GLEN ELLYN – While some may think playing music is all about living life as a rock star, those at School of Rock know better: It’s about hard work and dedication, and Glen Ellyn children and teens will have the opportunity to learn about that thanks to the latest business to arrive on Crescent Boulevard.
“Glen Ellyn is a great place,” said Adam Mackintosh, School of Rock regional manager for the Chicago schools, including the Glen Ellyn location. “It’s a really rich musical community there.”
School of Rock Glen Ellyn hosted a grand opening celebration Saturday for its location at 536b Crescent Blvd. The event featured tours and a staff meet-and-greet, as well as a performance by students from the Chicago school and guitarist Earl Slick, who has collaborated with David Bowie, John Lennon and more.
School of Rock, which operates more than 100 schools worldwide, focuses on teaching students how to play instruments through performing in concerts with a group.
As part of the curriculum, students take private lessons for their instrument, in addition to Rock 101, their introduction to playing in a musical group. Eventually, students graduate from Rock 101 and perform together in the school’s season shows.
There are three seasons each year, and the number of shows each season – with themes that include various genres and artists – depends on how many students participate.
Performing in groups helps students to learn about reponsibility, work ethic, time management and teamwork, Mackintosh said. Rock 101 also teaches students the basics of playing together – learning how to use equipment and play at the same volume and tempo as everyone else in the group, he said.
“I think that’s what differentiates us from many other programs out there,” Mackintosh said.
It’s beneficial for students to apply what they learn musically in a real-world environment, said Mackintosh, adding with a laugh that maybe if he had learned how to build a skyscraper, he would have retained more math.
“It’s just a much more rich understanding on your part,” he said.
So far, 118 families have signed up to be evaluated for the school. Students will meet with school staff to see what their strengths and areas of growth are. As evaluations finish this week, Rock 101 class offerings are already underway.
The school also offers programs for children 4 to 6 years old and adults. The core program is for students between 7 and 17 years old.
Since preparing to open in downtown Glen Ellyn, School of Rock has gotten involved in the community, helping with Musical Mayhem in February at Hadley Junior High School and preparing to perform at the Taste of Glen Ellyn with its Chicago musicians.
“School of Rock has already demonstrated their willingness to work with the community,” said Mike Formento, Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce co-executive director. “They’re going to be a very involved participant in the downtown area and the business community.”
In addition to teaching Glen Ellyn children and teens how to play instruments, Mackintosh said School of Rock hopes to teach them another important lesson.
“The playing of music is the joy,” he said. “You’re not here to become a rock star.”