BY BENJAMIN MANDILE
The COVID-19 pandemic might be stopping people from going to work and congregating, but it’s not stopping School of Rock students from practicing and jamming together thanks, to a phone application and online classes.
School of Rock, a nationwide chain of schools that teaches musicians, has partnered with the Hal Leonard Corporation to create a proprietary application for recording and learning music while social distancing measures are being observed.
Students record themselves in the safety of their home with the School of Rock Method App before the instructors compile the audio and video sections of the band into a full-band recording.
Playing with others is an “integral” part of the method School of Rock uses for music education, said Rob Price, CEO of School of Rock. Using the application allows the music schools to foster connection while students are forced to remain apart.
The 280 schools nationwide have been teaching music remotely for its 40,000 students with 5,000 virtual classes being taught each day. The schools accomplish this by using video conferencing between students and the instructors along with the new application.
School of Rock Queens started with 70 students at its Whitestone location but has only had 42 students participating in the online lessons early last month. Despite only having about 40 students in the online classes the school has had more students attend other events through online platforms in early May.
“It’s convenient to not have to leave the house,” said Evelyn Canada, a student of School of Rock Queens.
She said that once the school physically opens up she would like to start attending in person again, but that for the “master class” it would not differ much from the online learning.
School of Rock Queens instructors have said teaching remotely is interesting and has its pros and cons.
Cotter Champlin, an instructor teaching from his home in Wayland, NY, said that having no commute is a positive aspect of remote teaching, but not having teacher and student interaction in person is a drawback to remote lessons.
“It can often critically enhance the lesson,” said Cotter of in-person interactions.
Sebastian Danalis, an instructor from Bayside believes the app makes the transition to remote teaching easier.
“The app for sure has made the transition to remote lessons a lot easier,” Danalis said. “Having the songs we are working on fully transcribed is great for them to learn at their own pace.”
Safe practices after moving locations
School of Rock Queens had been set to open this spring but due to the pandemic it now expects to open later this Summer at its Bayside location, according to Karen Flyer, general manager of School of Rock Queens.
When the Bayside location opens, it will ensure safe practices to protect its students and families from the spread of viruses.
These practices include requiring masks be worn, not sharing instruments, sanitizing surfaces and working with a medical professional to create safe regulations shared among all 280 schools nationwide. They will also only be teaching lessons after opening and will not be hosting any other events.
Dr. Nina Shapiro has been working with School of Rock corporate to implement safe regulations for holding in-person classes.
How to get involved
Flyer said that anyone who wants to pick up learning an instrument while social distancing is welcome to join online classes to prepare for joining a band at the school once they learn the basics of the instrument.
School of Rock Queens signed up four new students in late April and early May to start taking online classes.
“Some people are at home and they don’t have anything to do,” said Flyer. “So it’s actually a great time to pick up music lessons.”
Those interested in joining School of Rock Queens can reach out to Flyer at [email protected] or call 929-999-7625.