Gahanna is ready to rock, thanks to a new business at 5225 N. Hamilton Road.

A grand opening was held for the School of Rock on Aug. 24, complete with the smashing of a guitar.

Michael King, franchise owner, said he had worked in information technology and was looking for a new adventure after he wrote the last college-tuition check for his daughter, Samantha.

"This, to me, is my career 2.0," he said. "If I'm in a position to be around music and inspire others to learn music and ultimately perform on a real stage, that's the reward for me."

King, 48, said he played guitar for a long time.

He said having students experience playing music will be integral at the business.

"We combine weekly lessons with a group rehearsal," he said. "And then every semester ends with a show. So the goal is for our performance-based kids to be playing on a real stage in front of friends and family."

King, a Hilliard resident, said the core areas he's trying to reach include Gahanna, New Albany and Westerville.

"We're performance based, teaching stage presence and working a crowd," he said. "You have to have self-discipline, be on time, come prepared, learn when to lead and when to follow.

"When parents sign up their kids for basketball and baseball, it's to play on the court. For us, that's the stage. We're the club sports for music," he said.

King said students rock on stage and in life, building some marketable skills that will help in other pursuits.

"We're not about creating the next rock star," he said. "We give a musical foundation."

School of Rock provides students of all ages with lessons in playing guitar, drums and piano, as well as singing.

"Music should be accessible to everyone, and we are excited to offer music education to students through School of Rock," King said. "There are so many life skills that can be taught by learning a musical instrument and performing in a band in front of a live audience."

The school's mission, displayed on a poster in the school's lobby, states, "School is Rock is a growing, passionate community dedicated to enriching lives through performance-based music education."

Kay Fisher, 82, of Gahanna took her first drum lesson the opening day.

"I really enjoyed my first lesson," she said. "The last 15 years, I started moving with music. My grandson-in-law plays guitar. I thought I could play with him."

Fisher said she's excited about starting.

"I have goals," she said. "It's important to do something for your health. My kids are thrilled."

Bexley's Brandon Flory said she thinks the school is wonderful and accommodating.

"I have a 4-year-old who likes anything," she said. "He digs the drums, and he loves guitar. What I really like is exposing them to rhythm. We're interested."

Founded as a single school in Philadelphia in 1998, School of Rock has become an international franchise with 280 schools open and in development across nine global markets.

In central Ohio, King said, another School of Rock is at 6727 Dublin Center Drive in Dublin.

He said each School of Rock has its own house band that represents the best of the best.

"It includes the most dedicated, passionate and skilled (students)," he said. "They get more performance opportunity."

King said he anticipates Gahanna's group will play at Red, White & Boom and the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival.

"We have a high bar," he said. "We want students to sound and look good."

"Michael is passionate about his community and providing opportunities for students to further their music education," said Rob Price, CEO of School of Rock.

For more information, go to facebook.com/SchoolofRockGahanna or call 614-962-7625.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla