Whoever wants to study music has it easy if they are interested in classical music, jazz or modern music. Many schools teach instruments like the drums or the ukelele, more often associated with modern music, and some training programmes for rock music can be found. Yet, is there room for extreme music in music schools? The duo of entrepreneurs Carlos Lanza and María Tormo are convinced there is and that is why, in the Sants neighbourhood of Barcelona, they have opened the first music school in Europe specialising in heavy metal and hard rock. This pioneering centre is called Metal Academy –School of Music, and it opened its doors in June, launching its first training programmes for adults –and children- who might like to specialise in this type of music in September.
Carlos Lanza has played bass in heavy metal and hard rock groups for more than two decades. “I wanted to study music but I didn’t want to do jazz or gospel,” says Lanza, who in his research saw that there were no schools to learn so-called extreme music. “At the most I found centres that taught rock or prog rock, but not metal.” He got the idea to open a music school specialising in this musical style five years ago: “I tried to launch it with some friends but it didn’t work,” he says. Nevertheless, he didn’t give up on the project and continued working to make it a reality. With the support of Maria Tormo, they took the proposal to Barcelona Activa, where they helped them to define the technical and business aspects. Finally, five years later, the Metal Academy –School of Music is now a reality.
The centre, with an investment of 70,000 euros, has one part devoted to training with another occupied by a recording studio and rehearsal room for heavy metal bands. Lanza says that the centre’s opening “has generated a lot of curiosity” and that even some recognised musicians in the heavy metal and hard rock genre have offered to come and do a masterclass in the Barcelona school.
Promoting Heavy Metal and Hard Rock
Lanza also trusts that the opening of the school will help promote a musical style that can be difficult for people who are not familiar with it. “It is an extreme style of music that is hard to digest and you need to train your ears,” says the school’s owner, who admits that a lack of knowledge about it causes a lot of misunderstandings. “A few weeks ago we had a meeting with the artistic director of the Liceu and she admitted that heavy metal was a type of music that was underestimated, but that what it has in common with classical music is its difficulty and the need to practise a lot,” says Lanza. Related to that, in the Metal Academy they say that the centre’s teaching staff is made up of musicians with a lot of experience, as is the case of Albert Batlle, a specialist in guttural vocals.
For the moment, the Metal Academy offers its own courses but in the future hopes to team up with a higher school of music. Another objective for the centre’s future is organising a heavy metal festival with the school’s students. But for the time being, the priority is spreading the word about the school that has just begun its first courses with its first students, among whom is a group of children.