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School of Rock -- I'm split

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Low84, Jul 18, 2019.


  1. Low84

    Low84 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Seeing the videos of the kids in the "Is rock dead?" thread was cool. Tight performances, no question. I dug it.

    Kinda reminds me of an activity I see today that has me split down the middle -- the School of Rock. Sure, it gets kids playing instruments and off the phones and computers. While that's always good, it has them into playing covers... mimicking... copying... imitating... not really developing skills/talents to write original stuff... or even jam with one another. That kind frightens me when I think about the future of rock. Are we raising a generation of Xerox machines? Sure, maybe some of those kids go on to do their own tunes although I'm currently not seeing that amongst my friends' children who are enrolled in SoR. It appears to be more of a thing to appease the parents, let them brag on social media, get their kids out of the house, etc.

    On the flip, is SoR more worthwhile than having kids sitting around playing Minecraft or Fortnite? You bet it is, sista! Plus, it creates the awareness of older, superior rock music into these young minds and that's never a bad thing! :cool:

    30-35 years ago, kids and young adults I knew who were in bands and fortunate enough to have gigs played originals. Demos that people recorded were usually made up of originals. The big annual producers showcases in my hometown were all about signing bands who played originals.

    And today, we live in a world in which the cut-and-paste factor seems to increase daily. School of Rock hammers that home... but it's putting guitars, basses and drumsticks into the hands of the kids... and I love that.

    Like I said, I'm split. Thoughts?
     
    Charlzm likes this.
  2. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I agree. You see these little "geniuses" playing other people's stuff, and they are good, but they really have every advantage. Tabs online, Skype lessons, software to teach them, inexpensive recording tools; it is almost too easy. Aping someone else's work for an age group where that comes naturally isn't really that impressive.
    But ask them to write something.
    I remember this band of three young African American kids that were an internet phenomenon for a second. They did a cover and everyone thought it was great. They got a label deal out of it. They released an album and it stunk on ice.
    Being able to write something that a stranger wants to hear is where the rubber meets the road.
     
  3. I came up in jazz band. I look at it in that light. We studied the work that the masters made before us. Then when we got good, we wrote our own tunes.
     
    equill, kobass, wesonbass and 28 others like this.
  4. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    I started playing at 13, at the end of the 60’s. Covers were all we did, and struggled at that because the bar of musicianship had been raised, plus much of the material had become more complex than it used to be. My contemporaries and I had just missed the Louie Louie/Gloria/House of The Rising Sun era, rudimentary tunes to learn the basic building blocks of performance and songwriting. Sure, there was relatively bone simple stuff like CCR and even The Stones(still)to grapple with, but if you didn’t have a guitarist who could play leads beyond “Hanky Panky”, you were dead in the water. Nobody even thought of writing anything, and if anyone did, it was highly derivative, which was to be expected. A lot of those guys did go on to churn out sappy ‘singer-songwriter’ stuff, which was coming in quickly. For the rest of us, we focused on trying to come up with ‘cool riffs’, but it was hard when you were trying to make a Fender Princeton sound like a Marshall. I would think that my experiences were more common than not.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    JimK, zon6c-f, DaMoose and 11 others like this.
  5. Getting young people to play songs they already enjoyed will be easier than teaching them how to write their own, and it's a start.
     
    bobba66, JMacBass65, kobass and 37 others like this.
  6. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Are classical musicians playing from sheet music under the direction of a conductor basically SoR equivalents?
     
  7. bobomatic

    bobomatic

    Jan 15, 2018
    My son (14) is involved, on bass/keys/vocals. Well, up here it’s Rock Academy.

    Great program, trust me I would have killed to have had something like that when I was his age (well relatively, he started much younger than I did). Yes, it’s all covers, and no, they don’t really teach songwriting. There is, however, a fair amount of time spent on theory in lessons, and they do learn the how and why in terms of song structures, progressions, in short they do help fill the toolbox. Not to mention, it’s stage performance in front of a live crowd at an at times very young age. Not a bad bit of experience to have, no matter what path you take musically.

    Where the program REALLY wins is the fact that they end up surrounded by musicians and when you put musicians together for long enough... relationships are formed and things happen. There are enough bands that have sprung up out of our RA to have a day-long festival... and an impressive amount of it is original. I know this.... being the oldhead in an original hardcore/punk/metal band consisting aside from me of guess what... Rock Academy students, including the aforementioned son up front. If you’re so inclined, we’re Interference 845 on Youtube. The Chance show videos are the ones you wanna watch.

    TL/DR... great program and concept, but it’s what grows out of it that’s the real win.
     
    BazzaBass, alanolynn, IamBF and 6 others like this.
  8. I love old guy rant threads. That is all.
     
    Wanker_Joe, kobass, Dabndug and 33 others like this.
  9. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Chicago
    Teaching them how to make money as opposed to living in their parents' basement til their 40? Isn't that whole idea behind "school?"
     
