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Rock U. is happy to offer a full slate of in-person and online courses for summer 2020! 

Record a song, join a ukulele band, dive deep into music theory, or learn how to mix and master your own tracks.  The choice is yours – pick one or do them all!  Rock U.’s summer courses will keep you moving forward in music, no matter where in the world you’re spending this summer.

More details here.  Sign up here!

Thanks to a positive outlook for the next stage of deconfinement, we are reopening our Rock U. Summer Sessions for ages 8-15! 

Two bands per week, with daily practices Monday through Friday from 11h-12h30 (ages 8-11) and 13h30-15h (ages 12-15).  Bands will learn songs during the week and then make videos on Friday to share with their friends and family.

Weekly bands 29 June through 31 July.  No bands 13-17 July.

Price per week: 195€

Sign up here!

Dear Rock U. rockers, parents, friends, fans, and families:

The Lads from Liverpool said it this way:

You know, if you break my heart I’ll go
But I’ll be back again

Rock U. got a piece of news this week that wasn’t unexpected, but still broke our hearts just a bit.  Our annual Rock U. En Seine festival, scheduled this year for 14, 20, and 21 June, has finally, officially, been cancelled.  Our wonderful venues La Javelle and Bal de la Marine tried as hard as they could to make this fantastic event work out, but it just can’t be done under the current rules and conditions.  So, with regret, we’ve accepted the inevitable, and there will be no Rock U. en Seine in 2020.

But, like the Fab Four, we know it’s not over.  We’re doing everything we can to make sure this year at Rock U. ends with a bang, not a whimper.  Here’s what we’ve got planned as the school year winds down.

Kids’ and teen bands
Our bands and teachers have been rocking hard all spring and are now putting the finishing touches on a bunch of great new videos and audio tracks.  Stay tuned as always on Rock U.’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud channels for our final releases of the year.  And mark your calendars – we’re already booked at La Boule Noire on 13 December 2020 for our Fall Concert.  And we can’t wait!

Summer offerings
We won’t be hosting our usual summer bands at Rock U., but instead we’ll offer an amazing lineup of online summer courses, ranging from group ukulele bands to songwriting workshops to one-on-one tutorials in sound engineering.  And best of all, you can take them from anywhere in the world.  Summer courses will be announced early next week, so stay tuned!

Adult bands
Our adult bands have returned to the studio after a long hiatus and are rocking some great new songs!  We hope to play them for you onstage near the end of July, watch this space for more.

Private lessons
For the first time ever, our talented instructors will be offering lessons throughout the summer via Skype and Zoom.  Private lessons work really well online, and it doesn’t matter where in the world you are as long as you have an internet connection and an instrument.  If you’d like to take lessons this summer, you can sign up here.

I just want to add one final, and personal, word of thanks to our amazing teachers.  They’ve worked harder than ever to bring the joy of rock ‘n’ roll to our students under unprecedented conditions, and have my deep admiration and gratitude for their efforts.  Thanks, Crew!

Let’s give Freddie the last word…

Empty spaces, what are we living for?
Abandoned places, I guess we know the score, on and on
Does anybody know what we are looking for?

The show must go on
The show must go on
I’ll face it with a grin, I’m never giving in
On with the show

Stay chill, hang tough, make music,
and have a great summer!
Matt and the Rock U. Crew

Why did Beatles guitarist George Harrison always travel with two ukuleles?  So he could play music with anyone he met, even if they had never played before!  Ukuleles are easy to play, sound great, and are inexpensive, small, and lightweight compared to guitars.

Become part of the Rock U. ukulele nation by learning how to play some of your favourite songs on your uke, with Rock U. teacher James Dempsey!  Rock U. is pleased to offer a third session of our very popular online ukulele workshop through May and June.  Absolute beginners are welcome, but more advanced players will also learn a lot.

  • What you need: A ukulele and a Zoom account
  • Dates and times: Thursday 16h30-17h30, 22 May-25 June (six sessions; class time week of 22/23 May TBD)
  • Fee: 115€
  • Maximum of 8 participants
  • Ages 10 and up
Sign up here!
Let’s rock… with ukuleles!  Please email matt@rock-u.fr with any questions.  For participants who don’t own a ukulele, they are widely available on Amazon or at www.thomann.de, and good quality ukuleles cost as little as 35-40€.

