"I wish I had School of Rock when I was growing up."
- Why SOR
If you’re raising your budding rocker in the Princeton/Hamilton Township areas of New Jersey, then they should have two things: An understanding of New Jersey’s musical legacy and the right start with music lessons in the School of Rock’s Rock 101 program.
While everyone knows that our state gave its start to Springsteen and Bon Jovi, many people don’t know that Bill Haley and the Comets debuted “Rock Around the Clock” in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1954 (Southwest Shore of New Jersey). It was the beginning for a song that would become legendary in the annals of rock and roll. That song may have been rudimentary by today’s rock and roll standards, but big things often have small beginnings. The same can be said of your budding rocker when they start out in our Rock 101 program.
In Rock 101, students at the Princeton School of Rock will master the basics while playing actual rock music. Our Rock 101 music program includes:
When they are ready, they can move into our Rock 102 / performance program where the emphasis is on the group dynamic and doing live shows. While the songs and performers of rock and roll are as varied as the music legends that have called New Jersey home, the universality of music and its connections all begin with playing together in a band setting.
For instance, the connections between New Jersey rockers like Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Southside Johnny, and Bon Jovi are pretty obvious. The connection of the ‘working man’s’ rock and roll styles that they all share and the fact that they are all guitar players that have been band leaders as well as members.
Like Rock and Roll itself, the School of Rock is bigger than a single genre because of the interconnectedness of many forms of music. That’s why it’s important for your young rocker to understand that music roots and guitar roots go much deeper in New Jersey with greats like Les Paul, Joe Pass and John “Bucky” Pizzarelli coming up in the Garden State. While considered jazz players, their innovations spread into rock and in the case of Paul built the foundation for modern multi-track rock recording.
Fusion guitarists like New Jersey native Al Di Meola was definitely among the many guitarists influenced by these men who took rock into new territory with fusion guitar—a meld of rock and jazz. Di Meola was a pioneer in what became known as the ‘shred’ guitar style of playing which influenced other guitarists such as Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi and a whole host of rock guitarists in the 80’s and 90’s.
Other notable guitarists, bassist and drummers from New Jersey include Robert and Dean DeLeo founding bass and guitar player respectively for Stone Temple Pilots, and Trey Anastasio (Fish). Female rock and roll innovators from New Jersey aren’t in short supply either. Native Born New Jersey artists like Debbi Harry, Kate Pierson of the B-52’s, Patti Smith, and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs show how rock and roll can be a woman’s domain while also showing how to expand the genre.
No matter the genre it’s all about learning the fundamentals of their chosen instrument, learning what it means to play in a band, and moving on to a more performance-based band setting. At the School of Rock in Princeton New Jersey, our Rock 102 program / performance program is a microcosm experience of the lifelong journey taken by New Jersey’s greatest hometown musical heroes.
The list is long, mighty and varied with plenty of keyboardists across many eras such as James P Johnson, Count Basie, Bill Evans, and Donald Fagen. Just two of the bands that got their start beyond The E Street Band and Bon Jovi in New Jersey include The Smithereens and My Chemical Romance among others.
Famed Bluegrass/Newgrass mandolinist David Grisman was in a psychedelic rock group with Jerry Garcia of the grateful dead in 1967. His own brand of fusion known as "Dawg Music" brings folk, rock, jazz country and bluegrass together in ways never before heard.
Singers and singer songwriters are well represented with Frank Sinatra, Sara Vaughan, Rick Nelson, Lesley Gore, Tommy James, Frankie Valli, Fred Schneider (B-52’s), Paul Simon, and Whitney Houston hailing from New Jersey. Princeton New Jersey-born singer songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter knows a thing or two about connections. Often pigeonholed as a country artist, many reviewers of her early albums heard the Beatles, Motown and Beach Boys influences in her early work.
Of course the list goes on and on with many other groups and musicians born in the state and calling it home for a big part of their lives. Your young player will be part of a long and proud tradition of big talents that also started learning the basics of their instrument from skilled instructors both formally and informally. 2015 is the time to sign them up for music lessons in our Rock 101 Program so that they can start their own musical journey. Just remember that as we said, big things one day come from small beginnings.
At the School of Rock in Hamilton NJ, we’ll start you on the right foot as you start on the path to becoming a skilled musician via fun and challenging music lessons. To learn how to get started in our Rookies, Rock 101 program, with private lessons or our other performance programs for advanced players, give us a call today at 609-890-7090 or visit us at 3570 Quakerbridge Road in Hamilton, NJ 08619.
"Amazing things happen when students enter the School of Rock. They transform from kids taking music lessons to performing musicians. What sets this program apart from other music schools is that in addition to regular instruction the students participate in weekly show rehearsals. It is in these rehearsals where the students help push each other to grow and make the songs come together. The outcome is not recital - the outcome is a full fledged rock concert!"
— Karen Reading, Princeton, NJ