Inspiring a new generation of rock ’n’ rollers
by Bart Mendoza
Published - 02/07/13 - 10:05 AM | 5414 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rock and Roll San Diego on Sports Arena Boulevard offers aspiring musicians opportunities to grow and learn. But the venue is much more than just that.  Courtesy photo
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There are several options in the area when it comes to learning the art of music, but nothing comes close to Rock and Roll San Diego. Located at 3360 Sports Arena Blvd., the school opened in June 2011. Like other such schools, it teaches students how to play an instrument and then moves them to the live stage. But that’s where the similarities end.

Founded by guitarist Mark Langford, the school offers in addition to basic music education just about everything needed for a professional musician: rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, instrument rentals, repairs, a talent agency, two management companies and more.

It’s a testament to the quality of the operation that bands as big and diverse as legendary new wave combo The B-52s and hardcore heroes Pierce the Veil have been in residence recently. Meanwhile, Rock and Roll San Diego also houses a noted local record company, Pacific Records, with a roster that includes such notables as Sprung Monkey, Social Club, Samantha Clemons and Jimmy Patton. At 13,000 square feet and 26 rooms, it’s an impressive undertaking.

“It’s really for professionals, but we’re ‘allowing’ students to come in and learn at a professional facility,” Langford joked.

Though he can’t point to any one inspiration for launching the school, Langford said his motivation came simply from feeling he “needed to give back and contribute.”

Rock ’n’ roll isn’t the only music supported at the school, which boasts “some of the best teachers in town.” A particular point of pride includes having Lito Romero of classical guitar icons The Romeros as executive director of the classical program. Langford himself is perhaps best known for his time in metal band Bible Black, though these days he focuses on classical and flamenco guitar.

He acknowledges there is competition in the music-education market.

“There is, but we’re a whole different ball game,” he said. “I feel we’ve one-upped everybody. Most places just teach you to make music, some even to get on stage. We (also) teach and inspire students to create and write music.

“I feel so strongly about people creating their own music. That’s one of the things that’s important to me.”

Langford sees music as more than just playing a particular instrument or finding a particular niche to occupy. At Rock and Roll San Diego, students are immersed in all aspects of the music biz.

“When a student comes in you don’t just learn to play or sing,” he said. “We teach them the music business, we teach them a little bit about production, so that when they’re in the studio they know how to communicate with the engineer, when they’re on stage they know what monitors are, they know mic placement and so on. All the students who are involved help each other in recital, from the sound engineering to the videography, so they’re not alone when they go out there, they’re part of a team.

“Without the arts, we end up with doers, not thinkers. And this creates thinkers,” he said. “I know that most students will probably not make a career of it, but they can think outside the box when they become a lawyer, doctor or engineer. What we’re giving them is creativity and discipline — knowing how to learn.”

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