Twisted Sister might have had us all screaming “I wanna rock!” but it’s the Rock Academy in Woodstock that makes those rock 'n' roll dreams come true. Simply put, “We teach kids to rock,” says Jason Bowman, the Academy’s owner and director. “But it’s more than just a music school; it’s a community.” Bowman and his wife Acacia founded the Rock Academy with School of Rock founder Paul Green and his wife Lisa, but Jason and Acacia are the current owners.
If “School of Rock” sounds familiar, you might have seen the iconic movie with comedian Jack Black in the lead role as teacher Dewey Finn. “A lot of the new students think I’m Jack Black,” jokes Bowman.
All joking aside, Bowman says that the Rock Academy’s students, ages 8 to 18, just want to learn to play music and have fun while they are playing. “And that’s the whole idea behind what we do,” he says. “We have students who come from over two hours away several times a week just to be in the school. We also have kids who come from Canada, Europe, and the West Coast for our camps.”
The Rock Academy is a year-round, tuition-based program where students take a weekly 45-minute lesson in their primary instrument and attend weekly rehearsals in preparation for seasonal shows. The primary instrument can be guitar, bass, drums, or keyboards.
Camps have included interactions with professional musicians including a Tracy Bonham Vocal Workshop, Punk Rock Intensive with John Gullo, Jam with Seth Johnson, and a recording camp with Albert DiFiore.