Dear Rock U. rockers, students, and families:

Deconfinement has finally arrived!  We at Rock U. have spent several weeks planning for our eventual reopening by consulting municipal authorities, studying guidelines released by local and federal governments, and surveying colleagues, students, and advisors.  What we present below represents the outcome of that process and is the most detailed plan we can offer at this stage, since new information and instructions will likely emerge over the next several weeks.

As of last Thursday, 7 May, we have directly consulted the City of Paris, the Maison des Associations (the governmental office that oversees non-profit associations), and the Ministry of the Interior about reopening Rock U.  We have received their explicit assurances, in writing, that we may reopen for normal activities, subject to the physical distancing guidelines that apply to all public spaces.

We will therefore, starting at the beginning of next week, begin the process of gradually reopening the Rock U. studio for our student bands, starting with our adult bands and slowly phasing in each successive age group over the next several weeks or more.  While any dates we offer now are subject to modification as developments dictate, we anticipate the following schedule for welcoming bands back to the studio:

18 May:         Adult Bands

22 May:         Older teen bands (Advanced Rock 2 and Varsity bands)

28 May:         Younger teen bands (Advanced Rock 1 and Junior Varsity bands)

TBD:               Rock 101 and Rock 202 bands

All youth bands will continue their current online learning until they are able to resume activities at the Rock U. studio.  Youth bands have been operating continuously since 27 March and the Spring Session will end as scheduled on Saturday 20 June.

Adult Band Semester 2 will be extended into the summer months, with an end date to be determined.

At this point, we don’t anticipate resuming private lessons at Rock U. before Fall 2020, although we will revisit this decision as events warrant.  Private lessons will continue to be held online as they have been since the end of March.

All Rock U. band sessions will be subject to the following health and safety procedures:

  1. Rock U. premises will be professionally cleaned and disinfected daily. The premises have been professionally cleaned and disinfected as of today, and our air conditioners and ventilation units were professionally cleaned and serviced last week, including filters.
  2. Students who are sick will not be permitted to come to Rock U. Any student with symptoms such as coughing, fever, and body aches within 48 hours of his or her Rock U. practice must NOT attend that week’s practice session and should consult a doctor.
  3. Parents, siblings, and friends will not be permitted to enter the premises for any reason. Please be prepared to wait outside on the sidewalk for your kids at dropoff and pick up times, and please observe physical distancing rules that would apply in any circumstance.
  4. Anyone who comes to Rock U. using public transportation will be required to wear a mask during their trip. This rule is already in place on metros and buses.
  5. Everyone entering the studio will be required to wash his or her hands immediately upon entering. We will also provide hand sanitizer, but handwashing is the most effective measure.
  6. We will maintain physical distancing at all times. In certain spaces where physical distancing is more difficult, instructors and students may be required to wear masks.  We will use the upstairs spaces at Rock U. as much as possible to ensure proper distancing.
  7. Microphones and instruments will be disinfected with disinfectant wipes after each use.
  8. We encourage students to bring their own instruments, snacks, and drinks. While we will continue to offer filtered water in disposable paper cups, unfortunately we will have to temporarily suspend the cherished tradition of cookie break.
  9. We will dismiss bands 15 minutes earlier than normal if they are followed by another band, to allow for ventilation of the studio and careful disinfection of all surfaces such as doorknobs, sinks, and handrails, in addition to instruments and microphones.
  10. Children who do not have permission to leave Rock U. by themselves must be picked up ON TIME by an authorized adult. Students who are permitted to leave without a parent must leave promptly at the end of the practice session.

STUDENTS WHO CANNOT ATTEND ROCK U. IN PERSON:

We realize that some of our students are no longer in Paris, or for other reasons may not be able or willing to attend band practices at Rock U.  We will address these bands and students on a case-by-case basis and make every reasonable effort to enable these students to participate in the band’s activities.

SPRING CONCERT: 

Although nothing has been definitively stated yet, it seems very unlikely that we will be able to stage concerts for any of our student bands until the fall.  The bands will instead perform their songs through a combination of audio and video projects and livestreams from the Rock U. studio.

