Music Magnified: Schoolhouse Rock

August March
4 min read
The Steve Beneath
School of Rock’s Steve Civerolo in The Ground Beneath mode (Courtesy of the artist)
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Imagine a community where young musicians are nurtured, taught the basics of the business and given the opportunity to bring their talents to fruition among peers and adults who provide access and advancement. Such a scenario is not far-fetched. It’s about to begin its realization in Burque. The School of Rock’s mission is to provide a learning environment both cool and profound for the next generation of rockers. Alibi spoke with School of Rock owner Robert Montoya and guitar instructor/resident shredder Steve Civerolo about what to expect when the Albuquerque iteration of the storied school for the development of rocanrol skills launches on Saturday, August 29.

Alibi: Steve you’re a familiar face in the Albuquerque music community, known for your work with metal maniacs The Ground Beneath. Tell our readers about your transition from player to teacher.

Steve: The Ground Beneath hasn’t played a show in about 10 months. I had a devastating neck injury and had to spend months recuperating in my recliner. This is the perfect opportunity to get me back to a musical frame of mind. If I do play out again, it’s because School of Rock got me back into plugging in guitars and teaching kids how to play.

Who else is involved in teaching rock music at your school?

Robert: Our teachers are gigging musicians. That’s a great aspect of the school. The kids can look up to them and say, ‘I wanna be like that!’ Jackie Gillespie and Reba Phillips are our vocal teachers. We have Mindy Hoerter; she’s our resident bassist. Gilby Villa is another of our fine guitar instructors. Tony Neal is our keyboard instructor and Pete Tauzer handles percussion studies.

Given all that local talent, what’s the focus of instruction at School of Rock?

Steve: We serve students from two years old through adults. We have several different programs. Our Little Wing Program is designed for learners aged 2-5. There, we teach basics of music and rhythm through classic rock. We use games and formal instruction to teach music and instill a sense of community —how to get along. Then we have our Rookies Program for 6-7-year-olds. This is where students begin to study specific instruments and the basics of music theory. Rock 101 is designed for youths 8-12 years of age. It’s a performance based classroom experience. We mix up private lessons with ensemble playing in Rock 101. With School of Rock, the objective is to put students in a band situation as soon as possible. They all perform in a concert at the end of the semester. The cool thing is that we are performance oriented.

Touring your facility, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the great gear and awesome environment on hand. How did that come about?

Robert: We scoured the internet and local stores for the best equipment for our students. We want our School of Rock to reflect quality instruction and a commitment to providing excellent tools for learning and performance. The right equipment is important. We have two big rehearsal rooms, five one-on-one lesson and practice rooms and two fully outfitted drum rooms.

What sort of buzz has all of this preparation and attention to detail generated in the community?

Steve: It’s amazing, over the top. All the media attention has been a blast. More importantly, people sense that there is nothing like this in town. I find myself wondering—listening to all these kids jamming out and having fun—where was this when I was young? When folks come and see all of this in action, they get hooked. Parents come in with their kids; they’re blown away and the community is enriched as a result.

School of Rock is located at 6409 Candelaria Road NE. For more information about their programs, call 505-842-7331. Rock on!

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