Musician Rob Spampinato from Rockland County turned his multigeneration music program Rob’s School of Music into a virtual success despite the pandemic.
Growing up in Rockland County served as the foundation for his love of music. “Rockland County was an incredible play to grow up for a young musician. I remember places to see and perform music for all ages. Some of my first live music memories were watching the bands play the Fourth of July Fireworks at RCC every summer with my whole family. My band heatedXchange actually played that same event back in 2017, which was an amazing full-circle moment for me,” said Spampinato.
When he was a teenager he would hang out and perform at the Nyack Center and Rockfest in New City. In high school, his band was the very first rock band that was allowed to host a show at the Suffern Community Center. In the early 2000s, they rented out the Antrim Theater and hosted sold-out events. The music scene in his younger years shaped him into the musician today. For adults and before COVID-19, he credits Rockland as a place where you could go to a bar in any town and see live music.
Spampinato has been a professional artist for over 20 years. He’s been on tour with bands In Question and Diecast as a guitarist. He is currently recording and performing with his band Heatedxchange. Spampinato has also worked with several corporations across the nation including Dos Equis, Mini Cooper, and Joe’s Crab Shack, to name a few. Rob’s School of Music is his current endeavor which he founded in 2017. It is a music education program for people of all ages to learn and achieve musical skills. The students can receive lessons in guitar, ukulele, drums, bass, piano, singing, violin, DJing and even audio production.
My mission statement with Rob’s School of Music is to give people the skills to play music forever. I tour extensively around the county in my 20s and when I opened the school I wanted to give that knowledge back to the community.Rob Spampinato
Before the pandemic teachers went to different schools and hosted seminars within the county to discuss how music boosted confidence, dedication, and expressiveness. The students would perform live at Suffern Street fairs. When everything shut down in March 2020, Spampinato had to find a way to keep the school going. Rob’s School of Music became even more of a success as it went virtual. While it’s based in Suffern, students from all over the country take lessons leading to 4,500 virtual lessons since the beginning of the pandemic. Students in Rockland County and Bergen County in New Jersey receive in-person lessons.
New technology and software allow lessons to be designed for each individual student’s specific learning style. There are multiple cameras set up that allow students to see their teacher and receive guidance from all angles. In April 2020, an Instagram was made for Rob’s School of Music and now there is a Youtube interview series with notorious musicians to give students more guidance. Some guests include former Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick and Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss.
Spampinato wants to eventually expand to a second physical location somewhere else in Rockland and continue to grow the virtual lessons. Students are able to focus more on playing their instruments from the comfort of their homes without other distractions.
When I say ‘My goal is the give people the skills to play music forever,’ my intention is to break down the preconceived notions of what music education is and make it a highly personalized, fun experience so that students have the skills to make music a part of their life forever.Rob Spampinato
Although he is the teacher, he becomes inspired by his students and seeing their growth and reactions to achieving their musical goals, no matter what age. “Not only do I get to take people through their musical journey, but every day I get to play music and grow as a musician. Every day I learn something new while teaching which I then make part of my lesson programs,” said Spampinato.