Performance is the Key: Acoustics Rock Down Under
In music and in architecture, performance is vital. In the late 1990s, Paul Green started offering music lessons to children after school from his home in the USA. The lessons proved so popular that he opened the Paul Green School of Music in Philadelphia. The music school was based on a unique insight; performing is the key. Paul noticed that students who performed in public, and who played in bands with older, established, musicians progressed further and faster than those who had private, one on one lessons. This focus on performance became the founding principle of the school, which was soon franchised across the USA.
In 2003 Viacoms Paramount Studio made a film, starring Jack Black, about an out-of-work guitarist called Dewey Finn, who teaches school children to play rock music. Called “School of Rock”, the film was the highest grossing musical comedy until “Pitch Perfect” in 2015. To this day, nobody seems to know if the film was based on the Paul Green School of Music. In 2009 the Paul Green franchise was bought out, and the name was changed to the School of Rock. Today there are over 180 School of Rock franchises in 8 countries, with around 17,000 students.
Every School of Rock has the same core philosophy; performance is the key. Students of any ability can enrol, everyone works to perform live with established rock musicians, and the top students get to play in their own band. School of Rock students have played thousands of concerts to more than 100,000 people at such legendary venues such as CBGB’s, The Trocadero, The Knitting Factory, The Whiskey, The Roxy, The Experience Music Project, The Big Easy, and BB King’s Club in Times Square.
It was this performance focus that drove franchise owner, Dom Loiacono to bring the School of Rock to Perth. “We take students from lesson room to the stage, which develops their confidence and musicianship with programs designed for all skill levels”.
But the performance of musicians is just part of the equation. For performance based music studies, a modern environment with tailored, high-performance acoustics is crucial.
To create the perfect environment, Dom sought out Pro Sound Productions Managing Director, Shannon de Bie. As an award winning musician and composer, Shannon had the industry knowledge, performance focus and design skills to turn School of Rock into a ‘hit’.
Shannon explained the importance of quality acoustic materials, saying that, “Without appropriate acoustic controls within an enclosed space, verbal and musical communication is dramatically hindered. The most common interior spaces we deal with are square or rectangular rooms within which, without sufficient reverberant absorption, the sound will immediately interact with reflective parallel surfaces. Using Autex Quietspace® Panel makes it possible to clad direct to these reflective surfaces and eliminate most of the primary acoustic reflection – thus a person’s voice or instrument will sound much more clear and direct.”
Autex Quietspace Panel was specified for the School of Rock due to its balanced absorption across the frequency spectrum. Most common absorbers perform well in the higher frequencies but don’t address lower frequency sound, and this can cause tonal deform of sound as the lower frequency sound waves persist in the space.
Acoustic performance wasn't the only reason for using Autex materials. The School of Rock design called for strong, colourful patterns, with motifs such as large swirling patterns, the “rock hand”, and the School of Rock logo. Quietspace Panel and Vertiface® velour coverings allowed these customised design elements to be hand crafted for the School.
The project was completed in January 2017 and opened its doors to an enthusiastic group of parents and children.
The acoustic quality of the project has positively affected the quality of the music program.