Bach to Rock is a vibrant music studio nestled in the heart of Encinitas. It offers kids (and adults) a fun location to explore musical creativity. With eight lesson rooms, one group piano/DJ class room, a stage room, and a recording studio – all used for lessons and classes – Bach to Rock is outfitted to stoke musical imagination and achievement. Whether parents are looking for individual or group lessons for their children (or adults want a music studio that connects with their goals), the Bach to Rock step-by-step teaching method, with rewards built in along the way, is what keeps students engaged and eager to stick to their lessons and practice.
Bach to Rock is a national brand, originating on the East Coast and has been successfully growing its franchise locations since 2012. Local owner, Rick Walker, was thrilled to bring the music school brand to Encinitas in 2017. Currently, with a total of 60 B2R schools around the country – 50 franchised locations and 10 corporately held – the brand has been known to turn out musicians and musical acts that receive local acclaim.
Meet the Owner and Site Director
Rick Walker – Owner, Bach to Rock, Encinitas
In fact, look no further than the owner to appreciate that level of musical achievement! Rick played saxophone and guitar as a child and found a home in several bands through the years. He performs widely around San Diego, often with indie-rock band Sometimes Julie.
Clair Allison – Site Manager, Bach to Rock, Encinitas
Clair Allison is the Bach to Rock Encinitas Site Director. Clair’s musical background is impressive. She began studying the cello at age 11. Clair earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Point Loma Nazarene University and is also an accomplished vocalist who you’ll find performing locally. Her professional history includes serving as co-director of the North County Children’s Choir.
Personally, as a mom with boys who have taken piano lessons through the years, I was eager to ask Clair questions to satisfy my own curiosities. I thought her responses would be helpful for many parents who want to learn about B2R specifically and understand the role music education plays in a child’s development and life.
María: What is the Bach to Rock philosophy of teaching music?
Clair: Our goal is to make learning music fun! We strive to create well-rounded musicians who can not only read sheet music and demonstrate beautiful technique, but can also improvise and jam with their friends!
It sounds like fun is a key component to lessons at Bach to Rock. My kids have taken lessons at other music schools. Witnessing the after-school buzz in the B2R studio, I do see a striking difference between some of the other schools and the Bach to Rock experience. It must be fun for the instructors, too – making the enjoyment of music the key ingredient to enhance student participation and enthusiasm.
Clair: It represents instruction of all genres from the classical greats, to modern day rock stars! It also ties into our teaching method; learning technique and theory through songs that students are excited to learn and play!
María: How does learning a musical instrument benefit a child’s development (neurologically, emotionally, and physically)?
Clair: There are so many benefits! A music education can lead to stronger language capabilities, improved memory, and strengthened hand-eye coordination. The discipline needed to learn an instrument can also build a student’s problem solving and study skills, and playing in a group can boost a student’s social skills and ability to work in a team.
I knew that was the right question to ask! I appreciate the way you connected specific attributes to practical outcomes that benefit kids. As a parent, those are the important elements of musical knowledge that encourage us to enroll our kids in lessons!
María: What advice would you give parents who aren’t sure if music lessons are a good fit for their child?
Clair: Music isn’t always an immediate result type of activity, but even for those who only play for fun every so often, learning music unlocks the keys to learning anything! It is a great way to practice patience, cognitive skills and pattern recognition. Trying out some different instruments and lessons before enrolling ongoing is a great way to test the field and see what sticks and what doesn’t with your student!
Once again, some great info that parents can use to make decisions about trying out lessons. I often think people give up prematurely, when parents are expecting music to be an immediate-result activity. They back out before the good stuff has a chance to build. The cognition, recognizing patterns and developing patience components are excellent music education byproducts.
María: What advice would you give parents who aren’t sure if music lessons are a good fit for their child?
Clair: It is always great when students and parents for a special bond and look forward to not only the lessons but practicing at home. Nothing makes us teachers happier to hear that kids are excited, having fun and looking forward to lessons every week. Thankfully, our great staff gets this kind of feedback frequently!
María: Speaking of instructors, how many do you have on staff?
Clair: Currently, we have 14 instructors on staff.
María: Overall, what types of music-education background do your instructors have?
Clair: Generally, our instructors have completed, or are finishing, their bachelor’s degree in music.
All About the Instruments
María: What musical instruments do instructors teach?
Clair: We offer lessons in nearly any instrument you could want! Of course, we offer lessons in the traditional rock band instruments, such as guitar, drums, voice, keys, and bass, but we also offer many classical instruments as well! We teach strings, brass, and woodwinds, along with banjo, ukulele, accordion, and mandolin!
María: Do students need to bring their instruments to lessons?
Clair: We encourage students to bring their own instrument, as long as it is mobile and small enough. Students should bring their own guitar or violin, but don’t need to bring their own piano or drums.
