North County children can now take steps to become the next rock star or classical composer at Bach to Rock in Encinitas.
Children can learn how to play a variety of instruments in nine artist-themed learning rooms — like Beethoven, Nirvana, The Beatles and Katy Perry — at the franchise's 23rd location and first in Southern California, which opened June 6.
After each level, students also have the opportunity to record songs they learned and perform in a space with other children.
Director and owner Rick Walker, a musician from Carlsbad, wanted to bring Bach to Rock to Encinitas to be around music.
"I found this great franchise and it seemed like a way to take what I do for fun and move it into what I do for a living, too," said the former environmental health and safety worker. "I think that's everybody's dream."
He said a place like Bach to Rock was needed in Encinitas, which he considers an arts-oriented city.
Walker also plans to give back to the community by providing free performances from students and teachers for events.
Classes are available for people of all ages, from toddlers to seniors, in individual and group lessons. Most lessons last from a half-hour to an hour.
Walker said Bach to Rock is a learning environment where parents can feel comfortable dropping off their children. He added music helps children develop in a variety of ways.
"There are studies that playing music does increase the IQ," he said. "Kids learn to think a little differently. For me, what's most important, is that cooperative aspect of playing music with other kids and gaining confidence from performing in front of others."
Stephanie Brown, who works as Bach to Rock's assistant site director and is a musician in local psych-rock bands, said she wishes she had a similar learning environment when she was a child.
"I was classically trained but I never had a rock band class," she said. "I found that becoming a performer, I had to do a lot of my own work in terms of feeling comfortable on a stage. It's really nice that we can provide that environment for the kids, where they can feel safe and perform.
Bach to Rock is located at 282 N. El Camino Real, Suite C. For more information, visit www.encinitas.b2rmusic.com