formerly Acme.
Would you say that you attract a certain type of student by the nature of your name, what do you find is unique about focusing on a certain genre of music?
One of the most common parent quotes we hear is “I wish I had this when I was a kid!” Traditional lessons are good for some but not for everyone. School of Rock owners all pride themselves on offering “Music Lessons Done Differently”. We understand how the traditional approach to learning music can be discouraging and frustrating so we teach music through performing songs – ear training, rhythm, teamwork and a good share of lighthearted fun. Research shows music is vital to a healthy life and helps make us more capable human beings. So we feel strongly that all kids deserve a chance to excel musically with a less rigid approach. We strive to inspire a love for music and a passion for rockin’ both on stage and in life. Some of the most successful School of Rock students went from local school House Bands, to the AllStar program, and even after graduation onto incredible music schools like Juilliard and Berklee. But really School of Rock can mean many things to people – it can be playful but also serious. It’s what you make it and we have the talented staff to support your growth and progress!
Our seasonal programs are tailored to the students we teach so we can encourage them to appreciate what they play at varying stages of their music development.
What does a typical day look like for you as the owner and operator of the business while homeschooling your kids?
Ha! Great question. Our music school business operates as an after-school and weekend program so the day is open for mom to teach the boys a concentrated curriculum with the philosophy of School of Rock as a guide. Dad works down the street on Halstead Avenue in Mamaroneck at a family-owned publishing business. We firmly believe as parents we are the strongest advocates for our children and with the frequency of our kids dragging their feet and complaining of how bored and uninspired they were in a traditional school setting, we decided to homeschool this year. Our daily routine varies but we structure their education around real world experiences with a creative emphasis. “Hackschooler” Logan LaPlante’s TEDx Talk is our inspiration! Check it out!
When kids come in for their first lessons, what do you find that they are excited about most to begin learning?
Kids always seem excited about being somewhere they feel welcomed and appreciated as individuals and that is our first step when meeting new students. Once they are in our space, our instructional staff takes time to get to know their musical tastes and experiences and encourage them to embrace their inner rock star by showing them that it is possible for them to achieve greatness from the lesson room to the stage. We also invite new students to sign our lounge wall and officially make their mark at School of Rock Mamaroneck. Our first step in teaching is always to start with identifying an appropriate song and jump right into translating a realistic way for them to start playing and practicing at home.
Your staff are also practicing musicians. What is the most important aspect of continuing to nurture music in the younger generations?
We are so proud of our talented instructional staff. They share a passion for performing and have had authentic experiences as career performers and/or recording artists. Despite this incredible well of talent, we have been disappointed with the decline of live music in the area and have been trying to work with our instructors to help promote their gigs and creative projects. School of Rock is an ideal job for the gigging musician so we are dedicated advocates for more local live music options.
Now that you are offering classes to adults, do you see that they are just as excited as the kids to learn?
Actually, our first student sign-up on opening day was an adult student! We have been amazed with the popularity and success of our adult program. We have a great team of “players” including but not limited to moms, dads, executives, entrepreneurs, and retirees. Most of them have been with us since the first season in 2014 so there has been no lack of excitement and dedication to the program. The Adult Performance Program bands also love performing regularly at Garcia’s at the Capitol Theatre. It’s an awesome venue with an impressive history of headliners.
On your website, you stated that you liked to teach the kids through real life experiences. What kinds of transformative experiences do you offer to them?
This ultimately ties back into the School of Rock mission to inspire kids to rock both on stage and in life. The stage is a great teacher and performance a great metaphor for life experiences in how it teaches students to be bold and independent yet also work well with others. “No noodling” is one of our favorite rules for asking students to listen and learn during rehearsals. When on stage, play like you mean it. If you make a mistake, find the “1” and keep going. Enjoy the experience because a song, like life, is meant to be played with heart and soul.
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