María: Is there a particular instrument that is a gateway to other instruments? That is, if you know _________ (instrument) you can definitely play __________ (instrument)?
Clair: One example of a great beginner instrument that translates wonderfully to other instruments is the ukulele. From there, students have a great gateway to guitar, bass, or just about any other fretted instrument. Another instrument that will lay a good foundation is the piano. Since it is all laid out in front of the student, it is a more approachable way to learn the basics of rhythm, pitch, and notation, which are all skills that will translate to just about any other instrument, or even to DJ and music production!
María: Do you offer voice lessons?
Clair: Yes, absolutely! We offer private voice lessons for 30-minutes or an hour. We also have two glee clubs running right now, which is a great way for students to get started making music in a group setting.
María: What’s the average level of proficiency for children after one year of instruction?
Clair: I would estimate that on average, after a year of instruction, students will know that basics of reading musical notation, understand the fundamentals of pitch and rhythm, and have a grasp on the basic technique for their instrument. Of course, there will be some discrepancies in proficiency based on the student’s age and number of hours spent practicing at home.
María: Do students have to achieve a certain level of proficiency before participating in a group class or performing on stage?
Clair: There is no specific prerequisite students have to meet before they hit the stage. We do want students to feel prepared and to be set up for success, so we recommend discussing performances with teachers before they take place.
María: Who is your typical student?
Clair: I would say our average student is an enthusiastic, older-elementary schooler who has a year or so of musical experience under their belt, and plenty of rocking and rolling ahead of them as well!
Bach to Rock also offers Beat Refinery® DJ lessons and classes! DJ Students learn how to develop their own style while learning practical skills on industry standard software — Serato and Ableton Live. Beyond mixing songs, matching beats, and crafting hits, instructors also help students refine their image as they head out to book their first gigs!
The Practical Stuff
María: How often do most kids take lessons during a given week?
Clair: Most students opt for once a week, and supplement their music education with group classes, like bands or 101 classes.
María: What are some of the guidelines for students practicing instruments at home (frequency and duration)?
Clair: We know kids are busy – even 5 to 10 minutes every few days is better than nothing! You don’t have to practice for hours on end, try to run through one or two things from your last week’s lesson for a few minutes. Try to think of playing as something you want to do rather than something you HAVE to do – it should be exciting and fun!
María: Are parents required to enroll their kids for a set number of classes?
Clair: Some of our programs have a set start and end date, such as our Piano 101 or Songwriting 101 classes. However, most of our programs offer ongoing enrollment, so students can join in the fun when it is best for them.
María: Do you offer a trial class?
Clair: Absolutely, we are happy to schedule an a la carte paid trial for any private lessons, and if you register by phone or email we can get you signed up for a free trial of any of our group classes!
María: What ages do you teach?
Clair: All of them, ages 0-100! We start toddlers in our mommy and me-style Rock N Roll class, and we presently have a couple of octogenarians enrolled as well!
María: So you specialize in teaching both kids and adults?
Clair: Of course, when we say we teach all ages, we mean it! We offer lessons and classes beginning at just a few months old in our mommy-and-me class, called Rock N Roll, and we continue as long as you have the desire to learn. It’s always a joy to see parent-child duos taking a semi-private lesson together!
María: What’s the average level of proficiency for adults after one year of instruction?
Clair: I would say the level of proficiency for adults after a year is analogous to that of younger students. Sometimes adult students see faster progress, but also might not have the same opportunity to practice.
Snapshot of Classes, Recitals & Music Showcases
María: Describe a typical private lesson.
Clair: In a typical private lesson, students will warm-up, go over new and review techniques, and work on pieces that interest the student. We want students to be excited about the music they are playing, so students are highly involved in the song-selection process.
I like that part. Since kids often latch onto a particular song they love, it makes sense that the music they learn to play or sing is the song they’re most interested in.
María: Describe your group instruction.
Clair: We offer a variety of group classes. In Rock Band and Glee Club students work together as a team to learn a set of songs to perform together.
María: Do you host recitals? If so, where do the performances take place?
Clair: We strive to get students frequent live performances out in the community at community festivals, PTA events, outside concert venues, and the like! We also host monthly in-house student recitals on the last Saturday of every month.
María: Are classes and enrollment ongoing, so that students can jump into a class at any time?
Clair: We are always enrolling, so no matter when you are interested in signing up – we got you! Students can sign up for recurring classes every week at a designated time or join us a – la carte style, and drop in when they like!
María: How do former Bach to Rock students or graduates utilize their instruction later in life?
Clair: Many of our students go on to have careers in music and form bands of their own, but even if music doesn’t become a career for your student – it is a highly rewarding and therapeutic experience that can serve as a source of joy and happiness for the rest of your students’ lives!
The North County Moms is honored to add Bach to Rock – Encinitas to its list of community-leading marketing partners!