Over the Easter break, I had the opportunity to take my daughter to see School of Rock on Broadway. For those of you not familiar with the Jack Black movie or the musical inspired by that film, here is a very brief plot summary from the Internet Movie Database.
After being fired from his own band, the guitar player Dewey Finn needs to raise some money to pay for his rent and his bills. When his friend and school teacher Ned Schneebly is called to a temporary work in an expensive private school, Dewey pretends to be Ned and accepts the job. He finds talented young musicians in his class, and he decides to form a rock-and-roll band with the students and win a competition called “Battle of The Bands” to win the prize and be recognized in the show business.
The show, whose music was written by that icon of the Great White Way, Andrew Lloyd Webber, was a wonderful experience for the both of us. While she enjoyed seeing the pint size actors and actress rock out to songs like Stick It To The Man and You’re In the Band, I was inspired by the subliminal message contained within the musical, a message I thought was lacking in the original film. What struck me were several of the musical numbers, performed at different times by the faculty at the fictional Horace Greene School, and the students in the class, who are benefitting from the day to day rigor of their education, but not fully awakening their minds to the idea that learning can indeed be fun. While the faculty shares with the audience how tight a ship the school is (Here at Horace Greene), the students, wise beyond their years at age 10, lament that nobody asks them for their thoughts, ideas or insights- not their teachers nor their parents (If Only You Would Listen).
I have to say, I had tears on my cheeks at that moving number and I thought to myself, I am glad to be in a place where I know the entire community, teachers and parents, make an effort daily to listen to the children of SDA. Now, while I don’t think that teaching rock music alone is the way to reach every student- (Mr. Finn’s schedule was Rock History, Rock Appreciation and Theory, and Band Practice), I am in agreement that sometimes unconventional teaching reaches students in ways that rote memorization and by the book tests do not.
The overall messages that School of Rock sent, to me and to Abigail, as well I hope to the other parents and children in the sold out theater was that learning can be fun when a teacher is truly inspiring, that when he or she brings a passion for the subject matter that can be shared with the students in the room magic happens, ( or as Mr. Finn called it musical fusion) , and that when together, the students in the class and the teacher who leads them, share a bond of respect, understanding and compassion, then the best type of learning takes place! And I think, in classrooms at 2572 Kennedy Boulevard, this type of inspired learning is happening on a daily basis, and it has been happening since 1878. While I do not hear any drum solos or electric guitar chords blasting through the hallways (thank goodness!), I do see and hear innovative, intriguing and extraordinary lessons occurring in the classrooms at Saint Dominic Academy.
This week, on May 3rd, Saint Dominic Academy will be having an Open House for prospective students and their families! You, our current parents, our alumnae, and those who are connected to SDA in one way or another, can lift your voices this week and invite a family you know to come see all the reasons that Saint Dominic Academy is truly a school that rocks! Open House will begin at 6:00pm and it will be a showcase of all we have to offer students in grades 7-12! I hope that you will help us spread the word and make the event a stellar and successful one for the SDA community!
Oh, and if you are looking for a way to, as the musical said live hardcore, for a few hours on a spring afternoon or evening, then I recommend taking your daughter to see School of Rock! It was an amazing show, one of the best I’ve seen, and I do plan to see it again, and rock out with Mr. Finn and his pint sized band!