The Best Way to Teach Kids to Play Music

I still have memories from my childhood, sitting in the piano at home every Saturday afternoon, teacher bringing out from under the piano seat her grade-scaled music books. We begin the session and play over and over (and over) the musical scale, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, followed by traditional basic piano pieces like “Frere Jacques” (Are you Sleeping?), “Lavender’s Blue (Dilly, dilly)”, and “When the Saints Go Marching in”. I had fun learning to play, especially because my elder sister and brother were doing the same and I wanted to be doing what they were doing, but I would not say piano lessons then were the most exciting thing to be doing at that time. It was something that was just so routinary and more methodical than creative. Something I had to do more than wanted to do. Still, I had a good experience learning to play an instrument as a child and while I didn’t really pursue the skill, I still thank Mom for putting me through that. I still learned a bit of discipline and focus, so now I look for the same experience for my own kids to benefit from.

With my research, I’ve realised that kids these days have more progressive options. I once hired a guitar teacher to teach the kids at home once a week. I noticed that she would first ask my kids what their favourite song was and she would teach them basic guitar chords and strokes by teaching the songs. From songs of Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, the kids got excited and I was pleasantly surprised at how they were motivated to learn to play because of the “incentive” to be able to play their favourite tune. (The teacher eventually revealed to me that Coby’s main goal was to serenade a girl. Talk about finding motivation!)

Eventually, school schedules got in the way so music lessons had to be put on the back burner for now. Then My latest joy was finding out that my co-parent in school, Nino Caruncho, owns a non-traditional music school “focused on rock music and having fun.” With this thrust, music schools will never really be seen the same way again with School of Rock in the picture.

The first franchisee to open in Asia, School of Rock has its roots in the US and has championed the belief that “the best way to learn music is to perform it.” With its roster of faculty members who are actual professional musicians, the students learn not only the technical knowhow in music, they are also gain confidence and get the actual training of performing, and also gain a unique shared experience in being able to “jam” with their peers..

To give you a clearer picture as to what sets the School of Rock apart from other music schools, I had the chance to watch their concert (cum recital) a few months back with Zach and Reese.

School of Rock

and some of my mom friends.

School of Rock

It was a School of Rock featuring the SOR kids

School of Rock

and this is a snippet of the unique rock concert that we saw that night:

The experience of seeing kids their age rocking it out onstage was an encouragement to my own kids to try out the lessons at School of Rock. The chose from five different instruments/ lessons: Guitar, Bass, Keyboard, Drums and the last is Voice. Both Zach and Reese wanted to try learning the keyboard.

Reese came in for her first session and we started with an assessment with Coach Louie.

School of Rock

School of rock

After the session he determined that Reese was at the right level to take the classes and he even gave her her first homework so she could practice at home.

School of Rock

I noticed that Coach Louie took a lot of care and attention in assessing Reese’s level. School of Rock invests a lot of effort in ensuring that it maintains a supportive environment where students of all skill levels are comfortable yet challenged at every turn.

While waiting for Reese, I encountered kids coming in and out and one had his coach teaching him some “bonus rocker” lessons like how to twirl the drum sticks.

School of Rock

Next time, Zach was able to join her already and they would take classes with Coach Louie while one waited in the very cool student’s lounge. This sacred space is where the kids can hang out, talk about music, compare notes, or just bond and build friendships and teamwork, essential skills not only for music but for real life.

School of Rock

I love bringing the kids over for their lessons where they learn the basics through 45-minute long private sessions. Here they also learn technique, music theory, and through the jam sessions they are also given the opportunity to learn dynamics of playing in a group.

Jam sessions are 1.5 hour group rehearsals done every week (total of 9 hours per month ) to get them ready to rock. The team dynamic creates a supportive and motivating environment where kids get inspired to perform and excel in their craft.

I personally think it feeds their fantasy of actually being a rock star. Who doesn’t want to be one anyway?:P
School of Rock

Once accomplished, students reach the main program, the heart and soul of School of Rock – the “Performance Program.” The students are cast in songs and rehearse them in a 3-hour rehearsal each week, preparing for the big show. After 12-13 weeks, the students get to show off everything they’ve worked for and transform into rock stars in a blowout concert in front of a real live audience.

School of Rock
While the kids have the most memorable time rockin’ out on stage, they actually learn about performance and harmonies, they also get to know what musicianship is all about.

School of Rock

Nino Caruncho on the left, (my co-parent and) general manager of School of Rock explains, “When kids enroll in School of Rock, they are not immediately taught music theory. They are not taught the do, re, mis nor music scales, etc. They are asked what music they listen to, what their favorite song is, or which song they would like to learn how to play. We try to teach them these songs to make them interested in learning. Music theory is injected along the way at the appropriate time.”

Nino’s partner and Director of School of Rock, Parkin Chu adds “We believe that School of Rock can unleash the musical potential of kids in an environment where they’re having fun, meeting new friends and learning about teamwork.”

With my children’s firsthand experience, the owners know what they are talking about. Music lessons at School of Rock are not only engaging, but downright exciting for the children.

I can’t wait till my own kiddos get to rock their hearts out!
School of Rock

Want to be a rocker mom? Personally I’m happy with the piano lessons I had when I was a child but in case you have dreams of your own, well, you don’t have to be living vicariously in your children anymore! School of Rock also offers an Adult Performance Program for 18 year olds and older. One is never too old to learn something new, or pursue a past passion or dream. The School of Rock provides this opportunity in a highly supportive environment.

School of Rock

Check out School of Rock and see if they can help you or your kids achieve their musical dreams.

The School of Rock is located at Connecticut Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan, Metro Manila and is open 12pm-9pm on weekdays and 10am-9pm on weekends. Here’s their contact info:

Email address: philippines@schoolofrock.com.ph
Landline: +632 5718021
Mobile: +63922 8342455
Web: www.SchoolofRock.com.ph
FB: www.facebook.com/SchoolofRockPH

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