A franchise of the massive education chain, School of Rock in Alexandria has begun offering classes to fans of all ages from as young as six-year-olds. It is located on 3260 Duke Street leading East to the famed Old Town on the Potomac River waterfront. The business is owned and run by Steve McKay, who is himself a professional musician for over three decades.
With Alexandria opening, School of Rock now operates in a dozen locations across the greater Washington metropolitan area: seven in Virginia and five in Maryland. None, however, is present in D.C.
Outside the U.S. where it is most densely established, the chain has schools in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Philippines and South Africa as well.
Learn to play in a band
Founded in 1998, School of Rock proudly says it provides a distinct music education through immersing its students in peers in live-performances on the stage as well as one-on-one and in-class trainings.
“Nowadays, kids can just learn on YouTube, but they cannot get the group feeling, the socializing, the mentoring of each other,” McKay said in a May 9 report by Alexandria Times.
School of Rock Alexandria offers lessons with four instruments — guitar, bass guitar, drum and keyboard/piano — as well as singing lessons within seven programs depending on the age and experience of the student.
At the beginner-level Rookies program, six and seven-year-olds are taught one weekly group music lesson where they learn fundamentals such as chords, rhythm and song structure. During the program, they learn and experiment with multiple instruments so they can later decide which one they want to go on playing in the following program, Rock 101.
As part of the Rock 101 module, students have one weekly group rehearsal where they learn to play classic rock songs that have been simplified for beginner musicians. And in addition, they take a private music lesson each week with an instructor to learn the concepts and skills behind their performance songs.
Willing students continue to later and more advanced programs as a result of which they can even audition to be heard by a major record label.
Similarly, adults with or without any previous musical experience can enroll at a program specifically tailored to them at Alexandria point. As is School of Rock’s signature feature, they, too, would benefit from a performance-based music education approach. The adult program includes one weekly private music lesson and a weekly group rehearsal. Every student is placed in a band of classmates and assigned specific songs. Ultimately, they take the stage to play at a live show in the city.
More than what its name suggests, School of Rock teaches students to play funk, blues and country music as well as rock. The Alexandria school is open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on all weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.