Norwich School of rock produces class acts

There's much more to music than singing covers on The X Factor, as young musicians proved when they picked up their instruments and rocked a Norwich venue.

A selection of bands took to the stage at the Open Youth venue in the centre of Norwich on Saturday at the culmination of the half-term holiday and in the middle of Youth Music Week.

The bands were made up of youngsters who spent their half-term break getting away from mathematics and geography text books and instead learned how to rock.

Children aged seven to 16 took part in Rock School Live workshops all last week at Community Music East and Access To Music in King Street.

It was a chance for them to join up with other young people learning to play guitar, bass or drums – and any other instruments of their choice.

The workshops were led by experienced tutors who are practising musicians, so the youngsters were able to pick up loads of inside tips along the way.

Over the course of the workshops, the young musicians wrote some tunes, rehearsed them until they knew them inside out and then performed live at the Open Youth venue in Bank Plain, with the public invited in to see the bands showcase their songs.

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A special appearance at the gig was made by up-and-coming Norwich teenage band We Can't Dance, who featured in the Evening News earlier this year when they released a song dedicated to the now former Norwich City defender Gary Doherty.

All the bands who performed at the venue were filmed and each received a DVD to remember their experience.

Carl Cole, one of the tutors, said: 'It's amazing what young bands come up with and they all did ever so well. We'd heard them in rehearsals and thought this sounds pretty good, but they all really upped their game when they went on stage.

'I had the mum of one of them came up to me and said she never would have believed her son could get up and perform in front of 60 to 70 people.

'It's been really good fun and it was good for them to see We Can't Dance, who are a young band who came through Access To Music and are at another level now.'

Stokely Howard, 15, who lives just outside Norwich, was part of a band called Chasing Space, which penned their own songs during the workshop.

He said: 'It was a real experience to get up there and play a real live gig with a crowd there. You get so much confidence from the other band members and from the tutors who helped us. I'll definitely do it again.'

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