School of Rock Opens in Ridgefield

Members of the school’s audition group jam during the open house. From left, Pablo Carmona, 15; Jake Arnowitz, 15; and Brandon Casey, 14 Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Rohan Connally, 10, a student at School of Rock Ridgefield, practices a song with Adam Cirillo, manager and instructor. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Ally Vorozhbitskiy, 4, on drums Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Cal Kehoe, instructor, leads Alex Guiducci, 7, as he explores the guitar as a prospective option. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik

RIDGEFIELD, CT.-Visitors at the School of Rock open house event last month were greeted by a mohawked prop skeleton and the dulled sensation of a bass rift hammering through the chest.

Featuring walls lined with professional band posters and mood lighting, the atmosphere of School of Rock upon entering feels more like a music venue than a school, which, according to Adam Cirillo, the location’s manager, is kind of the point.

School of Rock, which has locations all over the country, offers a performance-based approach to music, Cirillo explained. Instructors are often experienced musicians themselves.

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Cirillo, for instance, a drum and keyboard instructor, has played in a band and contributes to outside projects on drums, bass and piano. One of the other instructors recently went on tour with Lakeland’s Jessica Lynn.

“All of our students play together in an interactive way,” he said. “It’s a chance to apply what they’ve learned [individually].”

Students of the school, which range from children to adults, are offered weekly private lessons in which they learn fundamentals and then later apply what they’ve learned during weekly band rehearsals and, eventually, performances.

Over the course of the four-hour event Feb. 24, prospective students filtered in and out of the practice rooms trying their hands at various instruments under instructors’ guidance.  The school’s “house band,” an audition-group of the school’s most proficient students, was there to play and answer questions.

Currently there are about 80 students enrolled at the school, a dozen of which are from North and South Salem.

For some students, it’s a hobby; for others, it’s supplementing the foundation of their continued musical education, Cirillo said.

“Some of them just want to have fun playing an instrument,” he said. “Others we’ve prepared for auditions. We grow with them—however they want to have music in their life.”

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