Rock School: Dan Argot’s Provocative Documentary

Not to be confused with “School of Rock,” Richard Linklater’s similarly themed fictional hit, “Rock School,” Dan Argot’s provocative documentary probes some of the most significant issues of arts education, such as the “proper” relationship between teachers and students, the “right” methods used to cultivate talent among young children, the fine line between encouragement and abuse, the ambiguity of teachers who are not very good artists themselves.

Influenced by the mass media, at some point in their lives, many kids dream of becoming rock stars. They want to feel the roar of the crowd; to bask in the adoration of fans; experience the adventures of touring. Indeed, on the surface, “Rock School” is a celebration of youthful promise and steadfast dreams, but it’s actually a most serious meditation on the nature of talent and instruction. Though dealing with one specific art form, rock n’ roll music, and though centering on children, the docu bears relevance and strong implications for arts education in general.

First-time documentarian Argott traces the ups-and-downs of the Paul Green School of Rock Music, a unique institution founded in Philadelphia in 1999, dedicated to teaching children, age 9 through 17. He examines the ins-and-outs of rock and roll, the thunderous rock and roll of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Carlos Santana, Frank Zappa. Following an entire season of classes, the film dissects Paul, the School’s founder, director, and self-proclaimed “berlord” as a complex and contradictory character. Dressed in shorts, t-shirt, and sneakers, Paul comes off like the leader of an overgrown garage band rather than a schoolmaster.

Who is Paul Green, who left home at sixteen and put himself through an Ivy League University Equal parts musician, psychologist, and basketball coach, he is an indefatigable teacher, who’s in turn supportive and verbally abusive, loving and domineering, patient and exasperating. Since he himself is a guitarist, there’s potential conflict and tension: If Paul the music teacher succeeds, his students might become better musicians than he is, and “Paul the guitarist may not be happy about that,” as he acknowledges.

Unlike Hollywood films about teachers, “Rock School” doesn’t glamorize Paul as a selfless, idealistic teacher. In fact, Paul’s thorny relationship with his students is the docu’s most intriguing subject. A whirling dervish of manic energy, Paul is at once sensitive and verbally abusive, generous-spirited and mercilessly critical. Despite his tantrum-filled teaching style, Paul’s commitment to cultivate his students’ music skills is not in doubt.

The sight of nine-year-olds performing Black Sabbath songs outfitted in full heavy metal regalia is, of course, charming. But far from being cute, “Rock School” goes deeper, posing tough questions about the nature of prodigal talent. It’s to Argott’s credit that he raises but doesn’t offer facile answers to questions over which psychologists and educators have been debating for decades. Is Paul fostering his students’ gifts or inhibiting them Is he living vicariously through his students or using the school to fulfill the rock and roll dream of suspended adolescence Some viewers will think Paul is awesome, others a prick, and still others will not know what to make of Paul.

Like their teacher, most of the kids are eccentric and problematic. Will is a clinically depressed, self-styled intellectual who offhandedly diagnoses his teacher’s “Peter Pan” complex. “A piss-poor musician” in his teacher’s words, Will finds friends, inspiration, and an unlikely role model at the school. At one point, he says, “If it wasn’t for Rock School, Id probably be dead.”

Twins Asa and Tucker are nine year-old who, with the help of their domineering mom, walk the fine line between tranquility and spike-haired, head-banging heavy metal thunder. C.J. is a musical prodigy, who’s introduced in the film playing a flawless version of Santana’s “Black Magic Woman.” This future guitarist overcomes a disability to play at advanced levels. A practicing Quaker, Madi can only seem to butt heads with Paul over her choice of music, which leans toward pop, like Sheryl Crow. Madi, whose father teaches keyboards at the school, struggles with her musical and spiritual identity.

Several music groups enrich the docu. The Friendly Gangstas are a Quaker rap outfit that posits hymnals to hip-hop beats. The indomitable crew is led by fresh-scrubbed Funk Master Friendly. One of Frank Zappa’s original musicians, Murphy-Brock performed saxophone, flute, and vocals on many of the prog-rock master’s finest recordings.

Using cinma vrit style to create an intimate portrait of this one-of-a-kind
instructor and his aspiring students, “Rock School” reaches its climax in Bad
Doberon, East Germany, where the School of Rock Music honor roll is invited to perform the music of Frank Zappa. This special festival dedicated to the prog-rocker’s oeuvre features Zappa legends, such as Ike Willis and Napoleon Murphy-Brock. The kids prove they can rock with the very best of them. But the process is troubled and full of thorns. “Youre not loud enough! Youre not playing loud enough! Im not your f*cking roadie!” Says Paul to a student.

