Chapel Hill
School of Rock

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Chapel Hill

IN THE PRESS

Get To Know Your Rock 101 Instructors

get to know your rock 101 instructors

We've got 4 different Rock 101 groups and this talented group of instructors are leading the way. Read below to learn more about them!

Justin ellis

Mondays 3:45-5:15PM

Justin playing with his Rock 101 group.

jerry renshaw

Tuesdays and Wednesdays 4:30-6:00PM

Jerry playing with his band.

Avery linderman

Tuesdays 4:30-6:00PM and Saturdays 10:00-11:30AM

christian cail

Saturdays 10:00-11:30AM

what first got you interested in music?

justin ellis

Music has always been a big part of my childhood, as my dad was a jazz bassist and my mother was a competitive ballroom dancer. They signed me up for a children's music group lessons when I was 5 or 6, which gave me permission to be noisy at home from then on. I picked up the recorder super quickly in elementary school, so at my teacher's recommendation, my parents put me in magnet schools for 6th-12th grades to maximize my potential. That environment got me into saxophone and voice pretty seriously in middle school. I quickly got tired of not playing an instrument that I could play while singing, and around that time got turned onto the Beatles in the 8th grade. I sold my saxophone, bought a bass, and had my dad teach me. That was 15 years ago, and I'm still learning new songs and new instruments to this day. Almost the entirety of my music education came from my parents or public school arts funding, and I'm super proud and thankful of that. 

jerry renshaw

My older brother's a guitar player and has been playing since I was a little kid, plus I played piano for several years as a kid. 

Avery linderman

My dad was a drummer, and he bought us a little drum set and had me listen to all kinds of classic rock when I was young. 

Christian cail

Hearing Kashmir by Led Zeppelin. I never heard anything like that and wanted to engage with whatever it was in some way.

what's your favorite thing about teaching?

justin ellis

My favorite thing about teaching is seeing young minds of any age grasp and understand techniques and songs that I've been doing for quite some time. I especially like the overwhleming positivity of someone discovering the music of The Beatles or Led Zeppelin or literally any other classic artist, because I know and remember what it was like to hear those songs for the first time ever, and having this desire to play them myself, and even write my own music. My students allow me to rediscover so much music that made me who I am, and it gives me all the fuzzies. 

jerry renshaw

Seeing young players get inspired, get curious, and take off on their instruments. 

avery linderman

My favorite thing is helping students have "lightbulb" moments when they learn something new that excites them to practice and play music. 

christian cail

Seeing people understand a concept and become excited or sure of themselves. It's exciting to see kids engage with the world and their peers in a society dominated by technology and alienation. 

what's the best part about rock 101?

justin ellis

I think the best part about Rock 101 is that there is such a variety in skill level in the group, despite everyone being roughly the same age, and it's totally not an issue. It's really great to see the slightly more experienced kids showing the newcomers the ropes of their respective instruments, and the beginners gain some invaluable experience playing with people who have a better mastery of the instrument. I still play in bands where someone else is a better musician than me, and nothing helps me grow better. 

jerry renshaw

I love it when 101ers actually keep each other motivated and are so tuned-in with each other that they go their own direction.

avery linderman

Rock 101 is great because it helps musicians learn at a very young age what it is like to play in a group!

christian cail

Finishing a song and it sounding great.

if you could pick any song for rock 101 to learn next, what would it be?

justin ellis

I would love to see the students learn songs that were "big" when I was coming up, just to kinda break from classic rock and current radio hits. Loads of really great mid-2000's indie anthems like MGMT's "Time To Pretend," Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Gold Lion," and Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" come to mind. 

jerry renshaw

"Keep A Knockin'" by Little Richard (we do need another 12 bar blues song). 

avery linderman

It would be "Dream On" by Aerosmith.

christian cail

"Communication Breakdown" by Led Zeppelin or something like that could be fun. Something lively and energizing. The youngsters probably would like some more modern tunes, so I should listen to newer stuff for that reason. 

what would you name your rock 101 band?

justin ellis

Our Rock 101 group meets on Mondays, and it's a really great start to the week, so it's a major bummer that the band name Happy Mondays already exists. Maybe Happy Mondays 2. Or Garfield and the Mondays.

jerry renshaw

Oh, I'll have to think about this some more. 

avery linderman

The Yung Rockerz

christian cail

Comissariat of People's Musical Edification or something silly and pretentious. 

why should beginners join the group?

justin ellis

They should join the Monday group because we're all really nice, and it's the best way to start the week. Beginners should join Rock 101 as a whole because I found all my best friends in the world from playing music with them. The communication between musicians is the most amazing secret language, and as much as I love playing music by myself at home, there's nothing like being noisy with a bunch of people just like me. 

jerry renshaw

Rock 101 is the perfect way to learn how to play in a band format and gain the listening skills and teamwork that players need - and in the end, 101ers' bands can come up with something everyone can feel justifiably proud of. 

avery linderman

They should join because it is a great chance to meet other young musicians and to begin to learn some great rock music with others.  

christian cail

Because, plainly, you get to play music with some cool kids and learn a lot in the process. Playing music with people is a unique experience no one should pass up. So here's the better question: why NOT join?!

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