You’ve no doubt been dragged to a snoozy music recital before, where amateur musicians run through tedious exercises to an audience of relatives who are there out of obligation.
But the owner and instructors at Learn to Burn School of Music are looking to change perceptions of those dreaded musical rites of passage. This weekend, they’ll transform a typical student concert into an all-night show at the Knitting Factory, where musicians of all ages and skill levels will take the stage to show off their chops with a program of rock ’n’ roll favorites both old and new.
This won’t be your average recital, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself headbanging.
“We’ve done recitals before, but normally they’re at a church or a smaller venue,” said Learn to Burn owner Roy Jackson. “This is going to be a pretty impressive stage for these students.”
Jackson, who started Learn to Burn in 1990 with future Alter Bridge guitarist Myles Kennedy, estimates there will be 50 student musicians performing, and they range from grade-schooler to senior citizens.
“We’ll have an 8-year-old and a 35-year-old student playing guitar on the same song,” Jackson said. “There might be a song where you’ll have three guitar players onstage, all doing different things.”
Students of Learn to Burn’s vocal, percussion and piano instructors also will perform, and their song selections will be, appropriately, all over the place: “We’re doing everything from Police tunes to Taylor Swift, Judas Priest, Stevie Wonder and everything in between,” Jackson said.
But this is more than night of fun cover tunes: Jackson said that a show like this is important because it allows the students, no matter their age or background, to realize their rock star potential. “Maybe they’ve played at church, or maybe they have a garage band and they’ve played a gig or two,” he said. “But I don’t think any of the students have played on a stage this size before.”
Along with the Learn to Burn students, local bands Hoodoo Udu and Troubador will perfrom, as well as Brown Sugar & Cream, a cover band that consists entirely of Learn to Burn instructors. “We’re kind of an ’80s band,” Jackson said, noting that some of the students will be joining their teachers for a Pat Benatar or Bryan Adams song.
“There’s going to be all levels of musicians on that stage – from the people who have been taking lessons from six to eight months, to people who have been taking lessons from six to eight years,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be an incredible night of music.”