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School of Rock grand opening a smashing success in Wexford

| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Blake Meinhardt, 12, of Adams, smashes a beginner’s acoustic guitar outside the Wexford School of Rock to kick off its grand opening last week. The Wexford School of Rock raffled off the chance to demolish the guitar and Meinhardt was the winner.
Blake Meinhardt, 12, of Adams, smashes a beginner’s acoustic guitar outside the Wexford School of Rock to kick off its grand opening last week. The Wexford School of Rock raffled off the chance to demolish the guitar and Meinhardt was the winner.
Alex Robertson, right, piano instructor and performance program director, gives instruction on singing The Who’s “My Generation” to Sarah, 14, a School of Rock vocal student and Performance Program student, for a mock performance at the Wexford School of Rock’s grand opening last week.

The Wexford School of Rock opened with a smash.

Blake Meinhardt, 12, of Adams ceremoniously destroyed a beginner's acoustic guitar in lieu of a ribbon cutting to mark the school's grand opening on Sept. 7.

The guitar smashing was just the beginning of a hard rocking day in Wexford as students interested in learning to play guitar, bass, keyboards, drums or perform vocals got an opportunity to see what School of Rock has to offer.

Students who had little to no experience with the instruments got together for a short rehearsal to learn The Who's “My Generation,” said manager Alicia Pascazi. They performed the song for parents in a mock rehearsal.

“The parents, when they saw their kids playing through ‘My Generation,' they went crazy.” Pascazi said.

“The studio was rocking as we had kids that had never met each other before, playing a song together after a 20 minute rehearsal,” said DJ Blackrick, Wexford School of Rock owner. “It was awesome.”

Pascazi said about 100 people came to the grand opening between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Potential students participated in free individual lessons and group sessions throughout the day. The school, located at 11171 Perry Highway, Wexford, will begin classes on Sept. 24.

Other Schools of Rock usually have about 20 students by the end of their first month in operation, Pascazi said. The Wexford School of Rock is quickly reaching that milestone, she said, as there are already 12 committed students and another 15 are expected to join by the end of the first week.

The first School of Rock opened in Philadelphia in 1998, Pascazi said. The franchise now has more than 110 locations in North and South America.

Blackrick said School of Rock is about more than teaching students how to play rock songs. It's about building skills kids can use throughout their lives.

“We have developed our programs specifically to allow students to interact with many of the students that are enrolled in the school,” he said.

“This helps them develop their social skills, teamwork skills, mentoring skills and helps build confidence and self-esteem.”

There are programs for children ages 6 to 7, 8 to 9, and 10 to 18, Pascazi said. The oldest group of students will learn and practice songs with other students and perform on stage at local rock venues such as Stage AE, Rex Theatre and Altar Bar.

Pascazi said they start by teaching the young students rock songs without emphasizing strict musicianship to gain their interest and help them build hand and finger strength.

“If you try to teach an 8-year-old how to play the pentatonic scale, it's going to be really boring to them,” she said.

As they learn, she said students recognize patterns in the chord progressions and “at that point, they will begin to learn how music works and learn musicianship.”

For more information on classes and programs at the Wexford School of Rock, visit Prices for programs vary.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or

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