    Dabndug, jmon, LBS-bass and 3 others like this.
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Nope. School is supposed to make you an informed, literate, functioning citizen. People choose many professions and careers that have little or no relationship to their college major.

    Thinking that education is primarily or only to get a particular job is a major problem with the way too many people think about education...it’s much more important than just job training.

    Sorry to get pedantic but that’s kind of important.

    To follow up on the actual thread, I don’t care what kind of music kids play...jazz, classical, covers, bluegrass, you name it. What matters is that they play. The rest is up to them, their interests and talents.
     
    geeza, kobass, Passinwind and 10 others like this.
  11. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Imitation has always been one of the major cornerstones of learning a skill.

    Especially musicians have done so for all of recorded music history. Imitate, assimilate, innovate.
     
  12. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Beatles, Who, Stones... and a ton of other bands with now-coveted originals catalogs all got their start, and cut their teeth, and honed their craft - doing covers. Each of those acts moved into writing originals quite early on, but they certainly didn't start that way :)
     
    hbarcat, JMacBass65, Dabndug and 14 others like this.
  13. I walk thru music stores with lessons going in the back. The material being taught is near identical to what I heard 30 years ago in the same setting.
     
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Some comments are too sad for words. :laugh:
     
  15. Great songwriters have an innate talent that transcends cover songs and other perceived stumbling blocks. Sooner or later they will seize and embrace that talent. Truly great songwriter's don't write songs because they choose to, the really good ones write songs because they have to. Otherwise, they might be jumping off a bridge somewhere. Remember, great songwriting is about speaking your truth, baring you soul, and being able to construct a compelling story around that truth. It has to ring true and storytelling is the key.

    School of rock and similar programs are great - the cream always rises to the top - when the fundamentals are there, the real songwriters will learn how to transcend and flourish.
     
  16. porterbass

    porterbass

    Jul 11, 2013
    Chicago
    I don't agree with the OP's view as this hasn't been the experience here with SoR in Chicago from what I've seen. There are quite a number of kids that I know from that program who have done and are doing very well musically, if that's the path they want to go.

    I think the value of the SoR program goes well beyond whether or not someone's path goes in the direction of writing and creating their own music. What these kids are learning are life skills that they can use in other paths. The disciplines of learning, practicing, improvement, working with others, not to mention the self-esteem benefits. Plus, as all have said, it gets them off the video games and computers, and gets them thinking and learning.

    As far as the kids who have gone the music path from the Chicago SoR, quite a few I've known going back almost 12 years have gone on to music high school and college programs, 2 in Blue Man Group, including BMG's world tour. How cool is that to be 18-21 yrs old and traveling the world on Blue Man's dime while they pay you? Having that income has allowed these guys to work on their own music while continuing to learn.

    Also, a drummer, a bass player, and a guitar player all doing world tours in good size venues, collaborative writing, and recording for a couple of up and coming well-known artists. On the side of doing all of that, they work on their own music and all support one another. One of them even has his second solo show here in Chicago this weekend and is developing his own following. We kind of chuckle in awe when we see them on tv (Colbert, Fallon, MTV, etc) because we can remember when they were 10-12 yrs old starting out in SoR. I even saw a couple of them performing on the Pepsi stage at Lollapalooza 2 yrs ago...that was so cool!

    That's another point... As these kids grew up together (they're all in their 20's now), I think one thing they've learned is to support one another, and SoR drives that. There isn't this weird competitive thing going on...over the years as they got older, they all played in each other's bands, played on each other's recordings, etc.

    Bonus that they learn rock and blues roots!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
    Plectrum72, JayLaughlin, ak56 and 4 others like this.
  17. TreySonagras

    TreySonagras

    Aug 11, 2013
    Texas
    When you start kids playing peewee football you start out with "this is the football and this is how you throw and catch it". Not, "this is how you come up with a defensive scheme to counter the Wing-T offense"
     
  18. Dr F clef

    Dr F clef

    Sep 4, 2017
    Boston, MA
    You've got to learn to walk before you run. Getting kids involved with music, especially in a group setting, is a great thing. The creative ones will soon want to go beyond playing someone else's stuff once they have achieved whatever they feel is the necessary skill level to drive that decision. Besides, there are numerous studies now demonstrating the value of playing music on the developing brain.
     
  19. As a late winter project and to deliver on a promise I got my Grandson weekly lessons at the local GC. The first song he wanted to learn was Crazy Train, I'm old and that feels like a modern song to me.
     
    Dabndug, mikewalker and Low84 like this.
  20. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    My observation is that kids today are all shepherded into adult-led activities and that includes music. Yes, they can learn chops and how to play in a band, etc. and that is great. But when I was young we did all that by ourselves with no adult supervision or direction and learned how to make our own bands, etc.
     

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