SUMMER ACTIVITIES

We will make a decision about our Summer 2020 sessions at some point after 2 June.  We will also be developing online offerings for the summer months.

 

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please send an email to matt@rock-u.fr.  We’re in this together and we welcome your input and suggestions.

We started confinement almost two months ago by thanking you for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.  Nothing has changed.  We’re so grateful to you for being not just students, colleagues, and friends, but part of a community we value and cherish.

Thank you… and let’s rock!
Matt and the Rock U. Crew

Dear Rock U. rockers, parents, friends, fans, and families:

 

Maybe the Red Hot Chili Peppers said it best:

The world I love
The tears I drop
To be part of
The wave, can’t stop

At Rock U., we love to make music.  And after an unexpected interruption, we’re back at it again.  Starting now.

We’re proud to present the world premiere of five new videos by Rock U. student bands.  They drop here at 17h15 Paris time today.  Don’t miss it.

Listen to Chumbawumba.  They know what they’re talking about.

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You’re never gonna keep me down 

Stay chill, hang tough, make music,
Matt and the Rock U. Crew

Dear Rock U. rockers, parents, friends, fans, and families:

In the immortal words of rock and roll prophet Neil Young:

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die

Once again, we miss you all!  And once again we send our hopes that you and your loved ones are in good health and comfortable during this period of confinement.

Three weeks ago, I contacted you to let you know how we planned to keep the spirit of rock and roll alive for our Rock U. community.  We told you that we would keep bands and lessons going online until the confinement came to an end, which we hoped would be mid-April.  Then we’d hit the ground running with no time lost once that day arrived.  Now, of course, we know that we will have to wait out confinement until at least mid-May, and that it seems increasingly unlikely that we’ll be able to stage any concerts for a very long time.

Don’t worry.  We got this.

In the past weeks, as we’ve figured out how to keep things going online, we’ve made, learned, and discovered some amazing things together.  Many of our bands are on the verge of releasing their first made-at-home music videos.  Others are writing original songs.  Still others are learning advanced recording and mixing techniques.  Others are exploring new sounds, resources, and a deeper understanding of how music is made.  And all of them have learned and progressed on both new and familiar musical and creative paths.  We are committed to continuing that, and it’s only going to get easier and better every day.

So what happens next?

Kids’ and teen bands

  • All Rock U. bands will continue to meet online at their usual meeting times (or at an alternate time if agreed on by the band and instructor) to carry out these musical projects.  Videos, recordings, and other creations will be shared on Rock U.’s YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, and our new SoundCloud platform for audio recordings.
  • As soon as we’re permitted to reopen the Rock U. studio, we’ll resume in-person band practices, observing all appropriate precautions as instructed by public health authorities.
  • In the event that we’re unable to hold a concert at the end of the Spring Session, we’ll perform the songs we learn by livestream from the Rock U. studio, and as video and audio projects on our social media channels.  We may even hold a live viewing party (like a Film Festival!  Traptin Quarantino presents… get it?) with the capacity for thousands of people worldwide to view the videos and other content we create, hosted by our students.

Adult bands

  • Adult band teachers will be in touch with their bands to discuss goals and plans for the period until the confinement is lifted, with the goal of resuming activities online next week, and extending the term to make up for the weeks we’ve missed.  We realize that, just like with our youth bands, each band will have its own set of circumstances, and there is no one right way to go forward that will work for everyone.  We intend to do everything we can to deliver a rich, rewarding musical performance experience, as much as circumstances possibly allow.
  • As soon as we’re permitted to do so, adult band practices will also resume at Rock U. and Studio Bleu, with the same performance options as the youth bands.

Private lessons

  • Most Rock U. private lessons have already resumed online.  Any student who was already taking lessons will have the opportunity to continue, if they have not already done so.  We do have some limited availability for new students who would like to start private lessons – now’s a great time to learn!

For everyone

  • We will continue to offer free online content via Facebook and YouTube.  Check out the YouTube playlist of our daily videos.  We’ll be coming out next week with a revised schedule for this, featuring some new activities, lessons, quizzes, and even prizes
  • We’ve successfully introduced some new online courses this week, and will continue to bring you new special online offerings as the weeks of confinement continue.

