Interview to teach at School of Rock

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I have an interview next week for a drum instructor position at a new School of Rock location. I've looked at their website and read the job description. I was wondering if any of you guys have any experience with this organization? The more information I have going into the interview the better it will go. Two main questions I have are: How much am I going to be teaching how to play the set, technique ect..., vs playing songs, and what are the hours? I gig or rehearse several nights of the the week. How much will teaching there interfere with being a working musician? I also joked around with my wife about what to wear to an interview at a place called "School of Rock?" Shirt and tie or torn jeans and a bandanna? Any advice you guys could give me would be appreciated.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
It's a job interview. Present yourself as a professional. Looking like a slob is not professional. You will be potentially teaching children, you want to look like a responsible adult that people will be comfortable leaving their children with. I realize kids will be there to learn how to rock, and image is everything. Image is everything to potential employers also. I think a tie might be a bit much, but perhaps some khakis and a polo shirt would suffice.

Good luck with the interview.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Some questions to ask (you might already know the answers)...

Do they have a set course they want you to teach every student, or is there some flexibility for particular students’ strengths or weaknesses?
Always individual students? Or will there be small group tuition too?
Do they use courses or levels with exams and assessments?
Do the students form bands with other instruments?
Who chooses the repertoire? Who runs the group rehearsals?
What age are the students?
If school age, do they put on a concert for parents every semester or year?
Do they run evening classes? Weekend events?
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Sounds like you already have a list of good questions and be yourself.
No sense in getting a job if you have to fake it. :)
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
No personal experience myself, but please keep us posted how it goes! There's a School of Rock close to me in Redondo Beach, maybe I should look into teaching on my upcoming year off! :)

Hasn't Living Dead Drummer (Nick Mason) taught there?

Bermuda
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Good luck on the interview! I think all of those questions you can ask them during the interview. After all, you’re trying to find out if they would be a good fit for you too.
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I had my interview and I think it went well. Apparently two of the people they had already interviewed mentioned me and had good things to say. This was only round one of the interview process. She said they were going to narrow down the list of candidates and then bring some back for a second round of interviews where they will watch you give a lesson. The only thing that I had any kind of issue with, is that she said my main job is to teach the students to play the songs they are playing in their ensembles. Any technique or theory has to be worked into teaching them the songs. While this is different than any drum lessons I've ever had, I suppose it's not too different from school band experience. You learn to play your instrument while learning to play songs with the group.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Your teaching at The School of Rock. The goal is to put ensembles and groups together and have them play together. The concept is entirely different than private lessons. Main job is to teach the students to play the songs they are playing in their ensembles. That's what the students are signing up for.

I had my interview and I think it went well. Apparently two of the people they had already interviewed mentioned me and had good things to say. This was only round one of the interview process. She said they were going to narrow down the list of candidates and then bring some back for a second round of interviews where they will watch you give a lesson. The only thing that I had any kind of issue with, is that she said my main job is to teach the students to play the songs they are playing in their ensembles. Any technique or theory has to be worked into teaching them the songs. While this is different than any drum lessons I've ever had, I suppose it's not too different from school band experience. You learn to play your instrument while learning to play songs with the group.
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
Teaching technique in a song context should be incredibly easy. Mostly due to the fact that the student has context within the song. Maybe don't go super specific grip or stroke type things.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I'm Sr. Drum Instructor at School of Rock in Burbank, CA and also occasionally sub at other SoCal schools like Pasadena, South Bay, West LA, and Venice. SOR has a fantastic program in place for music education. Playing songs is a big part of it because the have band programs in place that give students the real world experience of playing out, but the formal training ie: technique, reading, and so on, isn't neglected. In fact we just rolled out a new method engine that has a series of books and a companion app.

In terms of cutting into your personal time, it's really up to you. You can make your own availability, and if you want to not work past 5:00 on a Friday, just have that blocked out on your schedule, and they won't book you for lessons then.
As most of you know I tour a lot and play out 2-3 nights a week locally. I've never run into an issue with scheduling. I just give advance notice and make sure you get one of the other drum instructors to cover your lessons while you're gone. Easy!
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
where they will watch you give a lesson. The only thing that I had any kind of issue with, is that she said my main job is to teach the students to play the songs they are playing in their ensembles. Any technique or theory has to be worked into teaching them the songs. While this is different than any drum lessons I've ever had, I suppose it's not too different from school band experience. You learn to play your instrument while learning to play songs with the group.
I teach at a similar type of school. Although it's independently owned, and not part of the SOR chain, it has similar goals and practices.

In your lesson/audition, there's a few strategies I'd recommend for beginner students:

1. Greet each student with a smile and a high-five. During the lesson, be positive, encouraging, and sincere. Say "nice work", "great, let's keep going", "you're getting it", etc. Avoid saying the words "no" or "wrong" -- instead say "getting there!" or "let's have another listen". Smile a lot.
2. Break the song down into sections, and write out the beats if you have time. Go slowly, and maybe play only the bass drum and snare at first, then only the snare and hi-hat. Play each part slowly for about one minute straight, so it really sinks in.
3. Simplify parts at first. Explain that you can add complexity and fills later on, after they can get through a basic version of the drum part. Obviously, the student has to play something at the rehearsals, and it doesn't need to be 100% accurate right away. Maybe you just play a simple beat all the way through the song the first time. Then, add some crash cymbals, or the hi-hat/ride. Save fills for later, unless the student is ready for it.
4. Slow the song down as you both play along with it together. Use the speed control on YouTube, or slow-downer app on your phone. See if you can find out what song you'll be working on ahead of time. If it's going well, increase the speed!
5. Smile, and play along with the student, even if there's only one kit and you're playing air-drums. The student will copy your movements to some degree, and that's a good thing.
6. If the student can't yet read notation, write out little pictures of bass drums, snares, and cymbals on a piece of paper.
7. At the end of the lesson, ask the student what they feel they need to work on. Have the student say out loud what they will practice during the week.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
 
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