School of Rock: Where music students grow into rockstars

Story by Jamie Campbell
Photos by Aron Diaz

School of Rock is a music school for all skill levels, ages, and musical aspirations; ranging from toddlers to adults, School of Rock is where music students grow into real musicians. As I stepped into Upper Deck Public House for a student showcase, that’s exactly what I walked into: a room of real musicians. As the School of Rock House Band tuned their guitars, checked their mics and said their hello’s to visiting show goers, I sat down with School of Rock franchise owner, Bryan Schaefer.

Opening up the school almost three years ago on 17 Ave. SW, Schaefer first got involved when he wanted to offer a different spin on music lessons. He had heard about School of Rock, which is a world-wide organization, and nothing like it existed in Calgary. School of Rock’s services range from individual lessons, camps and workshops, and the chance to become a gigging musician through the School of Rock House Band.

The School of Rock offers opportunities to students to grow as individuals by taking the stage with others. One of his students was able to audition last year in the School of Rock “AllStars” program, which takes the very best students from around the world and sends them on a country-wide summer tour.

“Schools from all over the world can send students to audition and if they make that, they fly them down to the U.S., hook up with other kids and then play at massive venues such as Lollapalooza and at festivals throughout the States,” says Schaefer. “Nowhere else in the world can you get that type of program.”

I mean, I think that’s any rock star’s dream . . . and before turning 18!

As the house band takes to the stage, Schaefer touches on this aspect of the school, which gives students the opportunity to join a band composed of fellow musicians from their school.

“This band will do 30 events throughout the year, not only in Calgary, but we travel to other School of Rocks in Canada and the States.”

All students in the performance program have the opportunity to audition for a spot in their school’s House Band. Once selected, House Band members become leaders in their School of Rock community, and perform live shows at local rock venues throughout the year.

As a leader in performance-based music education, School of Rock elevates young and aspiring musicians to a new level by giving them the tools to grow into true rock stars.