Imagine getting vocal coaching from a four-time JUNO Award winner, or guitar tips from a veteran session player who’s shared the stage with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Roger Daltrey and Rod Stewart. Join the League of Rock and you just might experience that – and maybe more.
From a burned-out lawyer, looking for an outlet to blow off steam, banging the drums, to a management consultant looking to revive his childhood dreams of playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band, these are just a couple of the success stories of this adult, 10-week, join-a-band professional program.
“This is an authentic experience. You’re in a band. You’re rehearsing. You’re performing live three times.” – Terry Moshenberg
League of Rock founder Terry Moshenberg went from selling his software company to an epiphany for a new business idea, which is how the league was born.
“When your heart and mind are open, shit happens,” says Moshenberg, explaining how the timing was right nine years ago, when he came up with the idea. “I saw fundamental changes that were illuminating,” he says. “One: guys my age were pulling out their axes again. I started to see pockets around the city… Facebook mentions of guys in their fifties getting back to jamming again. I even pulled out my guitar and started playing again.
“At the same time, I noticed the music industry was changing,” he adds. “Musicians were an untapped resource, not on tour, not doing the same things as they used to do, and they were looking for work… hence, the League of Rock was born.”
In nine years, more than 3,000 people have completed the program. The league’s added benefit is that participants network like crazy with the professional musicians who coach them. The League of Rock also organizes corporate team-building events and company Rock Leagues. And, for the past four years, the big four consultancy firms (Deloitte, KPMG, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, and Ernst & Young) have held a Battle of the Bands, with proceeds going to the United Way. Besides Toronto, there are chapters in Ottawa, Montreal and New York – and discussions are in the works to expand to other cities, including Vancouver and Austin, Texas.
If you can play three chords, keep time, or sing, you can join the League of Rock. Imagine knocking another item off your bucket list. On draft night, you’re enlisted in a band with four other strangers. Then, over the course of 10 weeks, you learn a few songs, and get coached by professional musicians. At the end of the session, your band performs live and records a one-song demo in one of the top studios in your city. In Toronto, the sessions wrap up with a weekend of recording at Phase One Studios – whose past clients include Rush, Keith Richards, Alice Cooper and Bob Dylan.
“You’ve heard the cliché that the creative classes are running our economy now,” says Moshenberg. “That’s what we’ve harnessed, but we bring a cool factor to the experience. It’s not tacky, like ‘Be a rock star for a day and shake Gene Simmons’ hand.’ This is an authentic experience. You’re in a band. You’re rehearsing. You’re performing live three times… You really get a taste of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle without leaving your family and going on the road. People are starving for this. They quashed their creative outlet when they had kids and the guitar went away for 10 years, until their wife finally said ‘Get out and go do something.’”
To learn more about the League of Rock, you can watch a documentary about it here.