Hall Road is about to get a little more rock and roll. With the soundproofing in place and the last coat of paint on its way, classes will soon be in session for the area’s newest music school.
The brainchild of Krista Droege, Meaghan DeGrave and Joe Leone, Rock & Roll Prep School is the magnum opus of three lifelong music lovers who are looking to put a rock and roll twist on traditional music education.
“I would love for this to be the place that 10 to 20 years from now, when kids are talking about where they (learned music), they all went here. It’s a reference point of their childhood,” said DeGrave, a Ferndale resident.
Located in Macomb Township at 17917 Hall Rd., in the plaza between McDonald’s and Brann’s, the school is the first of its kind in the area, combining one-on-one lessons with full band rehearsals to give students a complete musical education from technique to performance.
While the school will offer lessons for adults and eventually a Rock Tots program for children ages 2 to 5, its program primarily caters to elementary, middle and high school students. These students, who have the option to study guitar, drums, bass, keyboard, piano or vocals, are divided into rockers (middle to high school age) and rollers (elementary age) for their respective programs.
Each week, students will receive one 45-minute lesson and take part in a three-hour rehearsal with their "band", which includes up to 20 of their fellow students.
“We’re catering to both beginners and those with more experience,” said Droege, co-owner and Macomb Township resident. “(A band rehearsal) gives the more experienced students the opportunity to mentor the beginners. At the end of each semester, we’re looking at local venues and clubs where the bands can perform – Prep-a-Palooza.”
Drum teacher and music director Joe Leone said this opportunity for performance is one of the reasons he began teaching.
“It’s good for the kids because it builds their self-esteem, playing on stage with a band. It also helps them in their regular life by building their confidence,” said Leone, a St. Clair Shores resident. “I think that is more important than learning an instrument … learning to feel good about themselves.”
Every semester will offer different elements of rock and roll, with students choosing their bands based on personal music taste and schedule.
This semester, which starts Nov. 12, the Rockers will learn either Foo Fighters and Nirvana, or The Black Keys and Rolling Stones, while the Rollers will choose between The White Stripes and The Beatles.
“We’ll eventually have a varsity band that will play shows around town, too,” DeGrave said. “The ages will combine and they’ll be our promotional band. We’re planning lots of events here, too, and workshops that will teach anything from songwriting to how to make a music video. We want to teach everything. We’re cultivating little musicians.”
All of the school’s instructors are working musicians, many of whom currently play in Detroit-area rock bands, and will bring their own style and experience to the school.
“We’re creating a world of our own,” DeGrave added.
The school’s first semester starts Nov. 12 and will run 16 weeks. Lessons are offered Monday through Friday from 2 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Students interested in enrolling should call 586-846-3781 or visit the school’s open house on Nov. 10 from 1 to 5 p.m.