“I was just enamored with the subject,” says Argott about his decision to make a feature documentary about Paul Green. “The minute we walked in the door to see the first show, there was this 12-year-old playing stuff he just shouldn’t be able to play. And I said, Sign me up.’ We met with Paul the next day and were shooting a day or two later.”

Argott was concerned whether Paul, known for his volatile style, would be open enough to expose unflattering sides of himself and his school. Paul offered Argott no-holds barred access to all aspects of the school. Over the course of nine months, Argott and his camera became a staple around the school. Working with a small, lightweight Panasonic DVX100 24P camera, Argott was able to be a relatively unobtrusive presence; the equipment was ideal for navigating the school’s long hallways and tight rehearsal spaces.

There were approximately 120 students enrolled in the school when filming
began. Argott centered on kids who were at various levels of musicianship, and went on to serve a different purpose in the story. Madi comes from a different background from Paul, and has this sweet folksy thing going on. Will is struggling to fit in and find a home; he’s a typical teenage misfit. C.J. is the guitar protg, and the question with him is whether Paul is nurturing or hurting that. These are powerful personalities, and Paul is the fiddler who knows how to play them all.

One of the film’s subtexts is that Green teaches music that some would consider
long out of fashion. Sticking to his heavy metal and prog-rock guns, he introduces them to the most intricate orchestral rock and roll ever created. Paul’s teaching philosophy is to go back to the basics.

Some may find irony in the very establishment of a School of Rock. The whole notion of institutionalizing the music might be perceived as anathema to the classic rock and roll virtues of rebelliousness and profligacy. Nonetheless, technically, the music Paul teaches is more demanding than most popular music today. Zeppelin, Zappa, Santana represent serious music. “If you can play Zappa, you can play anything.”

Paul walks the line of angel and devil, the effusive, obsessive, volatile center of the School of Rock. A follow-up study may show whether he’s damaging the kids or offering them breakthroughs. He genuinely cares for them, but he knows enough about kids’ psychology to push their buttons and get what he wants out of them. Green can also be stunningly cruel, as when he talks of Will: “He likes playing the 16-year-old mopey intellectual, but that’s a role for a 1980s movie.” Or, when he openly mocks Madi’s religion in front of the other students.

In perhaps the film’s most revelatory moment, Paul makes a stunning
admission about Paul the guitarist versus Paul the teacher. If Paul the music teacher succeeds, his students will eclipse him, becoming better musicians than he is, “and Paul the guitarist isn’t happy about that.”

In one sense, Paul is a failed musician who didn’t make it. But the school also offers him a way to do what he always wanted to do, where he’s in control. And despite Paul’s abrasiveness and demanding perfectionism, it’s disarming to discover that he sought out Will to join the School of Rock, fully aware that the student is “a piss-poor musician.”

The film suggests that, if it’s true that adults spend their lives carrying their adolescent wounds with them, then the psychic landscape of Green’s own adolescence was likely spent somewhere between Will’s and C.J.s—that is, bouncing between the admiration that comes with being a musical prodigy and being an outsider from a broken home.

Argott is conscious of striking a balance in the way he presents Paul. After showing him screaming at a kid, he balances that with a scene of him complimenting them, or a scene with his family or of Paul deprecating himself.

Unlike the directors of Hoop Dreams or the 7-Up films, Argott didn’t spend years with the kids and thus is unable to trace their improving musicianship.
But the film benefits from the invitation for the School to go to Germany, which wasn’t planned.

Rock School derives some of its richness from the scenes that take place away from the rehearsal and performance spaces. The film isn’t all about getting the kids to the Zappa festival in Germany.

Argott shows a good deal of the children’s home lives to try to balance out who they are outside of the school, and what theyre bringing of themselves from the outside world. There are scenes of a mother with washed out dreams of rock and roll glory patiently spraying her son’s hair into switchblade-sharp spikes; Madi performing hymnal inspired rap songs with The Friendly Gangstas at a Quaker revival meeting; tender and deadpan funny scenes between Will and his one-handed mom.

Argott is rigorous about respecting the physical integrity of his musicians. As viewers, we are spatially grounded, we know where the performers are in relation to each other, who’s playing what. There are no MTV-style subliminal cuts, no freestyle editing, and musicianship is prized above sizzle and flash.

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88