Rocking out has no age limit, says School of Rock Eden Prairie owner Stacey Marmolejo.
That’s why she’s opening The Clubhouse, a practice and performance space behind the School of Rock at 6585 Edenvale Blvd., and adding an adult “grad school” program for musicians who’ve aged out of the “27 Club.”
“It’ll be the guys and the women who maybe played in high school, then they went to college, got married, and the guitar is in the closet,” Marmolejo said.
Marmolejo opened School of Rock Eden Prairie in 2008, with programs aimed exclusively at the under-18 crowd. Her students’ parents have asked about lessons for adults throughout the years, she said, but she was always concerned about “losing the vibe” for kids if older musicians began practicing in their rehearsal space.
A solution appeared when one of the tenants behind School of Rock left, allowing Marmolejo to expand into the space without disrupting her younger students’ environment. With high ceilings and a back-alley entrance, she’s building an “intimate” space with a coffeehouse and craft brewery feeling, she said. Local artist Tina Bevan is providing portraits of famous musicians to cover the walls, and visitors will sit at small tables or stand at whiskey barrels during performances.
The space is still under construction, but it’ll be ready for an open house on June 21, which is World Music Day.
Marmolejo sees an opening for a performance space that feels like a “night out” without having to travel to Minneapolis. There are performance spaces in Eden Prairie, she said, but it’s difficult to get a spot unless you have an established band.
Musicians will be able to use the space once a week and perform with a band in a concert on the last Friday of every month as part of a four-week, $280 School of Rock program. Performers have to bring their own guitar or bass, but School of Rock provides the other instruments as well as a sound engineer during every rehearsal and concert, Marmolejo said. There’s already a waiting list, she added.
In addition to the performance space, adult musicians can learn or brush up on their skills in the Grad School program. Sam Frederick has taught guitar at School of Rock for three years as well as independently, and he said that teaching grown musicians is a different — but still rewarding — experience.
“Adults more so know what they want out of playing music,” said Frederick, while younger students are often discovering the joy of music for the first time. Because of that, “you have to be even a bit more adaptable than you have to be with kids,” he noted.
The youth program is longer, with 16 weeks of practice and two performances. However, older players tend to have more demands on their time — work, family, travel — and a shorter schedule will allow musicians to take a break for a month or two and return to their passion later.
“Usually what they want to do comes last,” Marmolejo said.
The Clubhouse at School of Rock Eden Prairie will open on June 21, with adult lessons beginning in June and July. The first month-long program begins in August.