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With the release of the Jack Black movie School of Rock in 2003, similarly named institutions sprung up across the country—even in nearby Staten Island. But Jason Domnarski didn’t open his Park Slope Rock School until three years ago; as such, he’s a little behind the trend, and perhaps a bit above it. “I definitely think rock schools are trendy,” Domnarski told us by email. But “it’s obvious now that rock programs are here to stay, so it’s no longer about the novelty factor.”
When he decided to open the school, he didn’t have to think hard about where. “Park Slope was the obvious choice,” he wrote. “While the school is centered around the students and their experience, we wouldn’t be in business without the support of our parents. Park Slope’s community of artists, musicians, writers and creative folk is a great place to host a more ‘alternative’ program like ours.”
Domnarski, 29, is a professional keyboard player who has also composed music for movies. But you can tell that he gets unique satisfaction from training the next generation of musicians. “When I started Park Slope Rock School, it was only me and I did everything, from the teaching to the administrative duties,” he wrote. “It was a crazy hustle, but controlling every angle gave me the skills to grow the business.” He now has three teachers on his staff, who help him instruct the 8-to-16-year-old students in chord progression, improvisation, instrument technique—even stage presence.
But aren’t these things that generations of kids have taught themselves, holed up together in the drummer’s garage?