to all folks interested in the Kalamazoo Academy of Rock

Thanks for being interested! Here are the details:

Who: We are a rock band program for young musicians aged 8-18. Our players are enthused about music and willing to put time and effort into developing their skills and experiencing the fun, satisfaction and thrill of playing quality music at a real rock show. The commitments consist of a weekly 45 minute private lesson, primarily focusing on learning the songs that the band is playing at the semester ending show and a weekly 2 hr. band rehearsal. The student must also commit to playing outside of lessons/rehearsals in order to learn their part and contribute positively to their band.

Where: We’re located in the old Gibson guitar factory, where B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Les Paul and many, many other guitar greats have visited as the birthplace of their guitars. The building is now called the Kalamazoo Enterprise Center and is located at 225 Parson St. The cross streets are Edwards and Pitcher.

When: We run three sessions/year. Fall - Winter/Spring - Summer

Private lessons: We are very excited about the quality of teacher we are able to provide!

- On guitar we have Nate Heymoss and Matt Savitsky.  Nate's been a teacher since 2003 and is a founding member of the nationally touring band Funktion.  His current band is The Mainstays.  Nate also directs the Tuesday Night Band and both Workshop Bands.  Matt's also an active musician in the popular local group Full Frontal Cortez and is an experienced teacher.  Matt joined us in June 2015 and is getting rave reviews from his students!

- Joe Chamberlin teaches bass.  Joe is in national touring band FlyPaper and has been a teacher and bassist in Indiana and Michigan for 15 yrs.

- On drums we have Jesse Williams. Jesse is a graduate in percussion at WMU School of Music and is a very active drummer and teacher around town.  One of his bands is with Matt in Full Frontal Cortez.

- Keyboards are be taught by me.  I have a bachelor’s degree in music education from WMU, was a high school band director, played keyboards in a progressive rock band in the late 70’s (back in the day!) and have taught piano here in Kalamazoo for 25yrs.  I direct the Monday, Wednesday and Thursday Night Bands.

Specific day, time and place for private lessons are worked out between individual students and the instructor.

Band rehearsals - . We have four performing bands, rehearsing on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays from 6-8pm.  We also have two Workshop Bands for those not in a performing band due to needing more experience or the performing bands are at capacity.  The Workshop Bands rehearse on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-6 pm.

Equipment - all you’ll need to bring is your guitar, bass or drum sticks. Keyboards, amplifiers, drum kits and microphones are provided.

Cost - for the 10 week fall session: $550 (Workshop Band $434.50). For the 16 week winter/spring session: $814 (Workshop Band $660). Summer session is also 10 weeks at $550 (Workshop Band $434.50).  Tuition is payable in monthly installments or lump sum.  Tuition includes private lesson cost.

The Gigs - We end each session with a performance in a real rock club! Currently we play at Wild Bull and when the weather's right, on the outside stage at District Square. We have played RibFest every year since 2010. Past session ending shows have been at The 411 Club, Louie's and The Strutt.  We've also performed at Bill Wright’s Rock for Kids, and the Boiling Pot festivals.  These are held at the Arcadia Festival Site in downtown Kzoo.  We get on the main stage and play with a big pro sound system in front of hundreds of people!    

Giving back to the community - Rock music has a proud tradition of social awareness and supporting worthy causes with concerts.  We at KAR think this is an important tradition to pass on. We play every year in late January at Bell's Eccentric Cafe. Our bands choose the causes we play for. In 2015 we raised $2000 for Make A Wish Michigan. In 2014 we raised $1500 for DC Strong. In 2013  along with Bell's we raised $2,285.50 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kalamazoo.  In 2012 we put on a benefit show with the proceeds going to Active Water and Family and Children Services.  Our April 2011 spring performance had all proceeds go to Japanese earthquake/tsunami relief.  With the help of the audience and The Strutt we were able to raise over $600 for the cause.

Recording Sessions - An experience in a pro recording studio is part of learning to be a rock musician.  Early in the winter/spring session our bands go into the Broadside Productions studio and record two songs each that are then made into a CD.

More info - for examples of K.A.R. performances go to

Feel free to call me at (269) 342-7374 or use the “Contact KAR” page of this web site to inquire about sign-up or just to ask questions!

Rock on!

Jeff Mitchell

Kalamazoo Academy of Rock