Rock Schoolis an on-going provision delivered throughout RCT by CJS Entertainments. This year’s February Rock School was hosted by Tonypandy Community College in partnership Tonyrefail and Pontypridd High Schools……here’s what Kim Halliday, an ex Rock School student turned staff member had to say about it………….

As an ex student of the Rock School myself; to be on the other side as a staff member means I’ve experienced both sides. The experience itself is a crash course in ultimately working together as a band which seems easy enough as an idea, in reality forming a band and compiling a set of songs to perform for a gig of over 200 people is an especially intense task, but the students we’ve had this February half term showed the most promising talent and band potential ever…

The rockers turned up on the first day to an introduction to the course, the first day involved a simple introduction to the week where all the different students from the schools interact with each other as we intend to mix them all up into the 5 bands. I’m sure all the students remember our incredibly fun ‘ice breakers’ throughout the week where we put them on the spot to talk about themselves, favourite bands, musicians so they all got an idea of each other’s influences, of course the tutors had to get involved as well. The rockers definitely showed they had great confidence skills!!

The rockers were divided into 5 bands where we let them choose who they’d prefer to work with and then they were slightly re-arranged to what we agreed would work best, and then they all split up into assigned practise rooms and started discussing the main event of the week which was the gig at the Rhondda Heritage Park Hotel. The basic goal was to learn 1 cover of a song that the entire band agreed on and to then write an original song composed from all the bands influences and ideas to really see how creative they could be. The key to the perfect cover is the quality of the song and the easier it is to learn the more time you have to make it polished, in-time and to know all your band mates cues during the song because at the end of the day you’re all relying on each other as a team.

The next couple of days consisted of all the bands learning the covers they all decided on within their bands and the level of talent this year meant all the bands nailed their cover so quickly and at such a high musical quality they all had time to do a second cover. This has definitely been the most innovative and talented rock school I’ve ever attended and all the musicians have such great potential. My role was more of a floating tutor so I got to go around and see everyone’s development over the week and everyone was so organised in what they wanted to achieve and were extremely mature and represented their schools extremely well.

I’ve also never seen such a supportive rock school group, there was no sense of competition what so ever and it was amazing to see the friendships develop within the bands.

My favourite part of the week is when the bands write their original songs, as a lyricist it’s amazing to watch a group of peoples influences and thoughts come together in the form of musical expression. This year’s level of creativity and innovation greatly impressed all of the tutors. The musical diversity of every band this year was also incredible and no band sounded the same so on gig night it had the perfect mix of every genre. The gig night was a high adrenalized rock fest with an amazingly supportive and excited atmosphere from everyone who had the pleasure to be there. The night went without a glitch and everyone performed fantastically and supported one another so well.

The Rock School is an intense crash course musical programme providing the real life band experience as well as an OCN qualification with the hopes everyone who participated will always keep music as part of their life. I especially hope all the musicians continue with the enthusiasm and love of music that I saw in the week and also a huge good luck to the couple of bands who are going to stay together and make an attempt at the musical scene themselves.

For more information on the next planned Rock School contact Laith in Community Room at Tonypandy Community College