New Zealand Rock and Roll Workshops

Rock and Roll workshops at the School Of Arts and Sciences have come a long way since the days of the ‘Rock And Roll Day’ events held on the campus every Spring. Today the school offers a diverse curriculum that will teach students about the history and culture of rock and music in this country and around the world.

Rock the Schools: 09 hit the northern rivers with a huge bang, bringing its rock and roll workshops, tutorials and musical presentations to both schools, culminating in an afternoon concert at both schools as part of a major festival. Year 11 students in Goonellabah, Jacob Pratten and Rachel Horan, looked the best of all as they played The Northern Star and gave their media interviews. The day ended with a live show by local artist David Fenton on the university’s historic stage.

Rock and Roll Workshop: This year’s rock and roll workshop programme cover a variety of topics including history, pop, rockabilly, blues, metal, soul and reggae, and more. The programme also features workshops on music theory, performance, improvisation, personal and group development, and more.

Rockabilly: This year’s theme was a celebration of rockabilly. During the week students were taught how to create a poster and perform a mini-concert at the school. Students also learned how to write, draw and paint using rockabilly style colours, and how to record their music using tape and other digital tools.

Guitar: A guitar workshop was held in the summer, where students learned the basics of guitar playing and learned to use effect pedals to make their music. During the week, students were taught how to strum a guitar, play music theory and take part in musical drama. The end result was a performance by local guitar star Ben MacIntyre.

Rockabilly and Blues: This year’s theme was a celebration of blues and rockabilly. For the first week, students learnt guitar tabs, played a song and learned how to record with the help of effect pedals and a band.

Rockabilly Music Theory: This year’s workshops offered students an interactive look into the music and dance of rockabilly and blues. During the week students were given the opportunity to create a show about rockabilly and blues, learn about the differences between the two genres and use musical effect pedals to create unique sound effects.

Other summer workshop highlights included a night of comedy and a free concert at a local cinema. A night of free jazz at the Opera House also received rave reviews from students. The event also featured music by local artist David Fenton and singer-songwriter Dave Gadd from a popular New Zealand band The Vibrations.

Rockabilly workshops are not limited to secondary schools alone. A number of primary schools have been hosting rockabilly workshops for years. Schools in South Auckland have also hosted rockabilly workshops as students have started to form bands.

One of the most popular rockabilly music workshops is the one held at the Christchurch Primary School in Papakura. During the week, children and parents were given the chance to learn how to perform songs and perform a songwriting workshop.

Lessons were held each day for up to seven hours and taught by professional teachers. Children were taught to read notes, how to practice their technique and use their fingers to play the guitar. Some of the lessons even featured lessons on drumming, keyboards, piano, and acoustic guitar.

It is hoped that the next Christchurch Primary School workshop will be held in Papakura next year. If this is the case then the workshop will include more of the same experience as the present workshop.