– An East Bay man has turned his love for rock music into an after-school program and summer camp. It’s called 3 O’Clock Rock.
We’ve covered the program on KTVU.com before, but now, founder Billy Ribak’s goal to inspire and teach students about music is taking them to new heights as they’ll head to Memphis next week for a concert series where students will perform live gigs themselves.
Ribak says he wants to teach music to students in a way that makes it fun and educational and that having students bring what they learn to the stage is an important part of being a musician.
The week before heading out to Memphis, the program held a concert at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe in Emeryville. A band of boys who call themselves ‘Revo’ performed. They’re a product of what some might describe as a revolutionary way to learn music.
The program teaches students ages seven through 17 to work with others by forming bands, playing shows, making records and going on tour.
“I think the best part is the shows that we play like here is fun,” says 14-year-old student Theo Schreiber.
Students say they hope to inspire others through their performances.
“I think it would be nice if they see us perform and decide to pick up an instrument for themselves,” Micah Peterson says.
Peterson received a scholarship to the program for what Ribak calls his “outstanding commitment to his band.”
“He has really shown an interest for sound engineering by helping with recording his band at the program’s Downtown Oakland studios,” Ribak says.
Ribak is partnering with Oakland Unified School District to provide after-school programs and summer camps.
He says the experience is exhilarating and that the experience is about giving them a voice they didn’t have before.
“[It’s like] the feeling of hitting a home run for some people. It’s the one time in school they can shine because they’re not into sports. They’re not into computing,” Ribak says.
It’s also a lesson in discipline.
“We have a deadline. We have to practice these songs for these shows and it really helps,” Schreiber says.
Ribak says music has no boundaries and its education should extend beyond the walls of a classroom.
At the performance in Emeryville, an all-girl group band wrote their own song called “Be Who You Are.”
But part of the experience also includes looking the part of a rock musician. That means pre-performance hair-styling sessions.
“It kind of gets you into that zone, like, ‘This is now,'” says hairstylist and musician Ileath Bridges as she teases a young drummer’s hair into a beehive.
“I like to do a lot of crazy stuff on drums,” 9-year-old student Caelyn Ford says. Her band’s name is Maroon Cookie Copters.
Ribak says the program is for people who really love music.
For these kids, who are passionate about music, they’ll get an opportunity to go to Memphis, the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, to perform and record music in a studio and visit museums like Graceland, as part of their music education.
Ribak says there is a cost for the after-school programs and summer camps, but with the help of a non-profit and donations, there are scholarships available.