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Art for the Cash Poor 15 celebrates the City of Makers–including the makers of music. Of course, the most important thing for any maker is the process of being made.

Independent Rock is one of those venues where that magical transformation takes place – a local rock school for kids ages 7 – 18. Founders Michael D. Long and Ross Munro talk to us about their recent launch in April.

Can you tell me a bit about Independent Rock? How it started out, what the mission is?

Independent Rock is a performance based music program. Our mission is to provide effective and affordable music education to the public and private school systems. We run both in-school and after-school programs for kids’ age 7 to 18 years old. Independent Rock currently runs in-school programs at Wordsworth Academy and Community Council AEP. IR also operates an after-school program in South Philly.

Why ages 7 – 18? Is that the optimal age group for music lessons?

Any age is a good time to start. We have designed programs for kids as young as 5 years old. Most students stay with our program for about 5 years. Many return as teaching assistants and some as instructors.

Your site describes your lessons as performance-based. Can you tell me more about that and how it might differ from the practices of other rock schools?

Our after school program offers private lessons and group rehearsals and performance. Our in-school programs offer dynamic hands on classroom experience that emphasizes playing and playing together with other students. Very few companies provide in-school classroom based performing programs. All the schools that we currently run programs for have performing groups.

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You just opened in April. How have things been going since then?

Our new location is a very capable facility. It contains five private lesson rooms, a sound stage and performance theater, art gallery and recording studio.

What’s the best advice you could give to a child with rock and roll dreams?

Practice.

Do you have any upcoming performances with the school?

We have been performing at all our in-school programs as it’s the end of the school year. Our most recent performance was at Wordsworth Academy for an event sponsored by The Anti-Defamation League called “No Place for Hate.” Of course Art For Cash Poor is next and then we will have a Gallery Opening and Open House in July.

What are you looking forward to most about participating in Art for the Cash Poor 15?

Watching our kids share the stage with professional performing acts for a good cause.

Independent Rock will be playing Art for the Cash Poor 15 on Saturday, June 14, 1 pm at Crane Arts. Click here for further details on the weekend, or buy tickets to the preview party benefiting AIDS Fund, June 13, 5:30 – 9 pm.

Leora Brecher

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