Dee Armstrong is a member of the universally successful band Kila & the founder of Rock School.
I started the Rock School about 8 years ago in response to my sons and other children’s need in the area to have some musical outlet that wasn’t classical or traditional. We, as a family were going through bereavement and some difficult times. I felt that the best medicine would be self expression, to bring inspiration into the kids lives and so thought this may be a good route. A friend of mine Bobby Lee came to visit and we did our first Rock School in one room over Glibert’s Pharmacy with a handful of kids, [thanks to Finbarr and Deirdre Ryan for that!]. We realised very quickly that we needed more rooms than that, and The Glens offered us rooms there for the next year. This arrangement has continued since then.
The idea behind the Rock School is to encourage young musicians to play together. They form small groups or bands for the week and learn two songs and write an original song. Some people write more than that! We also include voice lessons to improve singers technique and bass, guitar, keyboard and drum tutorials. We have done body percussion for several years and even swing dancing and Sean Nos dancing with Edwina Guckian. Moving the body and feeling the rhythm within the body is essential for learning music, so we always start with a physical warm up at the beginning of the day. Then the groups work on their songs for the rest of the day. Each band is assigned a tutor and is guided throughout the week. The experience has been hugely positive for all involved. Every year has been great fun and the highlight of the week is the gig at the end in the Glens Centre. This is open to parents and friends of the kids and also the general public. All the kids get to perform, some for the first time.
This year, for the first time, three past members of the Rock School will be teaching. Many people who have attended the Rock School have gone on to be musicians, either professionally or for fun. We hope this will continue!
Rock School starts on the 3rd of July until the 7th July from 10am till 4pm. Young people from the ages of 10 to 18 can apply. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for booking forms or call into The Glens Centre for forms.