Mason’s newest business is ready to rock.
School of Rock, a performance-based music school for people of all ages, will celebrate the grand opening of its first Cincinnati area location Saturday at 755 Reading Road in Mason.
The bash kicks off at 12:15 p.m. in typical rocker style with a ritual guitar smashing. Live entertainment from students and local bands will perform throughout the day, with live broadcasting by WEBN.
Guests can participate in jam sessions with indie band Majestic Man and enter to win prizes, including a free week of summer camp.
The national music education company operates more than 80 schools in 26 states and Mexico. The Mason opening marks the company’s third Ohio location — two other locations operate in the Cleveland area.
The youth-driven school inspired the 2003 movie, “School of Rock, about a wannabe rocker who poses as a substitute teacher and tries to turn his class into rock stars.
Franchise owner Tim Garry recently moved back to Cincinnati after a long career in New York as an investment manager. He was sold on the School of Rock concept after his two sons, Jamie and Matthew, went through the program at a New Jersey school.
“It was great to see them having a blast, and gratifying to watch them develop as musicians,” said Garry, of Pleasant Ridge. “In fact, my eldest moved on to the Berklee College of Music, which would have never happened without his School of Rock experience.”
School of Rock sets itself apart from more traditional music schools by giving students the chance to perform on stage in front of live audiences, says Garry.
“A lot of kids will not thrive in private lessons because they find it boring,” Garry explained. ”Here, we believe the best way to learn music is to play music. It becomes much more engaging for (students) and they’re more likely to stick with it.”
“It’s essentially team sports for the arts,” he added.
Beginning students start with Rock 101, which teaches students principal instruments, including guitar, drums, bass, keyboard and vocals.
Intermediate to advanced students move on to the Performance Program, where they learn harmonies and musicianship during weekly private lessons and group sessions in preparation for a live performance.
Monthly membership cost is $275 for both programs. Adult programs are also offered.
The newly-renovated 5,000 square-foot facility boasts seven lesson rooms, two band rehearsal rooms, a recording studio and the Sonic Boom Room, a 1,600 square-foot performance space with professional stage, sound and lighting equipment.
Garry says he plans to open additional locations in Cincinnati in the next five years.
“Cincinnati has a tremendously strong music heritage, one that I think that’s underrated,” he said. “I expect us to become a major cultural institution within Cincinnati.”
Details: Grand Opening Celebration, noon-4 p.m. Saturday, School of Rock Mason, 755 Reading Road, Suite 1, Mason. Free. 513-770-1257; http://mason.schoolofrock.com.