Kids learning to rock in Plainfield
By FranK Vaisvilas Correspondent September 11, 2013 9:00PM
Jack Loizzo, 12, on keyboard, Sloane Johnson, 12, on guitar, Sam Coymer, 16, on vocals, Ben Larson, 14, on bass, Nathan Campbell, 14, on guitar and Max Fahlmark, 14, on drums perform on stage at Tailgaters in Bolingbrook on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. | Frank Vaisvilas Photo~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 15, 2013 6:56AM
PLAINFIELD — Growing tired of playing classical piano after more than two years, Emily Staszewski knew she wanted to rock.
After seeing the 2003 movie “School of Rock” — in which a would-be rock star works as a substitute teacher and turns his class of young students into a rock band — Emily wanted to be part of something as fun, her mother, Jennifer, said.
When a School of Rock opened in downtown Plainfield in June, Emily, 10, jumped at the opportunity to sign up.
“It’s awesome,” she said.
Her mom also is impressed, saying of the school, “they do a great job with the kids.”
Jason Fein, 29, owner of the Plainfield School of Rock, said the movie was based on the small chain of schools that opened in 1998. Fein, who’s also the lead singer of a local rock band, The Run Around, said 50 students have signed up at the school, 24026 Lockport St.
Part of the attraction is the school’s focus on live performances and team rehearsals by students. Fein said typical music schools provide a 45-minute lesson, as his school does, but require the student to practice at home by themselves.
“That method was proven not to work,” he said.
He said School of Rock makes learning fun for students and encourages teamwork with its regular band rehearsals.
Emily brings keyboarding skills to the band. She and several other Plainfield School of Rock students performed live before a packed house on Sunday at Tailgaters sports bar in Bolingbrook.
The theme was 1960s music and a hit musician from the era volunteered to perform with the students. Gary Loizzo, former lead singer of The American Breed, sang his hit “Bend Me Shape Me” with the students as his band. The Orland Park resident has two grandsons in Plainfield who attend the School of Rock.
“I was very impressed with the way they teach the kids to work together,” Loizzo said.
Fein said School of Rock students perform two live shows about every three months. He said the next show will be in January, featuring music from AC/DC and Green Day, although he has not yet secured a venue.
Fein said he’s planning to soon expand and remodel his Plainfield school.
“The school will start to look like an actual music venue,” he said, adding he also plans to open schools in Geneva and Schaumburg.