It’s Sean Stone’s job to teach little kids how to “rock out.”
Having fun and learning basic music skills is the goal of the Kidzrock program Stone directs through Halpin Music Company. Two bands of four showed off the skills they learned in the eight-week course at a concert Sunday afternoon in the Riverbender Community Center.
The kids, ages four to seven, get to pick their own band names. The Yellow Rock ‘n Trolls and The Rockin’ Rainbows performed songs such as “Anyone Can Dance Excitedly!” and “My Back Yard.” One Yellow Rock ‘n Trolls band member, Lizzy Lenger, 6, said she likes music because she gets to play in a band.
“We work together,” said Lenger, who plays keyboard and guitar, but says the guitar is her favorite.
Working together is a main lesson Stone said he tries to instill in the kids as they learn music basics.
“I ask them, ‘How does a band do stuff?’ and they have to reply, ‘Together’,” Stone said.
Though teaching small kids how to play rock music to herding can be likened to “herding cats,” Stone said, it helps them develop cognitive and motor skills, and helps them pick out an instrument they like early on in life.
That’s a key goal of the program, said Halpin Music President Mark Landon, who joined the business in 1980. He spearheaded the program a year and a half ago after learning about it from its founder, St. Louis-based Dave Simon of Dave Simon’s Rock School.
“This gets them thinking in terms of musical notation,” Landon said of the color-coded note reading system and modified instruments.
Band members rotate from electric guitar, to keyboard, to drums as they learn the basics of each instrument in the rock band. Kidzrock provides the instruments for the band.
The company’s website says the program’s mission is to “engage young children in music education by developing a program that combines basic musical concepts in the fantasy-filled environment of a performing rock band.”
For more information, visit www.halpinmusic.com or call 618-462-0666. Halpin Music is located at 2375 Homer Adams Parkway in Alton.
Reporter Kelsey Landis can be reached at 618-208-6460, Ext. 1396 or on Twitter @kelseylandis.