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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT//ROCK HOUSE “We have taken the idea of the school of rock to the next level...we wanted to make it more of a hangout for everybody.” 40 Traditional music programs too often alienate their students by emphasizing repetition and technique as the basis for development. At Rock House, students are taught to enjoy music. “We start by hooking them. Then when we’ve got them, we can really fine-tune them, “ Rob explained. To that end, they view their talented faculty as producers and their students, who consist primarily of Wilmette children and their parents, as artists. They aim to have their students performing on-stage and recording in-studio as soon as they are ready. “Seeing the progress of the kids and having the community come out for them, especially in Wilmette, really is the best litmus test for success, ” Rob said. Aside from an innovative approach to education, the branding and aesthetic of Rock House also contribute largely to its uniqueness. Album art lines the staircase leading up to the music school and instruments litter the walls, while the glow of opulent chandeliers enhances the warm, eclectic ambiance. A full-service cafe occupies the first floor, which also serves as a performance space seating for 30-40 fans. In the back of the café, patrons can purchase Rock House branded merchandise for sale alongside house-roasted coffee blends, cleverly named after different genres of music, such as the Rockabilly Blend, Classic Rock Blend, and Unplugged, the decaffeinated offering. “We have taken the idea of the school of rock to the next level...we wanted to make it more of a hangout for everybody,” Rob said. <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE
The live music that drifts out of the storefront and all the way down Central Avenue, certainly does contribute an urban vibe to the suburban town. In the next 5-10 years, Rob and Chris hope to see Rock House expand to several more locations, including one in downtown Chicago. Already this past October, Rock House took over the Wilmette Metra station with its tasty offerings. A new, larger facility is also in the works in Glenview. “We would like our coffee brand and experience to be marketable. We would like many different locations but always [operating] in the same vein and spirit as the original, never corporate,” Rob said. If their business plan is nearly as successful as their teaching methods, they will soon see their dreams for Rock House realized. When in the suburbs, this funky little fixture is not to be missed. Stop by and catch one of the family friendly shows they book every Friday and Saturday night or take the plunge and sign up for a class. Rock House currently offers Soccer Mom to Rocker Mom, a 4-week evening class for cool moms, Intro to Music, a 6-week multi-instrumental course for 5 to 8 year olds, and private and semi-private lessons. For more info and to check out classes, go to http:// therockhouseinc.com/. <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE 41