Meri’s Musical Musings

Rock Band in Schools? Seven reasons why I think it’s a bad idea

Posted on: September 20, 2011

First, kids will likely learn MUCH less music theory than they get now, especially in learning transposition and the various clefs. Except possibly at the octave, students learning band and orchestra instruments are exposed to the idea that not every instrument’s music is notated the same, and when they do have music reading in rock band, students will learn to read a much more limited range of notes. This in turn would mean that students would develop a highly incomplete understanding of rudiments.

Second, they’ll have a much more limited palette of tone colours. Two guitars, a vocalist or two, and a drumset don’t really offer a lot of possibilities for instrumental tone colour.

Third, it will cause havoc for private teachers of most instruments, as there will be significantly fewer students taking private lessons on band and orchestra instruments, and things are bad enough already in many areas to recruit the very few students and families that want and can afford private lessons on a band or orchestra instrument.

Fourth, it will leave many more students unsatisified, who might NOT want to play an instrument that’s part of rock bands, perhaps because their home environment includes jazz and classical music for example.

Fifth, kids’ exposure to various types of music will be far more limited. Imagine a world where kids are not exposed to Beethoven’s 5th and 9th Symphonies,  Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Spring from The Four Seasons, or J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor…

Sixth, young voices are rarely suitable for the kinds of vocal qualities many of these types of songs call for.  “Rock band” songs often call for “belting” voices, which can and does damage even adult voices, sometimes to the point where surgery is needed to fix problems.

Seventh, it will cause additional problems for traditional band and orchestras in school programs to have balanced instrumentation, with many school music programs already having small, and declining, numbers. This could spread to university and conservatory music programs, which may have to accept lower standards of students than they currently do to fill out their numbers.


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  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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