Welcome to the

Louise Whelan

Dylan Clayton’s Ringsend Rockschool has been rollin out the talents of its students since 2009/2010. Situated at the back of the RICC, you can’t miss the authentic original logo on the window or the sounds of strummed guitars and drum kits within.

Rockschool had first materialised after Dylan was working nights, depressed in the post office and knew he needed to do something that he was good at and enjoyed. He was already teaching a few private guitar lessons where he would travel to people’s homes but ideally, he needed them to come to him. So he approached Lorraine Barry, the manager of RICC to see if she could help in any way, and Lorraine accommodated him with a room to use for his lessons. Dylan had to set up the room before every lesson with the equipment that was needed and then store it all away when it was over, which was very time consuming. He ended up moving to a storage facility not then in use where the Rockschool was to have its permanent home.

And it surely lives up to the name. Dylan is pure classic rock and self taught so this space is adorned with musical instruments; everything from guitars, keyboards, drum kits, not forgetting the ubiquitous posters on the wall – everything in fact a rock school needs. We don’t speak about a ukulele moment though.

Dylan uses a weekly schedule built around the school structure and has people coming to him for lessons from September to June/July. He also does two weeks of summer camps, one in July and one in August. These camps start at beginner level and are all inclusive for girls and boys who are novice music makers. It’s five days of a full music experience, from guitar to singing songs, participating in musical games and learning about the origins of different types of music.

Dylan has a core team of former protégés that assist and teach alongside him in the Rockschool. Robyn Harrison was one of his first students and now she teaches full time with him. Robyn graduated from BIMM Institute and is now a qualified singing coach, and has a variety of skills and talents that help every child. Also on the team are Samuel Elisen (BIMM) who is amazing on the drums, and Alicia Reid, a whiz on piano.

They are an excellent trio who deliver fantastic engaging lessons, and while having been taught Dylan’s method, they all bring aspects of their own abilities and instincts. However, the technique is always fluid, sharp and spot on. And each child gets the individual attention as proportionally there are enough adults to students.

While everyone starts off on the guitar, the students get the full benefits of all the instruments. Dylan knows how to get the best out of each student and the teachers are meticulously skilled to draw out even the most dormant of talent. And if it’s for you, there are further levels that can help the learner advance. However, many kids simply enjoy exploring the individual instruments, the social aspect, and finding out what is best suited to them, whether it’s singing, the guitar, or keyboard. Dylan and the team will always try to awaken their musical flair while piquing their interest with fun.

All the kids are encouraged to stick with it and practice practice practice!
Dylan is also training 6th year and junior cert students in 4th/5th year. Rockschool is a well established organisation and gets bookings for a lot of community events for schools, and fun days out. And the bands are good enough to go out and perform.

The 4th generation of seniors are now a fully functional band called The Harrys that have a proper 45 minutes of excellent covers. Dylan has mentored these students into becoming what they are and they have learned everything from him. They are all flying through their exams and this is the best platform for them to be in, especially the kids who study music.

Rockschool also does a monthly gig at the back of RICC with the BBQ club. Dylan sets up the session in the garden to allow people to hear the bands and see how great they sound. He also arranges an end of term summer gig with the students which they love being part of.

An important future goal for Rockschool is to attract more kids with additional needs. Christian, a blind and autistic child, is already a student of the guitar. Christian was able to feel the guitar and thus accomplish it. It can be very hard to teach but once the parent is open to the idea, it can work. Another plan is to bring Rockschool into primary schools and colleges which will be happening very soon, also an idea of adding an adult Rockschool into the mix which would appeal to a lot of people. Music demands collaboration, listening and patience and Dylan passes on all his knowledge, know-how, and dedication to every student to aspire to higher ideals such as expression and self esteem throughout the classes which has the ability to change a child’s life.

To contact Dylan, check out Ringsend Rockschool at www.ringsendrockschool.com and on all social media platforms.