Rock School

Who says you can’t learn anything from TV – well you used to be able to. Back when I was in music school there was a TV show called “Rock School” which ironically appealed to me more than anything I was learning in class.

Rock School was a 80’s BBC TV series with a rehearsal(class)room feel in which 4 instrument specialist “teacher-hosts” presented rock history, equipment, styles and technique. The teachers are a Drummer, Bassist, Guitarist and Keyboard player – the core of a typical rock band set up.  Through each episode they approach its theme, be it for example “funk”  from the perspective of their instrument and that of contributing to a group. Guest interviewees from Jan Hammer to Gary Moore also contribute tips on performance, arranging songs and voicing; to gear and equipment. A simple YouTube search and you can just about get every epp they produced. Here’s a epp which is about vocal harmony voicing and arranging.  This one is about synthesisers and midi (hahah midi).

How would you make a show like this today? Would anyone even bother? As tacky and cringe filled time the 80’s was, it was a time where as a teenager you wanted to play in a band. You listened to popular music as it was invented on your FM radio and recorded mixed tapes. You would get 2-3 of your mates together, take up an instrument and start a band. That’s what we did back then.. that’s what music inspired us to do. Do kids think this way today? I doubt it. How are they inspired and introduced to music history and styles of music? I suspect by some melodramatic exalted hack destroying a supposed classic song on a talentless reality show.

Rock School was great for us garage band musicians and aspiring rock stars. Although I didn’t realise for me it came at the perfect time and place. Watching it back now I can see how much I did actually learn from the show.

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