RED BANK, NJ: I know..., it’s only Rock N’ Roll…
The School of Rock has 260 open locations in nine countries serving more than 30,000 students and is a music school for all skill levels, ages, and musical aspirations.
The ages of the students range from 3-year-olds to 18 years and older adults.
We spoke with the Red Bank School of Rock manager, Renee Bang Allen and asked her a few questions.
TAPinto: Tell us about where you grew up, your family life and career as an actress, singer, musician, playwright and producer
Allen: I was born in Denmark to a Swedish mother and Danish father and grew up just outside New York City during the school year and in Scandinavia during the summer. Once I graduated from high school, I immediately moved to the city to pursue a career in Musical Theater where I performed on and off Broadway as well as in film and TV.
With a background in classical piano, flute and voice I was tapped to join the cast of Broadway’s Company which used an actor/musician conceit giving me the chance to not only play the instruments I was already familiar with, but also the challenge to learn the saxophone which I had to do in 6 short weeks in order to be ready for a live audience!
It was a nail-biting experience but thoroughly worthwhile. After having worked directly with the founder of the esteemed Ensemble Studio Theater, in addition to several short plays, I also penned and produced a full-length musical entitled “54-the Musical” which is currently in development for Broadway and explores one of the most iconic clubs of all time, Studio 54
TAPinto: Please explain what programs the School of Rock offers for young promising musicians
Allen: We are a performance-based music program, meaning all our students are groomed and encouraged to work together in groups and bands along with additional weekly private instruction.
At School of Rock Red Bank, our students can take online, one-on-one music instruction from the comfort of their homes. We call this program School of Rock Remote. This online music program contains weekly one-on-one instruction conducted by our expert School of Rock instructors in a safe virtual lesson room.
Students will receive their training using our proprietary education program, The School of Rock Method™, which couples live video lessons with our proprietary Method App™, SongFirst Approach™ and Method Books™.
Should you decide you want in-person instruction, we have a strict protocol we adhere to for both individual and group lessons which includes mandatory mask wearing, handwashing and regular wipe downs of all common surfaces and the installation of HEPA filters throughout the building.
To see the additional in-person learning safety measures that School of Rock has taken, click HERE.
Plus, we offer:
• In-person OR remote Summer Camps
• In-person OR remote Workshops
• In-person OR remote Master Classes
• In-person OR remote Method App Practice Assignments & Study Guides • In-person OR remote Recording Compilations & Competitions - local and company school-wide
• Live-streamed performances
• Remote Celebrity Artist Q&A's
Our Little Wing music program for preschoolers and toddlers teaches students foundational music skills by playing games and participating in other interactive musical activities. Little Wing students have one weekly group music lesson in which they use classic rock songs to learn about rhythm, song structure, melody and dynamics through play.
Our music program for children with no previous musical experience (typically ages 6 to 7-years-old), is called Rookies. Rookies students have one weekly group music lesson where they learn fundamentals like chords, rhythm and song structure. Kids get to learn and experiment with multiple instruments, so they can later decide which one they ultimately want to continue pursuing in Rock 101.
Rock 101 is one of School of Rock Red Bank's top programs for kids and beginners. Students have one weekly group rehearsal where they learn to play classic rock songs that have been simplified for beginner musicians. Additionally, Rock 101 students in Red Bank have a weekly private music lesson with an instructor who helps them learn the concepts and skills behind their performance songs.
The Performance Program at School of Rock Red Bank is our hallmark music program, where tens of thousands of students enroll each year. It consists of a weekly group rehearsal where kids and teens learn by playing rock music's most iconic songs with a band composed of their peers.
Students are assigned songs and parts that are tailored to them based on their age, experience and ability to learn new skills and concepts. Students then work through their parts in weekly private music lessons, refining the skills and concepts that those songs introduce. The goal of this curriculum is to prepare kids and teens for live performances. Every few months, School of Rock Red Bank Performance Program students take the stage and play at local Red Bank music venues in front of a live audience.
Our Adult Lessons are similar to our kids lessons where our experienced instructors teach adult students in guitar/bass/drum/key or vocal lessons through popular rock songs, teaching them to play in a way that’s challenging and fun.
TAPinto: As the general manager of Red Bank’s School of Rock, discuss what your duties are and how you manage a younger set of rock n’ rollers
Allen: My duties at School of Rock Red Bank range from fixing the toilets to teaching voice lessons to producing our shows. I have a staff of 14 talented instructors who come from varying backgrounds in education, performance and some are even graduates of the program itself! Our younger students are brought into our world through general music study as described in the programs above while our older and more advanced students have opportunities to audition for our House Band and All Stars which have performing opportunities both locally and around the country.
TAPinto: How has your experience with the theater helped you with working one-on-one with budding musical talent?
Allen: My experience in the theater has been particularly helpful in grooming our musicians to actually become performers. It’s “easy” to learn an instrument once you have the foundation and fundamentals, but the performative element is a lot more nuanced involving interpreting lyrics, music passages, dynamics and stage presence. Most of the students who work with me directly are taught how to step out and away from their comfort zones and inhibitions allowing their music to transcend just playing and becoming an actual form of communication on a much more visceral level.
TAPinto: What local events has the School of Rock participated in?
Allen: You’ve probably seen us at a Street Fair, local watering hole, venue or town wide event where our Performance Program students and House Band are booked to perform in front of live audiences. I recently joined the RBBA (Red Bank Business Association), as chair of their marketing initiative to help galvanize our local business to come together, share information, association-specific discounts and town events. We just started meeting weekly to put together a few exciting events for 2021 now that things have started opening up again.
TAPinto: What’s the best part about your job?
Allen: Personally, I adore teaching one-on-one with students and watching them blossom from timid little souls who come here with a basic love of music to the stage-slaying and confident performers they inevitably become. Otherwise, producing our end-of-season shows every 4 months at a local venue (or in the case of last year, our tented parking lot) is a close second. Seeing the culmination of our students' hard work as guided by our excellent instructors along with unilateral dedication to the rehearsal process is what makes our program unique.
The learning is accelerated and fun and social and completely unlike the lessons of yesteryear. Most of our kids stay for years and many graduate into careers of their own in the music industry which we help guide them in through workshops and basic career counseling.
TAPinto: Most Challenging?
Allen: Having so many hats to wear managing a school of close to 175 students/families (pre-pandemic) as well as a staff of 14 all with different needs and schedules and issues while being accountable to the overall growth and operations of the school is definitely challenging.
While I don’t own this business, I run it as if I did. And if I did, I’d definitely hire a few more of me! Luckily my Studio Coordinator, Ashlee, is truly top-notch and becomes the half of my brain I may not be using at any one time, LoL! Together, somehow, we make it all work.
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