It’s a long way to the top, so a local couple is bringing a franchise to Midlothian for those who want to rock and roll.
Parker and Matt Alter plan to open a new School of Rock franchise at 13154 Midlothian Turnpike in March.
School of Rock is a chain of music schools for children who want to learn how to sing or play guitar, bass, drums and keyboard or piano.
“We’re a performance-based music school,” Alter said. “The difference with us is we teach our students to get up on stage and we get them out there performing.”
The new Midlothian location will be the Alters’ second School of Rock franchise. They opened their first on Pouncey Tract Road in Short Pump in 2013.
Parker Alter has a background in radio and television. Matt Alter is a general surgeon at the Surgical Associates of Richmond and plays guitar in an alternative band called the Domino Affect.
The husband-and-wife duet has a six-year lease on the 3,600-square foot space in Village Market Place. Parker Alter said the Southside School of Rock will be built in two units that previously housed a hobby store and a cooking shop.
Hicks Construction is the contractor for the job and local architect William Voorhees is designing the space.
“It’s in the heart of our demographic and it had the square footage we needed,” Parker Alter said.
School of Rock students typically enroll in a three-month program that includes rehearsals, private lessons and an end-of-season show. Each program has a theme like ‘90s rock, Black Sabbath or Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”
“It’s a team sport for musicians,” Alter said. “We’re a rock family.”
The school charges a $300 monthly rate that includes a three-hour rehearsal and 45 minutes of individual instruction in theory and technique a week. The Short Pump location averages between 120 to 150 students a year, Alter said.
School of Rock was founded in 1998 and began franchising in 2005. It has more than 100 schools in the U.S., as well as schools in Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Chile and the Philippines. The concept was used as part of the inspiration for the 2003 film “School of Rock” starring Jack Black, Alter said.
She would not say how much it will cost to open the Southside School of Rock but did say the venture is being financed with an SBA loan from Wells Fargo. It costs between $115,000 and $321,000 to open a School of Rock, according to the company’s website.
For their next gig, the Alters may add another school locally but are also looking beyond Richmond.
“We’re a niche because of the way we teach and what we do,” Parker said. “We’re looking at areas where there are a large number of kids.”