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Franchise Times: School of Rock’s New Partnership Aims to Expand Music Education

School of Rock recently partnered with a nonprofit with a similar mission, Music Will, to open up more opportunities for kids to learn.

“It became clearer and clearer that our interests were incredibly overlapping in some ways, and profoundly complementary in others,” School of Rock CEO Rob Price said. “It became clear that we needed to take a much more active level in support, and a much more formalized opportunity to build on those complements for both organization’s interests.”

Music Will operates on the belief that music education should be accessible to everyone. The New Jersey-based nonprofit teaches all genres of music—from jazz to Latin to R&B—to kids in the public school system. (Music Will was called Little Kids Rock from 2002, when it formed, until this year.) It operates in more than 6,000 schools across the United States.

The partnership between Music Will and School of Rock creates “a long-term source of demand and interest.” Music Will can now offer discounted prices to its students to attend School of Rock courses, and School of Rock will provide the nonprofit with funding for Music Will’s rebranding. The brand kicked things off with an up-front donation, and will continue providing funding for years to come.

This partnership originated because the two organizations already had an informal relationship with each other, and there is a lot of overlap between the two brands in regards to instructors and students, Price said.

Music Will operates on the belief that music education should be accessible to everyone.

School of Rock has 309 units worldwide, and deals signed for another 195. The cost to open a School of Rock franchise ranges from $395,800 to $537,400. The brand had system sales of $128 million in 2021.

Child enrichment opportunities are in demand, Price said. He emphasized “horizontal learning,” which he defines as “complementing technical skills with executive skills, social skills, creative skills—and School of Rock happens to have a formula that addresses all those different dimensions. Our medium is music.”

School of Rock emphasizes life skills in its music education. “We’re helping children develop as people, not just as musicians,” Price said.

But they’re still delivering on music literacy and proficiency, he said. Programs include Rock 101, songwriting, an adult program, house band and others. At School of Rock, attendees have 10-12 weeks to learn and grow as musicians before performing in real music venues.

School of Rock operates in 15 countries, and the brand translates well when it opens somewhere new, Price said. “Our concept travels really well,” he said. “It’s a high-value service globally, but it is logistically uncomplicated to grow.”

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