Rockville Centre, NY and Huntington, NY-- When you visit Monica Rubin’s School of Rock locations, the experience is different. Her unique approach is helping to truly foster the next generation of great artists and is redefining music education. Through a performance-based curriculum, students are guided from the lesson room to the stage where they play real shows at authentic venues with their peers. School of Rock’s collaborative environment inspires students to learn and excel and instills a confidence they carry with them for the rest of their lives.
For instance, on July 1st thru July 7th 2019, several young artists from the Rockville Centre and Huntington schools got their first taste of what the rock star touring life is all about. The forward thinking and creative owner of these two School of Rock locations set up a string of shows in Ohio, DC, Berwyn, Wildwood and Easton. The tour is offered for their audition scholarship team - the house band who are carefully selected after an extensive audition process.
Monica has been the brainchild and the workhorse behind setting up these tours, as well as the thought leader for the many other unique and interesting initiatives that are in place year round - including previous performance dates for students at The Bitter End in New York City where they expertly performed everything from AC/DC, Aerosmith VS Guns N Roses, Brit Rock, 90’s Rock, Maiden vs Priest, NY State of Mind and Deep Purple.
The Performance Program is School of Rock's hallmark music program, where tens of thousands of students enroll each year. It consists of a weekly private lesson and a group rehearsal where kids between the ages of 7 and 19 learn by playing rock music's most iconic songs with a band composed of their peers. Students are assigned songs and parts that are tailored to them based on their age, experience, and ability to learn new skills and concepts. Students then work through their parts in weekly private music lessons, and refine the skills and concepts that those songs introduce. The goal of this curriculum is to prepare kids and teens for live performances. Every few months, Performance Program students take the stage and play at music venues in Manhattan, Long Island and/or Brooklyn.
The instructors at both locations hold impressive music degrees and are active touring musicians. Many are from well known New York bands The Inoculated Canaries, Craving Strange, In Loving Memory, Ellis-Ashbrook, the list goes on.
It is her passion for the program but more importantly for the students that sets her schools apart. Monica tells her story in her own words.
“I cannot tell you that from a young age I knew that this was where I wanted to be, but in truth, my life has always lead me to this. I grew up in a talented home, that is everyone had musical talent except me. My dad, a self taught musician, could play anything you put in front of him. I, on the other hand,was musically challenged. I would sing (and still do) at the top of my lungs not really caring that I was pitchy and off beat. My parents sent me for piano lessons even though I wanted to play the drums. After the second month, the instructor told me he would pay me to stop going if I promised not to tell anyone I had been his student. True story!! Our son Michael became interested in playing the guitar at a young age. When I say young I mean he literally played the guitar on my rib cage while I was pregnant with him! My husband, Gene and I encouraged him to play but quickly realized that taking lessons just wasn't enough. Coming home and practicing on his own wasn't fun. We live in a society that encourages sports and supports athletes but musicians are usually forgotten”.
Monica continued, “Like most of you, I turned to my dear trusty friend Google to help us solve the problem. I asked Google what we could do to "help our child find other kids to play music with." Google replied "School of Rock." I was in disbelief. Google had made a mistake! We all know that School of Rock was a movie, how would that help my child? What I didn't know was that the movie resulted from an actual school. THE SCHOOL OF ROCK! We quickly scheduled an appointment thinking this was all just too good to be true. I had no idea that Google had not only changed my son's life, but the life of my entire family!”
On her son, Ms. Rubin remarked, “Michael was the "different" one in the Catholic schools he attended. A straight A student never in trouble always on the verge of suspension because, unlike the others, he had long curly hair that somehow was against school policy . An original artist in a touring band as young as 13, his hair was part of his image. The principal, the monsignor and the staff throughout elementary school and high school always targeted him because of his hair. The simple solution of having him tie it neatly would not satisfy administration. Aren't we, the adults, supposed to encourage our kids to be themselves and let their individuality shine? They made those years very difficult for him over the length of his hair!”.
She added, “As a parent, as his mom, I wanted a place where Michael could be himself. I watch him today as a brilliant musician and his confidence both on the stage and in life. In my heart I know that his School of Rock experience was part of it.”
In closing Monica said, “Throughout Michael's years at School of Rock I turned my photography toward the concert world. I was not only fortunate to have met some incredible artists, but I am lucky to now call them my friends. They introduced me to the music business teaching me about recording, managing, touring, the list goes on. It was around this time that Michael's band, The Inoculated Canaries started to develop into more than a garage band. It was at this time that Gene told me he knew what my calling was, he was right! We started our School of Rock knowing that it would change the lives of those who walked through our doors. Our school is a clubhouse for our students. They have a place to express themselves musically and are challenged by the incredible teachers that are here. Together, we are the School of Rock Rockville Centre, Huntington and soon to be Syosset/Oyster Bay family.”
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For More on School of Rock Huntington: https://locations.schoolofrock.com/huntington
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About School of Rock:
School of Rock is a music school for all skill levels, ages, and musical aspirations. With students ranging from toddlers to adults, School of Rock is where music students grow into real musicians.