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Steven’s mom emailed me a few weeks ago and at first she just sent in some photos of Steven at The School of Rock, which I absolutely loved, but then she extended an invite to attend one of Steven’s sessions. I accepted immediately, partly because I thought this looked like a really interesting story idea and partly because in some weird way it appealed to my deep, dark hidden secret of wanting to be a rockstar since the days of watching Shirley Temple sing and dance with mom on “sick days” home from school. Granted she’s not a rock star, but still it was the seedling that was planted to perform.
As soon as I arrived I was greeted by a super cool, super laid back staff and felt like I was walking into a world-class recording studio. The school is quite large boasting several different full band practice rooms, a drum room, an autograph wall and more! They have approximately 70 students right now with a staff of over a dozen, all of them are gigging musicians and have an educational background.
What was really impressive is the fact that their passion for the purpose of the school is so obvious! As soon as the lesson began it became instantly clear this wasn’t your typical music lesson. Let me retrace my steps a little bit… Steven has a learning disability and his mom was even worried that they wouldn’t be willing to work with Steven. Not only did they agree, but it is a beautiful partnership.
I was impressed to see their proficiency in working with students with autism, Asperger’s and other learning disabilities functioning at a high level.
The teachers don’t just sit behind a desk or push a bunch of music sheets at him and watch or critique, they get up and jam all together (here’s the beautiful part) like a band. Steven had a keyboard player, drummer a vocalist and back-up dancers with him on stage at all times whether he was dancing to the Beatles, busting out a mad rap that he wrote called the Binary Rap or laying down a good old rock & roll classic.
The love for music and the love to share it with these kids is what makes this place literally rock. I could see how Steven opened up and explored his creativity, was confident and comfortable and taking in new content effortlessly with the help of the experienced and compassionate educators.
Students have opportunities to record music, attend concerts, do a live performance with a band and participate in a school showcase. This school is not just about learning the scales or how to tune a guitar, but finding your own groove, your passion and your place as a musician.
Also stay tuned, I’ll be posting killer videos of Steven performing his legendary Binary Rap plus shaking his groove thang!
School of Rock Scottsdale
13610 N. Scottsdale Rd #33
Scottsdale, Arizona 85254