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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
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November 19, 2014 •• Mitrovica Rock School
A case for handing it over to the next generation

With age comes experience. But at the Rock School, a new generation of teachers is making us question whether experience is all it’s cranked up to be. Shouldn’t ambition and motivation count just as heavily when it comes to inspiring our students?

Teacher Nemanja coaching Rock School band The Suck of Psychotic. Nemanja started at the Rock School a student himself.

Teacher Nemanja coaching Rock School band The Suck of Psychotic. Nemanja started at the Rock School a student himself.

Since January this year, the Mitrovica Rock School has welcomed over 70 new students, about twice the number of any other year save the year we started. So what has changed?

We started working differently. While all our teachers used to have fixed contracts mostly based on seniority, we moved to a system where teachers are rewarded for the number of students they teach and the number of bands they coach. The result? Former student-trainees started bringing in students by the dozens, and students started bringing their friends.

Just a short while ago, these same junior teachers were students themselves. As our most talented students, we invited them to participate in special training programs, organized in cooperation with the Fontys Rock Academy. As student-trainees, they learned to teach classes, coach bands, organize events and event produce studio recordings. In a town where there is both a lack of jobs and, in many fields, a lack of skilled staff, this resulted in a win-win situation for both sides.

So are we really handing it all over to our younger teachers? No, not all. The Mitrovica Rock School was built on the reputations of some of Kosovo’s best and best-known musicians, who bring expertise to the school from which our junior teachers can still learn. But a lot of responsibility has come to rest with people who were once beneficiaries of the project, and with this infusion of “young blood,” we’re able to offer our students the perfect balance of ambition and experience. And our students are coming back for more.

•• Topics Mitrovica Rock School