They may be kids, some as young as 10, but these kids are legit. One writer checks out the show they’ve rehearsed so hard for and the student-centric program supporting these future rock stars.
By David Cadiente
School of Rockin’
Vasilis Isaakidis is very proud of Elite Music Academy located at 822 Danforth Ave, at Pape and Danforth. At their Rock Camp program and weekly jam sessions, kids ages 10-17 form bands, hone skills with professional teachers, practice popular rock songs, and eventually perform in front of friends and parents. Isaakidis is against parents “who insist on having their children play classical music.” Instead, he believes in catering to the student’s needs and aspirations, stating that the classical way of teaching is “obsolete.” Michael Shapinko, a teacher at the program, says, “Kids are in love with the idea of being rock stars, and this is the closest that they will ever be able to get for now.”
Character and Life Experiences
Shapinko talks about a drummer who was “very rough around the edges, having trouble keeping time, and just generally shy.” He spent a lot of time working to get his technique tighter and eventually opened up. To the surprise of his parents, he even volunteered to sing one of the songs when nobody else would.
Most parents give great feedback and recognize the outside-the-box thinking Isaakidis and his teachers strive for – they appreciate the character and life experiences students gain from forming a band – but, dealing with the inevitable why-didn’t-my-child-get-to-solo-more parent “comes with the job,” says Isaakidis.
The Show Must Go On
When the kids hit the stage at Bad Dog Theatre (138 Danforth Ave, at Broadview/Danforth), it’s clear that rhythm was emphasized during practices. Drummers and bassists were locked in the rhythm and guitarists seamlessly meshed with them to create a solid foundation for vocalists and soloists.
In the future, the school hopes to put on bigger shows with more lights, more bands, and maybe even battle-of-the-bands competitions with scholarships as prizes. No matter how old you are it’s never too early to get out of the practice room, start a band, rock out, and actually make music an important part of your life.