Young musicians ready to learn at School of Rock

Henry Eastham at School of Rock
Henry Eastham at School of Rock

A project which equips young Wiganers with the skills to become top musicians is still attracting new talent after almost two years, the group organiser says.

School of Rock, which has been teaching a new generation of young Wiganers how to create a band capable of breaking into the local music scene, will celebrate its second anniversary next month.

A collaboration between the Wigan Music Service and The Old Courts - where the sessions take place - School of Rock sees groups of 11-18 year olds given lessons on song writing and performance from expert musicians.

One such expert and project organiser, Lindsey Holding, said the project was a great way for young people to hone their music skills and also build their confidence at the same time.

“It’s great to see their progression,” she said.

“We encourage them to try out their own ideas. Some of them do covers, some like writing their own songs. We help them share and develop their ideas.

“The standards are incredible. It’s brilliant to see how much talent we have in this borough. Some of them are really, really great musicians. What’s really nice is that I can envision them playing on stage when they’re older.”

Its alumni, such as rock band Speak Easy, have gone on to perform at famous music venues such as Manchester’s Band On The Wall.

And Lindsey revealed some of the most enticing factors about School of Rock were the venue and the first-hand experience of the project runners.

“I am a musician myself,” said Lindsey, who has her own post-punk band called Hans Shenans.

“I use my skills to help them, in a way that gently encourages them. It’s all about them, what they want to do, and we help them wherever we can. We aim for each group to have three or four songs that they can perform at the end of term.”

She added: “It’s great having it at The Old Courts because it’s in the centre of town, and easy to get to. We also have the room and the equipment here to do it all.

“They get that whole experience of waiting in the green room, and having to walk out on stage too. I just wish they did something similar when I was young!”

But School of Rock doesn’t just develop its students’ musical prowess, it also helps them learn how to build new relationships.

Lindsey said: “It’s wonderful because one of the things I love the most is seeing the kids grow in confidence and making new friends. It’s not always easy coming down when you don’t know anybody, and to try your hand at something new.”

The School of Rock meets every Monday night at The Old Courts, Crawford Street. Entry is £5 and open to anyone interested in honing their music skills.