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Hagerstown gets its own school of rock

December 28, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

A new rock 'n' roll school is hoping to strike a chord in Hagerstown.

Hagerstown Rock School will open Jan. 8, co-owner Kate Rader said.

Students will learn to sing and play instruments — drums, guitar, bass and keyboard — during three-month semesters throughout the year.

One difference between this and other music programs is that students will form bands and perform at the end of the semester, Rader said.

Scott Fisher, the other co-owner, is the music director.

Fisher said he used to play guitar with a band called Foam that had a recording contract with a division of Sony. He said Foam toured with several well-known bands, such as Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20 and Creed.

He said the "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" video-game craze has sparked enthusiasm among hopeful rock stars, but young people need to learn to play music, not just pretend with a toy.

The tuition is $600 per semester for a basic package, including a private lesson a week, band instruction each Saturday and a confidence-building performance before hundreds of people at the end of the semester.

Rader said the school probably will hold the finale show at Cancun Cantina in Hagerstown to give musicians a true sense of performing at a venue.

There also is a VIP package that costs $750 a semester. Additional benefits include T-shirts, a photo shoot and poster of the band, as well as discounts on merchandise.

Rader is the owner and publisher of RidgeRunner Publishing, the parent company of Hagerstown Magazine and other niche magazines.

She and Fisher went to high school together in Middletown, Md. They reconnected after several years through Facebook.

Fisher used to teach at a local branch of the Paul Green School of Rock, which is nationwide.

He said Rader wanted to do an article about the school, but the more they talked, the more they thought about jointly opening their own school.

Rader, a music fan, said Hagerstown Rock School fits her publishing company's mission.

"I'm all about trying to encourage creative talent in the community," she said.

The school's definition of "rock 'n' roll" will be broad — including the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, '80s hair bands, Kings of Leon, The Killers and more.

Students' abilities will range, too. Some will know how to play and will learn to be in a band. Others will play an instrument or sing for the first time, Fisher said.

Hagerstown Rock School and Carpenter's World of Music in Hagerstown will jointly offer instrument rentals for those who don't have one.

The school is on the first floor of the Aspiring to Serve building at 140 W. Franklin St. in Hagerstown. There will be several practice rooms, a main performance room and a lounge.

The school's opening event on Jan. 8 will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will include tours, mini lessons and live music. Rader said the school will give discounts to people who sign up that day, including a waiver of the one-time $50 registration fee.

Rader said the school also expects to have clinics and weeklong summer camps.

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To find out more about Hagerstown Rock School, call 301-790-0301 or go to www.htownrockschool.com.

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