School of Rock Lubbock Music Director Mark Morgan Visits With 94.5 FMX [Interview]
I had the opportunity to learn more about a music program for kids that I wish had been around when I was growing up.
School of Rock boasts around 260 locations that specialize in teaching children and adults around the globe how to rock.
Music Director Mark Morgan took some time to visit with 94.5 FMX about his role at Lubbock's School of Rock.
94.5 FMX: How did you get involved with School of Rock?
Mark Morgan: "I was hired in 2012 and I was pretty much the first instructor hired on. A buddy I played music with who was going to be the music director ended up turning the job down and recommending me for it, and that's how I got plugged in. That's been going on eight and a half years now."
I wish there had been somewhere like this growing up. What makes music lessons there with you guys better than the ones I had, which typically involved an old lady from church choir or something?
"Well, those lessons work, too. There is a place for those as well; but this is definitely different. I took more traditional lessons growing up and worked in a studio like that before I did this, and it is 100 percent not the same. When I heard about the concept, I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of because it was so different. The students start off in a band as well as private lessons."
So, you have kids just walk in never knowing how to play an instrument and put them right in a band?
"Yeah. We get them going pretty quick. It's like sports. You don't want to just practice alone. I mean, it's good too, but you are more inspired practicing around other players."
I noticed that you have different music logos on the walls in the building. Are those the same in each location? How do you decide what goes on the walls?
"The concepts are the same in each School of Rock, but every school is unique. It's not like a chain store that you walk into and everything is the same. The culture of the school is based on the location it is in. So none of them are exactly the alike."
Do the kids get a say in the songs that they learn to play together?
"Usually, but we cover a pretty wide range of material. Classic rock all the way to current stuff. This season, some of the shows include a Tom Petty show, a pop-punk show, and even a Heart show. We expose the kids to things they have never heard of or thought they didn't like and sometimes when they start digging into material sometimes they realize it is pretty cool and they surprise themselves with what they like. We have had kids grunt here and there about a song, but once they learn it and spent time with it, it can become their favorite song."
Why do you think people should send their kids to School of Rock?
"The culture of the school and how inclusive and encouraging our instructors and other students are. I mean, it feels like a family to a lot of kids that come through our doors, and to see them plugged in for years here is amazing. Everyone that walks through the door here is the cool kid, and it's a safe place for some kids that may not have many friends at school. It has definitely been a life-changing experience for me.
We don't have a high turnover rate of employment here because the people that work here love what they do. To see kids foster a love and passion for music and possibly pursue that down the road, or maybe get some kind of entrepreneurial itch and want to open their own School of Rock, has been incredibly cool. It's a cool place. A large part of our success, especially last year, was our amazing teachers. They are the best in town, hands down."
School of Rock is running some specials for lessons that you can find out more about at their official website. You can also check out this article about all the ways School of Rock is helping to keep people connected and rockin' online during the coronavirus pandemic.