These kids want to rock.
A group of rising young musicians took over Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) on Tuesday, August 1, jamming out with Twisted Sister guitarist and rock great Eddie Ojeda at an iconic New York venue.
The performance came as a part of School of Rock’s AllStars tour, which gives top students in the international music education program the chance to play at renowned venues, such as Red Rocks, Lollapalooza, B.B. King Blues Club, all over the nation. AllStars students have also had the opportunity to play with music legends, including Eddie Vedder, Alice Cooper and Slash, to name a few.
“I think we’re creating good citizens who are engaged in their communities,” said Jennifer Malone, a music director at School of Rock who works closely with the school’s AllStars. “They’re thinking and they’re artistic, but they have a lot of practical skills as well.”
Malone detailed the extremely selective process that School of Rock students must go through before being allowed to play on the AllStars tour. Students interested in being part of the AllStars first audition at one of over 150 School of Rock schools. If they pass that audition stage, students must create a video to be judged on a point scale by AllStars directors. Following that stage, the students move on to a live audition at cities across the country. There, students are forced to answer music theory questions, improvise musically and even stall in the event of a simulated technical difficulty.
The end result is a group of 168 students who are not only talented musicians, but music professionals as well.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I started touring with School of Rock, so they most definitely inspired my future plans,” said 18-year-old Benny Rothschild, an AllStars member and School of Rock student for nine years. “I’ve been here so long that I teach some of the younger kids now. I see a lot of kids that come in who can’t even hold an instrument correctly and then I see them grow as musicians and people.”
Rothschild, who plans to tour with his band once finished with School of Rock, added that getting the chance to play with Ojeda was “inspiring.”
As the students prepared for the show, Ojeda offered advice for the budding musicians.
“You gotta keep believing in yourself and never give up,” said Ojeda. “The more people that tell you that you can’t, you prove that you can by just getting it done.
“Our parents were really tough on us and didn’t support us, saying things like ‘why are you wasting your time for, you’ll never make it in music,'” he went on “As a musician, it’s good to have positive advice and support.”
School of Rock provides music education to more than 26,000 students worldwide. For more information visit www.schoolofrock.com.