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The Rock Project

I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last year or so working for The Rock Project in Bristol. Here’s an insight into what exactly it is.


What is the Rock Project?

The Rock Project is a music school which has the focus on encouraging children to play together in a band. It’s a contemporary music school, so like to the tuition we offer, you will be learning anything from a Justin Bieber song to a song by Black Sabbath!

There are usually 4 tutors at the Bristol franchise, which allows for each discipline to be taught individually. There is typically 1 drum group, 1 vocal group and 2-3 guitar groups – lots of aspiring Hendrix’s!

Rock music, bands and lots of coffee; it’s Saturday morning!

The structure

Each session is structured into two halves, and this runs for both our junior learners (age 7-11), and then our senior learners (age 12-18):

The instrumental music lesson is structured in a similar way to a regular guitar lesson, for a example; starting with a warm-up, followed by a recap/development of a previous song, followed by learning a new song. The aim is to cover a song over two lessons.

These group lessons are always great fun, and each child has an active role in the learning process.

The ‘plug and play’ is a chance for all of the students to put everything they have learnt into practice, in a live band environment. The tutors often play along to support the learners, and it always sounds great. A room full of 20+ children playing an AC/DC song as loudly as they can may not sound like your ideal way to spend a Saturday morning, but the amount of fun everyone is having makes it all worth while!

The concert


As tradition, the concert starts with all of the teachers and learners on the stage, stamping and clapping along to Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’. Once everyone is suitably warmed-up and ready to rock, the performances begin!

In the concert you can expect many band performances and some solo performances. Often the singing group will play a couple of songs on their own, and similarly their may be a drum solo from the drummers! The children always work hard in preparation for the concert, and it’s great to see how they have progressed in terms of their own playing, and playing in a band.

The Rock Project concert is held every July

The concert concludes with the teachers and learners returning to the stage, where various awards and prizes are handed out to celebrate the achievements and progression made by the children throughout the year.

Follow the link for more information on The Rock Project!

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Practice; is it a chore?

The key word you will hear your teacher use at the end of every guitar lesson is practice!

Why practice?

A lot of learners believe that if they book regular guitar lessons, the support from the teacher will be great enough to eliminate the need to practice. Some exceptionally talented learners may be able to ‘get by’ a series of lessons without putting in the work in-between, but these learners will be far from achieving their full potential.

I see the guitar lessons as a period of guidance and direction, and a chance to outline the tasks that must be completed during the week to achieve a particular musical goal. I believe the learning and achievement takes places during the students own time when they are putting a given task into practice. This is a chance for the learner to experiment with a given task, perhaps finding a preferred method or technique.

make your practice interactive and fun!

How long should you practice for?

A common misconception is that you should spend hours upon hours practicing between guitar lessons. From my own experience of learning how to play guitar I have found that short and regular practice sessions are the most realistic and effective, in terms of developing musical skills and maintaining enthusiasm for learning your instrument.

Try making a chart with an allotted time to practice every day, for example 10 minutes in the evening.

Make it interactive;

  • use colours
  • tick it off

Make practicing guitar a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast.

Practicing once a week for a significant period of time could make you more likely to being frustrated with a task, lose motivation, or just get achy fingers!