Kids jam out at the School of Rock
The sound system squeals at the flick of the switch, the singer's catching flak for forgetting her lyrics, and a guitar player just realized he's short a string.
Welcome to Rock Band 101.
It's a Wednesday afternoon, and Tri-City School of Music instructor Lis Schoening is overseeing a rehearsal of Noiz Pollution, a band students started in the music program that teaches voice, piano, guitar, and the School of Rock - a program for young students skilled enough to play with others and learn the basics of playing in a rock band.
"You got to learn how to set up your own stuff. They can't just come in and play," Schoening says as the kids adjust the public address system, and singer Cate McCabe, 17, informs the band they're going to start the rehearsal with Kelly Clarkson's "Addicted."
"That's the one I remember the words to the most. And you guys gotta be loud," she says.
Starting the program about four years ago, Schoening moved her Tri-City Music School to its new location at 1151 Iron Springs Road on June 23.
Noiz Pollution is the 11th band she's coached through the School of Rock, she said.
Schoening, who has played guitar in local bands like Shaky Ground, said teaching kids about the personal and technical dynamics of playing in a rock band is like passing the torch to the younger generation.
"I wish I had this when I was younger," she says.
"I'm getting to the age where no one wants to see me on stage anymore.
This way I can pass on what I know."
In the School of Rock, the kids learn aspects of jam etiquette, like backing up a soloist, the singer's performance, controlling your equipment and developing tone, communicating with other musicians, and fundamentals such as organizing rehearsal time.
"This is better than them just goofing around in the garage," Schoening says.
"My job is to have them listen and not just smashing into each other."
Aside from rock school, Schoening's program offers private instruction in piano, guitar and voice.
With software donated by the Acker Music Trust, students can follow up their lessons by competing against each other in computer sessions where they score on subjects such as beat and tempo, playing with pitch and the ABC's of keyboard.
Nicki Rice, 15, recently won first place in the category of 15 and younger in Flagstaff Rising Stars, an "American Idol" type singing competition.
Rice started taking lessons from Schoening two months ago to learn theory basics such as identifying keys and accompanying herself on piano.
Noiz Pollution is shooting for a 4.0 in the School of Rock before scheduling any actual shows.
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, 16, Noiz Pollution guitar player, said rock school helps him learn how to apply private study to performing with other people.
"It teaches me to be more of a team player," he said.
McCabe said it helps her learn to play with other people and overcome stage fright.
"The more things you do outside your range, the better you get. Besides that - it's way fun."
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