June 27, 2017
We just finished our student exhibitions at all of our schools and I found myself walking around with a constant smile on my face. On one level, I am really proud to see the artwork all over our walls that simply demonstrates the time and effort our students and staff are putting in. We really have become a first rate art school.
But, beyond the artwork, I can’t get over the pride on our student’s faces as they look at their work and the hundreds of others around them. One River has grown and has become a real community. And, at our shows, our community is even larger with friends and family enjoying the creative energy in our space.
Art making is like playing music…you do it because it makes you feel good and allows you to express yourself in a different way. Like music, it also needs to be shared with others and our student exhibitions are a concert in their own right with a real audience providing the feedback and the love.
March 21, 2016
After 15 seasons, American Idol will fade into the sunset after the current winner is selected. The success of American Idol is undeniable…for many years it was the number one rated show on television and has played a role in helping almost 350 young singers jump start their careers.
Despite the fact that I don’t dig the term “idol” and sometimes find the show a bit overproduced, people across America have been riveted for years…and right now, I am riveted too. Dalton Rapattoni is a Top 5 Contestant at American Idol and he is one of our kids! Former School of Rock Student and current School of Rock Teacher at our school in Frisco, TX, Dalton threw his life into School of Rock and School of Rock gave him a platform to learn, grow and nurture his talent, while helping him find a place to call home during adolescence.
Whether you are a musician or a visual artist. Or a fashion designer or computer fanatic. Chances are you are in search of a place to feel like yourself and stretch your skills. My greatest goals with One River (and School of Rock for that matter) are to provide places that develop the creative spirit in people by providing a cool experience that is fun and leads to developing friendships. It just so happens that we develop great artists as a by-product of our unique educational platforms as well. Dalton is the living proof and hopefully will help American Idol rock its finale.
Vote for Dalton!!!
April 20, 2015
Not sure what comes to mind when I say “Abbey Road,” but my gut is that 99.9% of Americans think of the epic Beatles Album. Interestingly, Abbey Road may be their most well known record but most Beatles fans suggest it was not their best…Sgt. Peppers and Revolver tend to flip-flop in the top position.
February 16, 2015
Like a lot of people these days, I find it much easier to wait for movies to be available on demand, but this year I jumped in and have seen a bunch of the major Oscar contenders. Which brings me to Whiplash. Dos Pulgares Arriba…Two Thumbs Up!
The movie had a strong personal connection for me since I have spent a lot of time teaching music and art to teens and kids. The question gets down to what method of teaching drives perfection and I am not sure there is an absolute answer. For most people in the world, perfection is not the goal and more importantly is not possible to achieve.
Our program at One River and the one we built at School of Rock drives an enhanced level of seriousness and rigor over time, but a key attribute for both is “having fun.” We believe in our ability to help turn on the fire so the “joy of doing” fuels practice, a sense of wonder and inevitably great skill development reflected in amazing outcomes.
The challenge at hand in Whiplash is simple. Once you make that leap to “go pro,” you are playing for keeps. Whether your goal is the symphony, showing your work at a museum or making it in sports for that matter, hard work is often the differentiator. To me, finding a great coach who will push you to limit AND care about your well-being will prevent whiplash.
Monday, February 16, 2015
November 10, 2014
This past Saturday was a truly special day. In celebration of our new exhibition 12”, we had teens from the School of Rock in Tenafly play an acoustic set at the gallery. It happened to be during our Advanced Teen Art Class and it gave us a chance to have those students work on a drawing assignment: capture the School of Rock players in pencil as part of a great skill building / fun one-hour project.
While this project was rooted in a basic drawing exercise, the underlying meaning was much greater to me. Music and art are in our soul. We champion sports at such a high level in suburbia and often our most creative kids get left out. I have devoted the better part of the last ten years of my life to make sure that we have the coolest places for Teens and Kids to express themselves. Seeing our School of Rock students play an amazing set while our One River students captured it in sketches brought it all full circle for me.
After the event, I saw a nod of respect from the players to the artists and vice versa. It was a signal that said all these kids are connected in a profound way. There is a Latin saying Finet Origine Pendet…”the end depends on the beginning.” If we find a way to stimulate great expressive outcomes in young folks I am sure they will continue with it as they mature. Their minds will develop into the next generation of creative thinkers and we all will appreciate it more when their worlds collide.
Monday, November 10, 2014
July 15, 2013
Art vs. Music
To me it is all the same…somehow my brain processes art just like it processes music. When a song or a painting are composed right, they both beg you to engage whether you’re listening or looking for rhythm.
Last week we pushed our art limits by running our first music centric class: Electronic Music Production. Five really cool teen students learned the basics of Ableton software and made beats, loops and composed their first tracks. Check them out: Track 1 Track 2 Track 3 You can sign up for our next session HERE.
What’s interesting is that music and art are both caught up in the throws of the convergence to digital tools and digital delivery. After nine months of teaching art both traditionally and digitally, in one week we were able to bust into the digital music space.
Anyone ready for piano lessons? Ok, I now figured out where we draw the line at One River.
Monday, July 15, 2013