Juhl: These kids are teaming up at Immersion Rock Montreal

Patrick Mainville recruited unemployed musician friends to help him start a rock’n’roll school in Verdun.

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Through a simple door and down a staircase into the basement of a building on the rue de l’Église, visitors are greeted by the old-school rock thumpa-thumpa-thumpa.


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All Immersion Rock Montreal employees are musicians, and some of them are alumni of Patrick Mainville, who co-founded the studio with Philippe Lemay. As Mainville walks through the lobby, then passes rehearsal and study, he is stopped every few feet by staff, clients, and children.

Expect. You don’t normally see children in a recording studio.

Mainville taught her eight-year-old daughter, Marilou, to play guitar late one night after curfew during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. They started with “three little riffs, Black Sabbath, AC / DC.” Before long, Marilou and two friends were with him in the rehearsal space.

“They didn’t know how to play, so I showed you how to play bass. The other wanted to sing, ”says Mainville. “My girl played the guitar. We did Seven Nation Army (by White Stripes) because it’s a pretty accessible song. They called themselves Les Rockeuses de l’Enfer. It was perfect, they were so happy, they dressed so rock ‘n’ roll for rehearsals. I said, ‘It’s working because she’s my girl, but I wonder if it will work for everyone.’ “


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By the summer of 2021, Mainville had recruited unemployed musician friends to help him launch a rock ‘n’ roll school. They started with a summer day camp.

Patrick Mainville says the kids at his music school, Immersion Rock Montreal, taught him about resilience.
Patrick Mainville says the kids at his music school, Immersion Rock Montreal, taught him about resilience. Photo by Allen McInnis /Montreal Gazette

Arya and Alix Leclerc were among the nearly 100 kids who formed 20 bands last summer and are part of the newly launched after-school program.

“It was the best part of my summer,” gushes Alix, who is eight years old and has loads of music and energy. “I had a band and I wrote a song. I didn’t know how it would feel. I was like, ‘Am I dreaming?’ Then I was playing tag with another girl and I fell down and it hurt so I knew I wasn’t dreaming. “

“When I was a kid, I dreamed of having a band,” agrees 12-year-old Arya. His group played jazz rock. “Before, my favorite type of music was pop, then I came here and discovered so many things. I really like Nirvana now. “


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Alix interrupts: “We discovered that there are people in Verdun who really like rock, more than we think. We thought everyone here liked pop music. “

Arya and Alix are the children of musicians, they play various instruments and take classical music lessons on the street from Immersion Rock. Not all students come with that kind of experience, but they are taught to play and can borrow instruments to practice at home.

It’s the complete rock experience (G-rated). Students are divided into groups according to their age and ability. They have to come up with a name for the band (Les Marmottons, Lord of the Golden Dragons) and a Sharpie logo on the shirts, learn their instruments and a song, have a photoshoot, and then head to the studio to make a recording. . Their confidence levels and sense of autonomy increased as they learned to play together, Mainville says: “It was an incredible feeling.


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“My concern for children goes beyond becoming good at music. I want them to feel good, to feel in their place. And then they taught me how to be resilient, it was more like a gift to me. “

They held impromptu open-air concerts when the streets were closed during the summer. When one of the students asked if it was okay to pass a hat, Mainville did so and they raised up to $ 150 for each half-hour concert. They bought pizza and ice cream with their earnings.

Emile Beauregard plays Immersion Rock Montreal, where kids learn what it's like to be a rock 'n' roll star.
Emile Beauregard plays Immersion Rock Montreal, where kids learn what it’s like to be a rock ‘n’ roll star. Photo by Allen McInnis /Montreal Gazette

“We were able to tell them, ‘Look, you can make money playing music,’” Mainville says. “And the parents were happy because they didn’t have to pack a lunch on Fridays.”

Alix’s first band was Three Legends, and she says Mainville told her, “You’re starting your career and you’re already a legend.” He keeps it real by eating a cookie when he has a day off “because sometimes the cookie is better than the song.”


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“If a person wants to become a star, they can come here to touch their dream a bit,” says Alix. “Then POW! – keep going. This is how you become famous: hopefully, but I work ”.


Immersion Rock Montreal is at 195 de l’Église St. Session Rock and Rock Libre are available to youth ages seven to 17. Session Rock programs begin January 10 and March 25. Rock Libre allows for a more flexible schedule. A music camp will be held during Spring Break, February 28 – March 4. For pricing and more information, call 438-317-0365 or visit immersionrockmontreal.com.

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