School of Rock Coming Soon to Shelton's Sports Center

The popular music education school, which inspired the movie of the same name with Jack Black, will be the third franchise in CT.

Kids who want to unleash their inner rock star will soon have an outlet to do so.

That’s because a School of Rock, considered the nation’s leader in musical education, is coming to the popular at 784 River Rd.

Founded in 1998 in Philadelphia, the School of Rock is a performance-based music school with more than 60 franchises operating all across the nation, according to its website.

Students, ages seven to 18, are taught everything from guitar and drums to keyboards and vocals by professional musicians. Through weekly private lessons and structured group rehearsals, students ultimately perform a live show, rocking out to such classics like Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Van Halen and more.

Connecticut is currently home to two School of Rock facilities, one in Fairfield, which opened in 2008, as well as another in New Canaan, which opened last December.

A third is coming right here to Shelton, and according to Sports Center owner Howard Saffan, the music school will make a nice addition to the second floor of the Game Zone building.

Saffan was recently granted approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission for some signage for the music school, which is slated to occupy the 2,900 square-foot vacant space above the Game Zone. With the addition of the School of Rock, Saffan told the commission the Sports Center will be 100 percent occupied.

It was not immediately known when the School of Rock will open, as Saffan did not return a phone call seeking comment. An email to the company’s headquarters was also not answered.

However, Saffan told the commission when the school does open, it will make an excellent addition to the community.

“It will add another element to the Sports Center, and add to the family fun,” Saffan said. “[The School of Rock] is an unbelievable business, and it will add tremendously to the community.”

The facility is slated to be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those weekday hours, Saffan said, will not bring additional traffic or congestion, as opposed to the busier weekends, when the Sports Center does a booming business between its skating rinks, laser tag, multiple birthday parties, glow in the dark bowling, mini-golf and other facilities.

The School of Rock is expected to employ five to seven instructors, and there will be five additional parking spaces created just for that facility, Saffan told the commission.

Commission Chairman Ruth Parkins inquired about School of Rock parties, and whether the facility would host children's theme parties. Saffan said while the facility could accommodate parties, he said the intent is mainly for musical education.

According to its website, the School of Rock offers a variety of classes for students, including Rock 101, which teaches kids just starting out the fundamentals of playing an instrument, and helps them master the basics while playing actual rock music, prepping them for live shows.

Kids who already know their way around a guitar, keyboard or drums can advance to the Performance Program, where they are taught harmonies, musicianship and how to perform in an authentic live rock and roll show. 

Private weekly lessons are also offered to those who don’t have enough time to jump full on into the rock world, but still seek that School of Rock experience. Special weekly camp sessions are also offered during students’ winter, spring and summer breaks from school.

The School of Rock inspired the movie of the same name in 2003 that starred Jack Black, a wanna-be rock star who takes a substitute teaching job at a private prep school, and ultimately transforms the group of students into pint-sized rockers.

Debbie May 26, 2011 at 12:25 PM
Just an FYI. Did you know that one of Jack Black's young co-stars in this movie began her career as a ShowBiz Kid at That's ShowBiz! Dance-Theatre School, located on Bridgeport Ave. in Shelton?
Flying June 03, 2011 at 07:35 AM
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