The Staten Island School of ROCK. Lessons taught in Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Bass and Drums. Not Just a Lesson...an Experience.
A few years ago I walked into a music store [Yea a music store. You know the kind. Instruments for sale up front, lessons in a 4×4 storage area] and happened to see a drum lesson taking place. There was a drum instructor and student. Both were playing on practice pads. If you don’t know what a practice pad is, it is a pad most drummers use to warm up and play rudiments, or they are used when you can’t play too loud. Then I looked around and saw no drum set! I wondered how in the world can you teach drums without a drum set. Well, that’s not how we teach you how to play drums!
Our dedicated drum room is setup with not one, but two drum kits. Each drum set faces each other. Why do we do that? Well it is a lot easier to teach a student to play drums while watching your teacher. If the only tools you had to learn to play drums was a practice pad or snare drum, how could you possibly learn coordination? You drummers know what I mean. You need to play the kick drum with your right foot, the snare with your left hand, hi-hats with your right hand, left foot holds the hi-hat pedal down. That’s a lot of coordination. And that’s how we teach you. All hands (and feet) on ?
There is a lot that goes into our lessons. Besides learning how to play some great beats, there are certain things drummers must have. And that is perfect timing. When playing drums it is important you play with a metronome. The job of the metronomes is to provide you a constant beat in perfect time. This is how you will learn to play in perfect time. Without perfect timing, playing with other musicians can be very difficult. Remember, the drummer is the foundation of the band. Without the tools to provide that strong foundation, you’ll find it very hard to play with others.
All of our drum instructors come with many years of studio, session and touring experience. Playing drums is important and so is all of the other things you’ll need to learn as a drummer. Let’s say your band is cutting your first music video. That is not easy for you drummers. As a drummer you need to be in perfect synch to the music video. That means playing with a click track while the video is being filmed! I can tell you that is a difficult task! And then there are recording sessions. You’ll need to know how to position your mic’s for each drum. It may even take hours to get that great drum sound. Our teachers have thousands of hours of recording experience that you get to take advantage of. We’ll teach everything that works and doesn’t work when recording drums.
As you can see, we offer more than just a drum lesson. We offer you the experience of playing drums just like the pros!
There are a few ways to teach someone how to play piano. Most schools will focus on reading for almost a year before you actually learn how to play a song…not a song that you like, but a song from your music book. I know that’s not how I’d like to learn how to play the piano!
Learning an instrument should be fun. You should also learn to play the music that inspired you to want to play. When we teach you to play piano we will teach you to play the songs you want to learn. While teaching you songs we also teach you the music theory behind it.
Let me explain.
Let’s say you’re learning to play a song you just heard on the radio. While we are teaching you the song we are also teaching you the chords that are played. We will explain what chord is a major chord, which chord is minor. What makes the difference between major and minor chords? We’ll teach you the key that the song is in and what scales you can play in that key. I guess you can say we sneak in some music theory while you learn. We do this so you will be able to use these songs as a learning foundation. It is much easier to teach someone to play an instrument while learning something they like, then teaching them to learn something they don’t like.
At the Staten Island School of Rock we know there are a few options on what type of piano’s you can learn on. We prefer teaching on a weighted key piano. So what’s a weighted key piano you ask? Weighted keys are keys that are actually found on acoustic (grand piano/upright piano) pianos. It is a lot easier to build finger strength on a weighted piano then on a keyboard. We have found this to be the best approach to teaching piano.
How is our approach to teaching guitar and bass so much different from our competition? You’ve probably seen it dozens of times. Music schools showing their instructors playing sweep arpeggios, blazing through major scales and tapping like Eddie Van Halen. Cool right? Well, yeah, if you already know how to do that. But then it gets better…The instructor in the video shows you the notes he (or she) is playing in slow motion. After an hour or so you finally get this awesome part down. Now what? You go to rehearsal with your band and you say; “Hey guys, look what I can do! I just learned this from my guitar teacher. He even has a Youtube channel with these really awesome guitar riffs. You should have a look”. So your bass player, rhythm guitar player and piano player ask; “That is great…let’s put that in our new song! What key is it in? What chords should we play in the background?” And your response; “Hmmmm good question…there was no mention of that in any of the lessons I took!”
So what good is any of that without understanding music? If you are not taught what to play over, who will you play with? Fortunately that’s what we do best at the Staten Island School of Rock. We teach you how to play all of those cool riffs in addition to the rhythm tracks that will support your soloing.
After all, how many songs have a 5 minute guitar solo? Not many. Isn’t it best to know what to play when you aren’t playing lead guitar? We offer some pretty cool backing tracks when we teach those cool sweep arpeggios and those blazing major scales. This way you get to hear what you will sound like when playing with your band! Make sense? We think it does! And as a bonus we can email you those backing tracks so you can practice your lesson all week! You see, your lesson doesn’t end at the end of your half hour or hour, it just begins.
There are so many aspects of vocal lessons. Between warming up and drills, to breathing techniques and performance, the Saten Island School of Rock focuses on all of it. We recommend full hour lessons for those interested in taking vocal lessons. Spending an ample amount of time warming up before the lesson begins will ensure you do not damage your voice. It also makes for a good routine every time you are about to sing or perform. Many schools will focus on just singing. That isn’t too bad, after all that’s what you’re going to lessons for. But what happens when it is time to perform live or write your first song? Or better yet record your first song? And what about harmonies? You’ll need some music theory to help out when it comes to harmonizing.
At the Staten Island School of Rock, our vocal coaches integrate piano when teaching you how to sing. Understanding what notes to sing and what notes make up what chords is crucial to singing. How else can you write harmonies if you don’t know what notes are in the chords you’re singing over? Good question, right?
Fortunately our vocal coaches come with many years of recording and writing experience as well as live performance experience. Most times your vocal lessons will be recorded. There are so many techniques involved when recording vocals that are just as important as learning to sing.
And of course there are our Staten Island School of Rock performances we do every two months. Getting on stage and performing with a band is what it is all about! These performances gives you the opportunity to get up on stage and sing your heart out! What good is learning to sing if you can’t get on stage with a band and perform? After you do it once, you’ll want to do it all the time!
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