Are you a Rockstar?
Writer: Dominic Luk
Published: Fri, 11 Jan 2013
Located in Ampang, Rockstarz Performing Arts Studio is one of the latest innovative music education academies around town that is creating a new generation of music lovers. Rockstarz provides professional training in singing, piano, guitar, and drama for kids and teens.
Selangor Times spoke with the founder of Rockstarz, Debra Abraham, to find out more.
What is your background and how did you start teaching music?
Debra: I grew up in a family where the sounds of Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Santana (amongst others) kept us company throughout everything we did: chores, studying, travelling etc. Hence, after completing school, it was to no one’s surprise that I decided to pursue a degree in music; which entailed years of piano, singing and history lessons with memorable performing experiences thrown in! It was during these years as a young student of music (and life!) that I found my greatest love-Singing! At that point, teaching was not the first thing on my mind.
The (now false!) impression that teaching was time consuming and mundane, made me shy away from becoming a teacher. However, when I took up the job as music teacher in an international school after university, I discovered that teaching was my true calling.
What was the journey like starting your own school?
Debra: It was a matchless learning experience and a test of mental strength for me. When I first thought of the idea, I had no business knowledge or money. All I had was an undying passion to create unique music learning experiences in a funky environment for my students, and the willingness to work very, very hard. I saved up as much money as I could, kept asking questions and learnt from anyone who was willing to teach, did lots of research and prayed. I was also blessed to have an amazingly supportive network of family, friends and students’ parents. After two years of finding and developing the concept, Rockstarz was born.
What is unique about Rockstarz? And what is the philosophy that holds it together??
Debra: As a singing school which also offers piano, guitar and drama lessons, Rockstarz aims to bring the fun back into the learning of music. We provide a very positive atmosphere for our students to express themselves and showcase their talents and abilities. We allow our students the freedom to discover themselves. They are free to write their own songs, create quirky performances and activities etc.
Tell us what your students are like.
Debra: We have students of all ages- kids as young as 5, teenagers and even adults, all waiting for their shot at stardom! Rockstarz students are quirky, bold, confident, creative and ever ready to take to the stage!
What are some of the greatest achievements your school has achieved?
Debra: We are a very new school (only a bit more than a year old) so we have many mountains to conquer. Up till now, we have organized some recitals and concerts solely for the enjoyment of our students and their families. We have put up the “Cartoon Crazy Concert”, where our students performed songs from famous cartoons and the “Beatlemania” concert, where our students paid tribute to The Beatles. Our biggest achievement was the staging of our very own musical entitled “Love Revolution” in KLPAC in November 2012. This is the greatest milestone for us thus far.
What future plans do you have for your school?
Debra: We have many ideas in the pipeline but most importantly we would like to see our students becoming better musicians and performers. This month, we are also launching our very own group singing course where students acquire the basics of singing and performing. This is for kids aged 5-11. Intake is ongoing for private lessons for all courses. We are constantly looking for passionate and creative instructors to join our team and aid us in our expansion plans.
How do you inspire your students to be better musicians?
Debra: By cultivating the love for music and introducing them to stellar music. All Rockstarz students listen to and learn music of various genres and eras. Our instructors teach music by current artistes i.e Adele, Maroon 5 etc. and legends i.e Stevie Wonder, Queen, The Jackson 5, The Supremes etc. This level of exposure stimulates our students to think about what they are listening to, the styles of each artiste and era, and be inspired. We help them to see the relevance of practicing and where sheer hard work can take them. We believe in them and assist them in reaching their goals.
To find out more about Rockstarz, check out The school’s website: www.rockstarz.com.my.