Blog / Students perform Van Halen One Album Live
In December 2022, a group of 10 students from Michigan Rock School performed the entire Van Halen One album live. Every single song, every single guitar solo, every aspect of Van Halen’s 1978 debut album performed live by a group of kids ranging in age from 15 to 17 years old. Performing an entire album live, and in particular one as challenging as Van Halen’s self-titled debut album, is one of the most ambitious projects we’ve undertaken at Michigan Rock School. The result was amazing!
“What I’ve learned over the years is that if you don’t tell kids what they can’t do, then they just go for it,” said John Kozicki, founder and director of Michigan Rock School. “We simply present the kids with these challenges, and once they say “yes” we show them the plan to accomplish the goal. Small steps are the key. They trust our instructors to guide them, and we truly believe that the kids can do it!”
The project began in September 2022 with roughly three months to prepare for the live performance of the Van Halen album in December. Knowing that the performance would be a memorable experience, we needed a fantastic venue with great stage, lighting, and sound. Our regular performance venue, Billy’s Tip N Inn, is one of the greatest venues in Oakland County. They were excited about the prospect and gave the kids a Saturday night slot to showcase all their hard work.
Focusing on one song at a time and establishing a timeline for each song, and ultimately the final performance, kept all of our students on track. Some songs came together quickly in rehearsals, like “Runnin’ With The Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” and “You Really Got Me.” The most challenging songs were tracks like “Eruption.” Guitar lessons were intense, but guitarists Reed and Griffin delivered an awesome dueling-guitars version of the classic Van Halen solo.
The most challenging song to learn and perform was “I’m The One,” which involved four-part vocal harmonies. Putting it all together meant multiple band rehearsals with all of the students, and singing lessons focused on just the vocal parts. All the hard work paid off, as the live performance of “I’m The One” was one of the highlights of the entire set.
Roughly 30 hours of band rehearsal time was clocked in preparation for the live show. But we were incredibly impressed with the amount of time each student spent in private lessons and independently at home to learn their songs in preparation for rehearsals. It all paid off, as the kids presented a memorable live performance that they can be proud of. Friends, family, and the staff at the venue were all impressed, with praise and compliments coming for weeks after the show.