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School of Rock Advances Experiential Curriculum Through Partnerships with Fox and APG

The performance-based music education franchise adds value for students and franchisees by teaming up with entertainment industry giants.

By Madeline LenaStaff Writer
SPONSORED 8:08AM 01/24/19

Revolutionary at the time of its founding two decades ago for turning the accepted method of music education on its head, School of Rock still hasn’t lost its edge. Having now grown to more than 220 locations across the globe with over 30,000 students per year, the brand’s reach is incredible. Somehow amidst its extensive catalog of varied music offerings, School of Rock still finds time to innovate. The brand recently partnered with two extremely influential companies in entertainment, 20th Century Fox and Artist Partner Group, to create unmatched experiential education opportunities for its students.

With a leadership team comprised of experienced franchise executives who are either musicians themselves or deeply passionate about music and music education, the partnerships were a no-brainer. School of Rock teamed up with 20th Century Fox for the release of the Queen frontman Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. In the months and weeks leading up to the movie’s release, School of Rock and Fox collaborated on a number of co-marketing programs, including PR events, in-school curriculum, promotions and sweepstakes.

“As part of my work on the theatrical marketing team, our goal is to drive buzz for the film,” said Chris Cerbo, Fox’s senior VP of marketing partnerships. “We were seeking third parties to help extend the message about the film in general, but particularly to a younger audience, and we identified School of Rock as a great potential partner.”

To kick off the partnership, the brands teamed up to host a press day in Las Vegas in early September where entertainment writers interviewed talent, saw Queen perform during the band’s limited residency on the Las Vegas Strip, and learned to play Queen’s greatest hits with School of Rock’s staff and students.

“By bringing School of Rock into the press day activation to serve as the talented backup band for the event, we were able to integrate the movie into an awesome experience for attending media members,” Cerbo said. “The partnership has been an awesome way to drive awareness, interest and excitement for the film.”

Fitting perfectly with its performance-based music education philosophy, School of Rock has also incorporated Queen songs into its curriculum across all locations to educate young fans on Queen’s unique sound and revive the band’s spirit in a new generation of musicians.

“School of Rock and the studio worked together to create experiences that celebrated Queen’s legacy,” Cerbo said. “Aligning Bohemian Rhapsody with a brand partner that has rock music in its DNA was the perfect way to support this cultural moment by telling stories around the film.”

Beyond encouraging a deeper appreciation of Queen through incorporating the band’s music into its curriculum, School of Rock franchise locations submitted videos of their students performing their favorite Queen song to win a private screening of the film as part of the Fox partnership. Cerbo said that when his team was sent the top three videos, they couldn’t choose just one and gave all three schools a private screening because the talent was so immense.

“They were so excited to see the film and be a part of what we were doing, we knew we couldn't choose just one,” he said. “We knew then that excitement and experience were the reasons we partnered with School of Rock.”

Forming a relationship with Artist Partner Group (APG) has proven to be similarly valuable for School of Rock students and franchisees alike, even in its early stages. Partnering with APG, a company that bills itself as a “modern label for forward thinking and entrepreneurial artists,” gives School of Rock the perfect opportunity to connect its students with real opportunities to further their music careers.

The companies decided to team up to foster the development of the next generation of songwriters and performers after a casual meeting between School of Rock CEO Rob Price and APG founder and CEO Mike Caren. Caren’s son is a School of Rock student and when he crossed paths with Price, they struck up a conversation.

“We got to know each other, and curiosity led to brainstorming, and brainstorming manifested to this partnership,” Caren said. “The music industry is thriving and the methods of both learning and making music are changing. In a time where so many are over-focused on social media and popularity, creating a better way to be discovered that’s based on talent, work ethic and vision will inspire people to invest in themselves.”

With both companies in growth mode, the partnership couldn’t be blossoming at a better time. School of Rock will work closely with APG’s A&R department, which is responsible for talent scouting and artistic development of artists within the label, in addition to APG’s publishing and studio divisions.

“Partnering with APG complements our overall approach that taps into the passion of every young musician to help them realize their full potential,” said Elliot Baldini, Senior VP of Marketing for School of Rock. “As we evolve our curriculum to place larger emphasis on songwriting, recording and production, our students will have the opportunity to submit original creative work to APG and receive constructive, industry-informed feedback.”

The partnership is poised to benefit the label as well thanks to School of Rock’s network of nearly 30,000 young musicians worldwide. The brand’s network of hundreds of schools provides a rich environment for diverse and original creativity APG will now have access to. Based on School of Rock staff recommendations, selected talent will get a chance to travel to Los Angeles to work with APG staff in their studios on a live showcase that gives the top artists the opportunity to be selected for further development with the label. The companies will also co-fund $50,000 in tuition to School for young musicians who wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise.

The strength and depth of both of these high-profile partnerships gives School of Rock franchisees and students incredible access to music and entertainment industry giants, creating an unmatched opportunity for students and an unmatched offering for franchisees. School of Rock continues to create meaningful connections to innovate its curriculum, propelling the company to success due to the sheer strength of its services. 

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.