By Brooke Wright, Contributing Writer
It’s August in Flower Mound, the air is hot and heavy. My kids woke up at the crack of dawn again, so I’m sipping my second cup of London Fog. I can’t help smiling as I look up from the sheet music of “She Used to be Mine,” by Sara Bareilles to see 15-year-old Addison crouching on the ground, one hand bracing herself from falling over, the other covering the huge smile on her face. I leaned back, “What thoughts are you thinking?” I ask, my hand unconsciously smoothing the top of my TikTok tutorial half mohawk braid that has become a staple for work.
“I can’t believe I just did that!” she exclaimed, “I didn’t know I could sing like that.” She buried her face in her hands, feeling the release of emotions built up as she belted into the microphone.
“Are you kidding? Of course you can, you’re amazing!” I said rubbing my hand back and forth to calm down the hairs standing straight up on my forearm. “Look, you gave me goosebumps! That is what it takes to be a true artist, taking an emotion and channeling it through music. Even better, you evoked the exact same emotion in me by implementing more passion through your dynamics.”
I stand up, wearing my Music Director uniform – the eclectic collection of items purchased to expose my inner rockstar status, flowy tops with crisscrossed straps, distressed jeans, funky accessories, blingy tennis shoes and lean into the hug as she throws herself at me. “I’m so proud of you Addie, this is huge…you’ve finally found your voice.”
At our newly re-opened Bach to Rock, America’s Music School, our goal is to teach kids how to be a voice and not an echo. More than that, we want our students to embrace their own individual power. Most walk in as thermometers, only capable of taking a reading and relaying the information. Using the B2R principles, we teach them how to develop their thermostat ability, effectively changing the temperature of any room. Our curriculum empowers students to find their voice, giving them choices, and celebrating when they are brave enough to share their opinion.
After the foundation is laid, our goal is to show them how to respect the ideas of others through our group classes: Rock Band, Glee Club, and Guitar 101, where collaborative ideas lead to inspirational music. Bands are usually made up of four to six players and a vocalist and are placed according to their age and ability.
Belonging to a band at B2R supports the needed growth in teamwork and positive social interaction that was severely lacking as our community battles the after-effects of the isolation of a post-pandemic world.
In my experience working with older children from environmental trauma, I have seen incredible healing through music. Achieving mutual objectives during band builds self-esteem, and frequent performance opportunities bring peer recognition and encourage healthy competition, resulting in a strong sense of personal accomplishment.
We teach kids to respect and learn from all types of music, even if it is not our normal preference or taste. Top 40, classical, hip-hop, blues, country, gospel, jazz, a cappella, bluegrass, electronica, and original music all have value, and they all have a place at B2R.
As students learn to value others’ musical tastes and preferences, we encourage them to become an expert in something, whether that be choreography, lyrics, or even making sure everyone’s earplugs are in before playing full volume. This inclusive teaching method promotes looking deeper to find value in their peers which creates a safe place for friendships to form.
Bach to Rock Flower Mound just reopened in mid-June, but our staff is already making a lasting impact in the greater Flower Mound community. As we champion inclusivity, we have fundraised and discounted our services to provide scholarships for foster children and other families who normally would not have the funds or access to a spot in our Rock Band Camps. B2R FloMo donated services to support local PTA Back to School events and community fairs. Our Early Childhood classes are inclusive as we celebrate and embrace the abilities of both neurotypical and neurodivergent students. Half of our staff are working towards their music therapy degrees, giving them even more tools to pull from their musical toolbelt as they lead EC classes: Rock City, Rock N Roll and Kids ‘N Keys.
As Addison and I leave the classroom I’m greeted warmly by the peppy Admin seated at the front desk and as soon as my hands are empty, I turn to the preteens and their parents waiting in the lobby, greeting each one by name with their own special handshake, fist bump or hug. It’s officially Rock Band time. My future rock stars line up, antsy to get into the Stage room, the highlight of the entire school for their hour-long class. Inside, the spotlights are on and the stage is lit up as each student eagerly jumps up on the stage and grabs their chosen instrument. The air is filled with a cheerful cacophony of sound as bass and guitar are plugged into their amps to tune and the keyboard fills the air with the original song written the night before. The drummer adjusts her throne to the perfect height, stomping the kick and hi-hat until everything feels just right. I grin at the volume as I close the door behind me and ensure my custom earplugs are pushed all the way in. It’s a good day to make music. It’s a good day to heal.
Bach to Rock is located in the Highlands Ranch Shopping Center at FM 2499 and Dixon Lane in Flower Mound. If you would like more information on enrollment, a VIP tour of our amazing facility, or to help change the trajectory of a student’s life by providing collaborative scholarships for future Rock Band Camp students, please reach out to [email protected], 214-396-8666, or check out our website at flowermound.bachtorock.com.