Guitar school ready to rock and roll
Published on: 30 Jan 2014
DO you like to rock ‘n’ roll? Do you enjoy making music?
If the answer to those questions is yes, then a new specialist music school in Downend is for you.
Bristol Rock Guitar is opening up in the former doctor’s surgery in Stockwell Drive and promises a great deal more than simply guitar and drum lessons.
The team behind the rock school say they want to bring together musicians of all ages to create a vibrant musical community.
Rich Thornton, Becky Baldwin and Chris Hawkins began developing the idea when they were all studying at the Bristol Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) in Stokes Croft.
Rich, who has played in rock bands for more than 30 years, began by converting a garage at his home in Croomes Hill into a studio.
Bristol Rock Guitar hosts Get Up and Rock sessions at weekends at Yate International Academy where both teenagers and adults can experience playing with others.
It also runs regular gig nights at the Thunderbolt in Bristol, where new bands can perform live in public in front of a partisan, friendly audience.
BRG has already created two young bands, The Peruvian Fighting Sheep and The Lipstick Murders, and a more mature group, Midde Age Rampage.
The conversion of what used to be Dr Stambuli’s surgery into the school will provide more opportunities for musicians. The school, which will be up and running by the end of the month, includes a teaching room, a live rehearsal room and a drum room, all with extensive soundproofing, a chill-out reception area, a shop and a comfortable waiting area for parents.
Lessons in guitar, bass, drums and vocals will be on offer, as well as support and mentoring for bands.
The project has been made possible thanks to the backing of some local businesses and some successful grant applications.
“We are trying our best to make a fabulous job of it, and we have had a very warm welcome from people in the neighbourhood. The building is ideal as it meets disability access requirements – meaning we can be fully exclusive – and it has dedicated parking,” said Rich.
“We know some young people only ever play guitar in their bedrooms. We want to liberate them; give them the chance to meet like-minded people, experience the pleasure of playing with others and gain the confidence to perform in public.”
Chris, who teaches guitar and vocals, added: “It is really important to have positive support when you start out.”
Chris and Becky, who is one of the best-known young female bass players in the country, are both members of the heavy metal covers band Metalhead.
For information about BRG, visit their website www.bristolrockguitar.co.uk or find them on Facebook.