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Rockshop Academy Finding Its Groove with Young Musicians

Mike's Drum Shop program hitting all the right notes, including a Wednesday benefit featuring Jason Liebman. Enter Noozhawk's drawing for tickets

School is in session.

But students aren’t anxiously awaiting the 3 p.m. bell and homework doesn’t involve long division or book reports.

Instead, they’re learning new guitar licks, writing lyrics and mastering professionalism and stage presence. This is Rockshop Academy.

Girls rock, too, at Rockshop Academy.
Girls rock, too, at Rockshop Academy. (Rockshop Academy photo)

“With my bleached hair and combat boots, I don’t exactly fit the mold of Mr. Rogers but this is one of the best feelings of my life,” said George Pendergast, the former Dishwalla and Penfifteen Club drummer, who now owns Mike’s Drum Shop, 1109 De la Vina St.

“It’s as awesome as playing a big show.”

Pendergast has been running the program for three years at Mike’s Drum Shop, a 40-year staple of the Santa Barbara community that has provided thousands of drumming lessons.

Rockshop Academy, which started out as a summer camp, has expanded into a year-round venture that helps advanced young musicians improve their craft. Pendergast is phasing out the retail side of the store and he, along with former Dishwalla manager David Young and Terry Baxter, are dedicating all their efforts to the nonprofit Rockshop Academy.

“We naturally build that trust zone and students find it’s a safe place to expose their talents,” Baxter said. “We help them find their range, we make it a positive environment and expand from there.”

But for a band to sound tight, it takes much more than understanding an instrument, Baxter said. Students learn how to prepare for live performances and work on their performance techniques, professionalism and etiquette.

“What separates us from other camps is the organization level and the community we have with our parents,” Baxter explained. “When the students get on stage, they are performing at a rate adults perform.”

Although the academy’s summer session has ended, Rockshop students are preparing for their upcoming Annual Showcase on Sept. 25.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Rockshop Academy will promote the Annual Showcase with a special performance by singer/songwriter Jason Liebman hosted by The Savoy, 409 State St. The monthly “Rockshop Presents” event demonstrates the quality and talent that goes along with the Rockshop brand, Baxter said.

“It’s a model for what type of music we’re helping bring into Santa Barbara,” she said, adding that Rockshop expects to launch its year-round sessions in October.

Tickets to Wedneday’s Rockshop Academy benefit are $8. Click here to purchase tickets online.

Noozhawk has a limited number of tickets to give away to the show. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to be entered into a drawing.

Click here for more information on Rockshop Academy, or call 805.962.1211. Connect with Rockshop Academy on Facebook. Follow Rockshop Academy on Twitter: @RockshopAcademy.

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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