Dom Loiacono owner of School of Rock Perth. Photo: Jesmine Cheong.

The School of Rock in Perth is seeking to provide an inclusive space for young musicians, but the pandemic has still affected the business in Jolimont.

The international music school has a performance-based approach to teaching music, encouraging students to perform in live gigs and shows.  

School of Rock Perth owner Dom Loiacono says when COVID first hit it had big impact on the school.  

“We weren’t prepared, but we very quickly became prepared for online lessons,” he says.  

“School of Rock internationally developed a very quick online zoom format to conduct the lessons, so we were able to transition to that. 

“We certainly lost a lot of a students because of our performance-based approach. We could do the one-on-one online lessons, but we couldn’t do all the group rehearsals.”

School of Rock Perth. Video: Jesmine Cheong.
Next show. Photo: Jesmine Cheong.

School of Rock Perth show director Josh Loiacono says the pandemic has had a massive impact on music industry.  

“As a musician it’s been pretty hard as you could imagine with no gigs or rehearsals,” he says.  

“As a teacher it was a bit challenging by doing lessons via Zoom. It’s quite hard with lagging in the audio and visual.  

“I taught drums and most of the time they would have a drum kit but sometimes they wouldn’t and that would be challenging because I had to get them to practice on a pillow.” 

Many gigs organised by the school were cancelled or postponed during the lockdowns which affected student morale.  

School of Rock student Alex Jackson says the pandemic affected her participation in shows.  

 “It obviously sucked, because this is the thing I enjoy doing. I like to come here and be present,” she says.  

“It hindered what shows I could be in. I was meant to do the punk rock show. 

“I missed out on a lot of opportunities.” 

Alex Jackson. Photo: Jesmine Cheong

Ms Jackson says lockdowns were especially hard because of the lifelong friends she has made through the School of Rock.  

“I remember the lockdown in January. It cancelled one of my rehearsals,” she says.  

“I sat here and was like we are not going to have our show, it’s not going to happen. 

“I was sort of worried on missing out of that opportunity.” 

Hobbies during COVID? Ever learn an instrument?. Video: Jesmine Cheong.

YMCA HQ has partnered with the School of Rock through the ‘Sweet Oblivion’ initiative, allowing young bands to be paid to play at the all-ages venue. 

YMCA HQ Youth events officer Brodie Lathby-Cook says the pandemic has affected the music industry, especially aspiring young musicians.  

“Because there are not many bands touring there are not many opportunities, it is a lot harder for them to stay motivated and want to do this,” she says. 

“I have four to five bands email me every week asking for opportunities, but I can’t give it to everybody. 

“So it’s hard for myself and hard for the young people because they feel like they are not being helped.” 

Brodie Lathby-Cook on the music industry. Video: Jesmine Cheong.

Ms Lathby-Cook says inspiring young people to be passionate about music is really important to the industry.  

“If you are catering to them now they are going to go all the way with you,” she says.  

“When they hit 18 they are the ones that are going to the live music venues, spending all their money on merch. 

“They are buying your tickets, buying your merchandise so that’s why you should be catering to them, especially during a pandemic.” 

Dom Loiacono talks about the power of music. Video: Jesmine Cheong.

Categories: General