The professional musicians who teach at New York Academy of Music believe talent appears at a young age. That's why their music programs start for kids as young as 2 years old with Rock 'n' Tots, a class where pre-kindergarten kids can listen to rock and pop while they bop and learn. Once students have excelled beyond the bounds of Rock 'n' Tots, they can attend the RockStar Academy?where they'll learn how to perform and write songs?or take private lessons that cover nearly all instruments and styles. For seasoned performers, an onsite recording studio provides a place to lay down tracks.
In 1998, School of Rock's first location was built in Philadelphia to strengthen kids' self-confidence, develop their musicianship, and most importantly, spark an insatiable enthusiasm to learn. Today, the School of Rock franchise has branched out to more than 65 locations throughout the United States and Mexico. During the school's music lessons, encouraging instructors well versed in methods of rocking and rolling—such as strumming guitars, tickling keyboards, and causing avalanches with yodels—demystify music theory for mini Mick Jaggers of all skill levels.
School of Rock's Rock 101 program acquaints beginners with the instrument of their choice using a curriculum of weekly private lessons and group band rehearsals. Virtuosos ready to hit the stage can participate in the performance program, which prepares students for live performances that pay homage to beloved rock icons such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Mount Rushmore.
Having already taught himself how to master the axe, guitarist Chris Strick now guides students of all ages in their own journeys to master the instrument. During lessons, Chris listens to his students to determine their playing styles, preferred paces of learning, and how many necks their guitars should have. Lessons will stress the importance of practicing and the musical abilities innate in every person that picks up a guitar. Chris can travel up to 10 miles so that students can learn in the comforts of their own homes.
Ken Benshish and Yi Qian started iSchool of Music and Art in 2005 to provide a positive, supportive learning atmosphere that takes into account each student?s personality and goals. Students aged 3 and older who can?t tell a drumstick from a plectrum and don?t even know the street value of a quarter note can learn piano, drums, guitar, or voice skills from scratch, then test their newfound skills with multiple performance opportunities throughout the year. Instructors host private classes or group students into their own rock-band performance troupes, and intensive camps culminate in field trips to Lincoln Center and a tour of a real recording studio.
Diane Garetano's school—whose curriculum covers piano as well as other instruments—was an immediate success in the first year. She was renting space to accommodate her ever-expanding student body and the pianos that kept sprouting extra keys. Today, The Piano Studio for Kids imparts instrument skills at two locations. The school also has evolved in terms of technique, with instructors now incorporating even more methods built on fun, structure, and positive reinforcement. Once a year, students may elect to show off the fruits of these labors, with admission free of charge at a recital culminating in certificates, gift bags, and applause.