Dubai gets its own school of rock

Two of the UK's top musicians have introduced the first Rock Academy in Dubai for children age 11 to 18 during spring break.

From left, Chris Kelly and Chris Stone, the founders of the Rock Academy Worldwide.
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Two of the UK's top musicians have introduced the first Rock Academy in Dubai for children age 11 to 18 during spring break. The drummer Chris Stone has toured with music heavyweights such as Aerosmith, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Stereophonics; and the guitarist, singer/songwriter Chris Kelly's band The Scooters was invited by Johnny Depp to be the resident band at his LA club The Viper Room. The duo are developing a summer school programme and will set up in Dubai permanently by September.

Week one of Rock Academy takes place at The English College from Sunday to Thursday next week and week two at GEMS Wellington International School from April 15 to 19. Spaces are still available.

Students will perfect cover versions of rock and pop songs, write their own material and play their first live gig, to work towards fulfilling their dream of becoming "rock stars".

Highlights of the course include:


The course focuses on learning as a unit rather than through individual tuition. "Kids will pick up skills of navigating through the stage and costume. There will also be a Q&A session during which details of the music business will be addressed including legal aspects," said Kelly.

Stone said instruments include drums, bass, lead guitar, keyboard as well as learning DJ and vocalist skills. The team partnered with Melody House and NMK Dubai who are supplying free instruments and offering a discount for students wishing to make a purchase.

Working with professionals

As qualified youth workers, both Kelly and Stone will share invaluable experience and knowledge.

"I learnt a lot from seeing various bands and I'm very happy to be sharing that knowledge with the kids next week. I started playing drums at school with friends, which is why such a group activity will be essential," said Stone.

Kelly also formed his band The Scooters with friends at a young age.

Music: a tool for self-confidence

Stone said many of the kids they have taught began with low self-esteem but quickly grew more confident - something visible through body language.

"They will all learn to look after and provide plenty of support to fellow band members," he said. "They also learn to work with professional tutors who will also perform with them."

Music and education

Music is a form of therapy, said Stone, and through writing songs, they learn to release any problems.

"When you scratch the surface of what we do, music is a tool for kids to improve socially and in other areas by learning key skills such as problem solving, group work and improving their own performances," he said.

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