Payment information
As you know, we have not yet requested any payment for the Spring Session of our youth bands.  All band members have been welcome to continue participating in our online sessions with no payment due.  As we said three weeks ago, there were too many unknowns.

Now we know more.  At best, we will reopen the Rock U. studio fully on Monday 11 May and have our spring Rock U. En Seine festival as scheduled on 14, 20, and 21 June.  At worst, it’s possible that we won’t be able to reopen at all this spring, or hold a public concert, in which case we will complete the Spring Session online, and the bands will share their performances via livestreams and releases on our social media channels.  The reality is likely to be somewhere between these extremes.

We realize this isn’t what anyone expected out of this very promising spring, but we’re all in the same situation.  We remain committed to helping our rockers learn and progress musically, creatively, socially, and in all the other ways you have come to value from the Rock U. experience.  Our teachers are working harder than ever to make this happen, even while faced with a steeping learning curve of new challenges, technologies and skills.  We hope you’ll all continue to rock with us.

Rock U. is a non-profit Association loi 1901, and all of our teachers and staff are independent contractors.  Your participation and support is critical to our efforts to sustain this wonderful community.  We can’t do it without you.  We’ll be sending invoices for the Spring Session of our youth bands and private lessons, plus the long-overdue invoices for Semester 2 of our adult bands, starting next week.  Yes, I know I told you that three weeks ago.  But I hate asking for money in the best of times, and even though I said I would send the invoices and many of you were extremely supportive in response, I couldn’t bring myself to do it with so much still uncertain.  (Also, I just don’t like making the invoices.  Making music is more fun.)

If you decide this experience won’t meet your needs, we understand.  In that case, you can just pay for the lessons or adult band sessions you’ve already had (youth bands have been open for no charge up until now), and we would welcome you back in the future when we can return to our normal (or new normal) operations.

If you have any questions, as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me at matt@rock-u.fr.

Take us out, Neil:

My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay

See you online soon, rockin’ and rollin’!
Stay chill, hang tough, make music,
Matt and the Rock U. Crew

One-on-one songwriting coaching sessions by appointment.  Have you always wanted to write your own song, or have you started one many times but could never finish?  Get your creative juices flowing in this one-on-one online session, which will provide you some creative techniques to help you beat those quarantine blues and write a rockin’ song!

  • What you need: A Zoom account (access to a guitar or piano recommended but not necessary)
  • Dates and times: By appointment with Jason
  • Fee: 50€ for a single session of one hour; 240€ for an intensive course of five hours over one week
  • All ages
Sign up here!

Jason Waters is a New York City native with over 15 years of international experience in music teaching, performance and songwriting. He has recorded with renowned musicians like Steve Holley (Paul McCartney) and Angela Workman (Ray Charles), and has developed and facilitated music programs for youth, refugees and divided communities in regional conflict zones. Jason knows that music can serve as a powerful means for building empathy and bringing communities together.  He can teach the workshop in English or French.

Time to create!  Please email matt@rock-u.fr with any questions.  

Why did Beatles guitarist George Harrison always travel with two ukuleles?  So he could play music with anyone he met, even if they had never played before!  Ukuleles are easy to play, sound great, and are inexpensive, small, and lightweight compared to guitars.

Become part of the Rock U. ukulele nation by learning how to play some of your favourite songs on your uke, with Rock U. teacher James Dempsey!  Rock U. is pleased to offer a new online ukulele workshop during the two weeks of school holidays.  Absolute beginners are welcome, but more advanced players will also learn a lot.

  • What you need: A ukulele and a Zoom account
  • Dates and times: Every day 6-10 April or 13-17 April, 12h-13h (participants are welcome to do one or both weeks)
  • Fee: 95€ per week
  • Maximum of 8 participants
  • Ages 10 and up
Sign up here!
Let’s rock… with ukuleles!  Please email matt@rock-u.fr with any questions.  For participants who don’t own a ukulele, they are widely available on Amazon or at www.thomann.de, and good quality ukuleles cost as little as 35-40€.