My name is Madison and I received aid from this foundation for many years. Words cannot express how thankful I am that I got to experience Rock School. Thank you all so much! I used my experiences at Rock School to write my college essay, which got me in to the University of Rochester (associated with the Eastman School of Music). My acceptance letter mentioned how they thought my growth at Rock School was something they believed I could continue to do in college. I wanted to share this essay, as it is a very accurate description of my experience with the School of Rock.
“As a young teenager, I had very little confidence in myself and was particularly struggling with my recent move to a new city and yet another new school. I had an extreme discomfort with new situations, and I feared asking others for help because I didn’t want to be ridiculed. I was kept awake every night with feelings of dread and regret. My anxiety even prevented me from communicating with my family, and I felt isolated. My mother and I could not bond, although she tried to connect with me. I was later diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which I had ignored for a long time.
However, my life went through a massive change when my mother discovered the School of Rock on her drive home from work and enrolled me in their performance program for the guitar. I had no experience with the guitar, though I had bought one for my birthday not knowing what I was going to do with it. My musical experience was limited to a few previous years of orchestra on the viola. I was anxious about my first rehearsal, but when I first walked in the doors, the staff welcomed me with open arms. The school felt so much like home, including a dog and a backroom kitchen! They genuinely seemed excited that I was about to join their community.
In my first show, I received three guitar songs to learn and perform at a concert after a few months of rehearsal, and although they were relatively simple, they proved to be the most difficult musical challenge I had ever been presented with. Even with my hours of devoted practice, the songs did not seem to get easier. I was so nervous about failing that I asked my director if I could give my songs to other people so I wouldn’t let the other people in my show down. However, he refused. Instead, he encouragingly told me that if I gave my best effort, I would be good enough. He taught me how to make the songs easier, and above all, he refused to let me give up. Furthermore, this instructor was able to convince me to sing for the show. I had never tried to sing before, much less performed anything in front of people, so this was a feat greater than anything I had ever done. I began to open up to the community, and I made so many new friends of all ages and backgrounds that have influenced me to be confident with myself. I was no longer afraid to ask people for help. More importantly, I was willing to accept that I could make mistakes in front of people and everything would still be okay because I could learn from the experience.
When I finally reached performance time, I wasn’t nervous about performing, in fact, I was excited to show the world what I had learned. I had built up a massive load of confidence alongside my peers at the School of Rock. I was finally overcoming my anxiety, which had taken a hold of my life. My family was bewildered when they saw me perform on stage. I recall them saying that they did not even recognize me when I was performing because I was not the timid girl they knew. This new confidence was transferred into my home and school life. I finally began to communicate with my family, and form bonds which I would never have had otherwise. I made friends of all types and learned to take in new ideas from them. In school, I became confident in my ability to take on rigorous challenges. I worked hard and began taking honors courses again, which eventually lead to taking as many AP and IB classes as I could.
I have continued to perform with the School of Rock since then, and I have grown exponentially as a musician and a performer. I have performed in many concerts and have learned to play seven instruments including being able to sing. I have auditioned into the School of Rock’s House Band, which allows me to tour all over Utah and help younger students gain the confidence I had gained upon first entering the school. I am so grateful for the experiences I have had at the School of Rock, and I know the confidence I have gained from their community will be a valuable treasure throughout my life.”
Thank you so much for all the opportunities this foundation has been able to help me experience! I hope that this foundation will forever be able to help provide kids with these life changing opportunities.
School of Rock 2011-2016
A Note From Madison’s Mom
I want to thank you for the opportunity that my daughter has been given to go to the School of Rock as it has changed her life. I feel this opportunity enabled her to attain a full ride scholarship to Rochester University in New York to attend college. Music school helped her learn discipline, commitment, how to achieve goals and get along with others. Prior to attending the School of Rock, she had gotten expelled from school in the 8th grade and felt hopeless about her future. Now she is an honor student, musician, and has a promising future. She will never forget this opportunity and is excited to give back after attaining her PhD.