School of Rock for Tokyo Teens
A lot of schools in Tokyo (be they international or Japanese) have good music programs. Many have extra curricular orchestra, brass, string and even modern ensembles to give students a chance to play, improve and express themselves. But are they really what the kids want? How many times have your kids taken up an instrument, only for their enthusiasm to quickly fade away?
A few stops from Shibuya on the Denentoshi line and two minutes from Toritsu Daigaku Station is Live Jam Music School, the mission is of which is “to provide an education vehicle through music for teenagers that will foster creative inspiration and cross-cultural communication.”
Founder Ken Takagi, himself the father of two teenagers, founded Live Jam with the view of giving his sons a place to practice and perform away from the school setting, in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
Ken studied music himself, but instead chose a career in finance, spending 20 years outside of Japan. While in the United States he came accross many “school of rock” institutions, and realized that not only his sons, but all of the students here in Japan could benefit from this kind of school. And just like that, Live Jam was born.
Most students start off at the school taking one-on-one lessons, but as they get more confident and get to know the other students, they are encouraged to start up their own band. The school also organizes concerts every three to four months to give the students and their bands a goal to work towards: a chance to perform publicly.
“This has been the real key to success. The concerts (Jam Outs) are real, the students can experience what it feels like to practice and work on their music, and the reward of giving a great show,” Ken said.
The teachers at the school are not only great musicians in their own right, but have also been specially selected, as Ken says, “because of their potential to become what we view as good ‘big brothers’ and ‘big sisters,’ even good mentors for the students.”
But the school doesn’t just stop with the kids. “We also commit to transparent communication with the parents, and hope that we may even play a small part in facilitating the ‘parent-teenager gap’ where we can,” Ken said.
Rates at the school vary based on length and intensity of the lessons. Trial lessons are available, and kids who don’t need lessons can go and practice or use all the facilities anytime with their band for as little as ¥8,000 per month.
Address: 2-12-2 Nakane, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Open: Daily, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.