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Rockin’ All Ages

Chatham School of Rock, more than just music, provides kids with lifelong friendships, priceless life skills and amazing timeless memories.

Where can a 10-year-old perform on stage as a musician, make lifelong friendships and learn priceless life skills that will help them be successful as adults? School of Rock Chatham!

More than just music, let me share with you what Art and Jamie Lima, owners of School of Rock Chatham bring to our kids in our local communities!

We had the pleasure of experiencing what these kids learn at their school in person. The School of Rock Chatham Street Team House Band, led by Art, performed on stage at our Chatham & Short Hills Lifestyle celebration at the Morris Museum in April and we were speechless! All 90+ guests felt they were at a real rock concert and some even danced in front of the stage where they were playing! In full transparency, I was one of them!  And what happened afterwards, really pulled at my heart strings. These kids, ranging in age from 13 to 18, are a strong community that genuinely cares and supports each other. While the final group of 5 performed, the rest of the kids that played on stage before, joined to cheer on their bandmates and support their performance in front of the stage.

The Chatham School of Rock music program is for all ages. They offer year-round programs and summer camps. Let’s take a deeper dive !

School of Rock offers open enrollment all year long. An enrolled student gets a weekly one-on-one lesson on their instrument, weekly group band rehearsals, and seasonal performances on stage. That’s our core Performance Program,” said Art.  “Beginners start in Rock 101, a director-led rehearsal, training aspiring musicians to learn the dynamic of playing songs together as a band. Students then graduate to the next level where they join show groups, rehearsing to perform rock concerts at local area venues. Students also have the opportunity to audition to be in our Street Team House Band, playing more shows, and acting as representatives and ambassadors of School of Rock Chatham. Art said, They get to tour, play other higher profile gigs, and perform with national artists.”

Beyond the Street Team House Band, School of Rock has a National AllStar program. It happens annually where all the schools nationwide nominate students, first with a video audition, then a live audition round. If admitted, students embark on national tours across the country culminating in a festival performance, such as Lollapalooza in Chicago, which has been going on for over 30 years, and other high-profile festivals around the country. School of Rock National AllStar Tours raise funds and awareness to benefit charities like the Prevention of Teen Suicide and St. Jude.

In addition to ongoing classes, the Chatham School of Rock also offers Summer camps. We offer an array of camps from 3 ½ years old to high school age students. Little Wing is our preschool program, which gives little rockers an introduction to rhythm, the use of hand instruments, and fosters music appreciation, using classic songs from the Beatles, Queen, Bob Marley…not kiddie music.” said Art. Then we have Rock Rookies, geared toward students who aren’t sure want instrument they want to pursue. We have them explore different instruments hands-on, teaching them a verse and a chorus at a time to fun songs. It’s instant gratification.”

Rock 101 Camps are a condensed version of the school’s year long program. Performance camps are themed based, like Classic Rock Rewind or The Beatles Camp. The kids perform for their families and friends at the end of the camp session at School of Rock.

They even have a Grad School program for adults!

What is the cost for all this greatness? Art shared with me, “It depends on the lesson time ½ hour or 45-minute sessions. Our Little Wing preschool program runs $130/month to our more advanced performance program enrollment that is $350 monthly.”  Enrolled students receive weekly private instruction coupled with group rehearsals and are usually on-site twice per week.

Art and Jamie Lima had the courage to follow their hearts and invest in their passion for music as a full-time career. Each working a 9 to 5 job and playing venues in the evenings and weekends, Art shared with me that The Chatham location was one of the first 20 locations nationwide. It was our way out of the corporate world and an opportunity to focus on music.” As professional music performers, Art and Jamie were inspired by the School of Rock approach - getting kids to perform. “It wasn’t just taking traditional lessons in the back of a music store. This way of approaching and teaching music gets kids playing live. The stage is the best teacher! When I was growing up, I couldn’t imagine playing on a stage in a venue with other kids and like-minded individuals. Kids are now doing this today at the age of 10. I love my job - to play, be around music, teach great music to kids, and pass on what I have learned on the road with professional bands. Art and Jamie are celebrating their 15th year in the Chatham community as successful owners of the Chatham School of Rock. They also operate two additional School of Rock franchises in Clark and Cresskill.

I’ve enrolled my kids. Beyond sports and digital gaming, being part of the Chatham School of Rock will enhance their personal relationships, appreciation for great music and lifelong skills. Count them in!

It’s so rewarding to see how School of Rock can change a kid’s life…when they find their passion, it sets them on a path for success. We have a student in our Street Team house band who started at 11 as a complete beginner. He was not an athlete, nor have any interests, but he walked out his first day of School of Rock with a huge smile.  He went on to become a National AllStar. Today, he has a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. “  Art commented proudly on this student graduate following his dreams.

In the words of John Lennon, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”