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Memphis school champions unique approach to music education

“There’s really nothing else like this where you can get through a program, onto a stage.”

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis is known to many as the birthplace of Rock and Roll, a genre that still sees an influence in the city.

Over the past decade the School of Rock has been using it to help foster the next generation of musicians.

“There’s really nothing else like this where you can get through a program, onto a stage,” said Ava Tignor, Student at School of Rock.

The three local locations are owned by Memphis native Marc Gurley, who has been using the School of Rock method to teach music to people of all ages.

“It’s actually patented. All of our students, really from the youngest, most beginner level, are also part of performing groups,” said Gurley.

Together the bands practice, bond and eventually perform in front of crowds across the country and even the world. Back at home, their guides through this journey are Memphis musicians themselves.

“Music is such a part of our DNA,” said Gurley.

“They’re working musicians.  Pretty much everyone here is gigging every other weekend, or has gigs after work, and just actively in the community of music,” said Boone Nobert, School of Rock Vocal Instructor.

“And it’s just really cool to me that these people who are just so in where I want to be,” said Tignor.

Since 2012, the graduates of the School of Rock have made their way into the Memphis music community.

“I have some of the better known bands in Memphis are former School of Rock students. There’s a band called Jombie, and they’re having huge success here, all former School of Rock students,” said Gurley.

Graduates have even found their way back to the school as well.

“When I started teaching it was like ‘Wow! All the stuff I was taught I’m repeating,” said Nobert.

Helping show students that to some degree, there can always be a little bit of music in everyone’s life.

“This is an important step towards scholarships and music programs as prestigious as Berkley and Belmont,” said Gurley

“This has helped me realize it’s not just like a pipedream, it can actually happen to people and it’s happened for people here,” said Tignor.

If you’d like to see some of the bands in action, the School of Rock will be performing at the Meddlesome Brewery Meandering 0.5K. That will be November 5th at Meddlesome Brewery in Cordova from 5-8 pm.

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