On Stage gives music students a chance to see what it’s like to rehearse and perform as a group

Music is meant to be shared.

Private lessons are an amazing way to learn to play an instrument, but there’s nothing quite like performing live onstage with a band!

That’s why ROOTS Academy is proud to announce the return of our popular On Stage program.

Offered to current music students looking to complement their private lessons, this program provides young musicians the chance to rehearse and perform in a group setting as part of a real, functioning band.

Auditions take place Aug. 27 to 31, so register now!

Music program director Matt Camp said there are countless benefits to learning to play in a group. “The biggest difference between this and private lessons is that, in On Stage, your peers are now holding you accountable for knowing your music,” he said. “Everyone has to show up ready to play their part.”

There are 10 rehearsals in the program, which culminates with a live performance. Matt said that allows the band members to set goals and accomplish them together, rather than alone. “It’s a great opportunity for social and musical growth.”

On Stage is open to current music students ages 7 and older, but they’ll need to audition in order to secure a spot. We’re looking to put together bands for musicians of three age groups: students between the ages of 7 to 9, ages 10 to 12, and age 13 and older. Check out all the details here.

Although participants should already be pretty comfortable with their instruments, Matt said On Stage is for young musicians of all skill levels. “This program isn’t about being ready, it’s about getting ready,” he said. “Most kids don’t have the experience of playing in a band. So the program is designed to help them gain that experience and start developing the skills associated with it.”

Our mentors for the program –  Rick DiGiallonardo, Bre Kolasa, and Kyle Tupper – know all about this. They’ve each been performing for years, and DiGiallonardo has played with legends including Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Seger, Joe Walsh, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Matt said, “There’s no better time than right now to become part of a band.”

We’re looking for student musicians for the following instruments:


Almost always, the singer is the face of the band, and his or her voice plays a huge role in defining the sound of the group. Singers also need to have stage presence that’s engaging and entertaining. “In On Stage, vocalists will learn what it takes to put all of these pieces together and stand out, while still fitting into the band as a whole,” Matt said. “They’ll also spend a lot more time in front of a microphone than they would in private lessons, which means they can’t hide their voice. They’ll gain a lot of confidence!”


After vocalists, guitarists often step into the spotlight the most. And in some cases, like with Van Halen or AC/DC, they might be the main attraction. Students playing guitar in the On Stage program will have a chance to experience how their instrument can have a different role in each song. “From strumming chords to playing solos, guitarists will be challenged to adapt to the demands of each song on the set list,” Matt said. “This can even mean using different tunings, different amp settings, or effect pedals. As part of the band, guitarists can expect to see their versatility grow a tremendous amount.”


It’s amazing what a bass player can do for a band. The one word that comes to mind for the bassist is “support.” In a band setting, the bass isn’t usually viewed or utilized as a featured instrument. But as a bridge between rhythm and melody, you could argue that it’s the most essential part of a band. “The On Stage experience will show bass players just how important their role is and how to best support the music,” Matt said. “Less is more, and students who play bass will get a front row seat to see how simplicity and support are two of the greatest talents they can possess.”


“A bad drummer can make a great band sound okay, but a great drummer can make an okay band sound great,” Matt said. The drummer’s feel and interpretation of the music are often what makes or breaks a song. In a band setting, drummers really learn how much of an impact they can have, and what it means to “lock in” with the bassist. “A drummer needs to be able to think and act independently, but perform as part of the group,” Matt said. “In On Stage, special attention is focused on timing, feel, dynamic sensitivity, and song form.”


Similar to the bass player, the role of the keyboard player might not always be the most alluring. But, much like a guitarist, they can also take the melody or play solos. “When playing keys in On Stage, students will learn how and when to have musical moments both featured and non-featured,” Matt said. “In addition, students will learn a bit about synthesizers, which might be something new.” With so many sound options, these students will learn just how many different musical pallets they have to create with.

If you’re a ROOTS music student, this could be your big break! Register to audition now!

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Fall Break Hours 10/17-10/20: OPEN for music lessons; dance is CLOSED.