Rock Workshop

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In Rock Workshop we place musicians into bands based on genre, age, and experience. Any rock style is accepted including metal, punk, indie, classic, and blues; any age from 9-99; and any level of experience* from beginner to advanced shredders. Bands rehearse and write originals with an instructor at Madison Music Foundry, record twice at Blast House Studios, and play a gig at the High Noon Saloon.

*Participants must be able to play through at least one song to be elligible. See "Auditions" below for more info.









Madison Music Foundry began the Rock Workshop program in the fall of 2008. Since then we have had over 300 musicians participate in 109 bands.

Many parents have commented on their child’s increase in confidence and renewed interest in music as a result of their participation. Students have remarked on how Rock Workshop provides them with a very different experience than they get from school and often find that they can express themselves more creatively through this program.

Adult participants have commented on the excitement they felt at finally getting on stage (or in some cases--back on stage) after wanting to for all these years. A number of groups have even continued on after the completion of the program.

How it Works


The first step in Rock Workshop is completing an enrollment form. There is a $25 application fee which will count towards tuition.*

See "Enrollment" below for links to enrollment forms.

After we receive all the enrollment forms, we will contact you to schedule a time for your placement audition. We place students into bands based primarily on ability, age, and musical interest. However, sometimes need (i.e. for a particular instrument) and availability affect placement as well.

See more about auditions below.

Tuition is $375 and is due in full at the time of placement* and includes:

  • An instructor for all rehearsals and recording sessions
  • All the gear needed for the rehearsals, recording and the gig
  • The recording studio rental including the recording engineer
  • A CD of your band’s recording
  • Rental of the High Noon Saloon including a live sound engineer
  • We do offer financial assistance. You can apply via the enrollment form.

*If we are unable to place a student in a band, then the full tuition and application fee will be refunded. However, the fee cannot be refunded if the student withdraws after the enrollment form is submitted.

Once students are placed into a band, we will contact you about scheduling a regular rehearsal (see dates for upcoming sessions). The group will meet weekly over the course of nine weeks. Seven of those weeks are two-hour rehearsals (the other two weeks are recording sessions--see below). Bands are expected to learn three songs and these tend to be all originals. Madison Music Foundry provides all the amps, drums, keyboards, microphones and speakers needed for rehearsals. Students only need to bring their guitars, drumsticks, etc.

View the Rock Workshop syllabus.

Weeks four and eight will be spent recording at Blast House Studios. These two sessions will be three hours long. All the bands’ songs are placed on a CD which is handed out at the gig* (though students will get a CD-R immediately after their recording session). The final rehearsal will be focused on preparing for the live show.

*Summer session participants get the final CD at the end of the following Fall session.

The Rock Workshop showcase usually takes place at the High Noon Saloon, a world-class music venue that regularly hosts touring national acts along with local talent. All the bands perform in one show and get 20 minutes to setup, play and takedown. Like rehearsals, Madison Music Foundry provides all the “backline” for the show (amps, drums, keyboards) while the High Noon Saloon provides their in-house PA system along with a sound engineer to run it.

Dates for the next Rock Workshop session are listed below


The main difference from the fall/spring sessions is that the summer session is two weeks long and takes place at Blast House Studios 1117 Jonathan Dr - four blocks from Madison Music Foundry. Rehearsals are two hours and take place each weekday Monday-Friday (the final rehearsal on the last Friday will be at Madison Music Foundry). The exact times are established once the groups are formed.

See "Enrollment" below for links to enrollment forms.

Important Dates


Date passed
*Space permitting if applying after the deadline

Date passed
At Madison Music Foundry

M-F, July 17-21, 24-28 
At Blast House Studios*
*Last rehearsal on the 28th is at Madison Music Foundry
Rehearsals are once a day, M-F for two weeks. The exact time is finalized after students are placed in bands.

July 30, 11am-4pm
High Noon Saloon
The exact time of each band's performance will be determined within a couple weeks of the gig.


August 21*
*Space permitting if applying after the deadline

August 26 & 27
At Madison Music Foundry

September 28-December 3
At Madison Music Foundry
Rehearsals are once a week for two hours. Weeks four and eight are three-hour recording sessions that take place at Blast House Studios. The exact time is finalized after students are placed in bands. See detailed schedule options.

December 10, 11am-4pm
High Noon Saloon
The exact time of each band's performance will be determined within a couple weeks of the gig.


The first step in Rock Workshop is completing an enrollment form. There is a $25 application fee which will count towards tuition.

Enrollment Form

Note: Although there is an application deadline, we will audition students as we receive applications. We will form bands as soon as we have enough members to do so. So it is highly recommended to apply sooner than later in order to increase your chances of placement.

Fall: August 21, 2017

Rock Workshop Placement Auditions

We call them "placement auditions" because the main point is to learn about your musical talents and interests in order to place you in an appropriate band. In order for us to get the best understanding of your abilities, we've come up with the following critieria:


Guitarists: something with rhythm playing and something with lead playing
Bassists: a fast and a slow song, or contrasting styles such as a punk rock tune and a blues tune (or whatever styles you like)
Drummers: contrasting styles such as a metal tune and a blues tune (or whatever styles you like)
Vocalists: songs that show your vocal range and styles
Instrumentalists/Vocalists: If you signed up on an instrument, but also sing, I'd like to hear you sing and play a little--it's okay if it's just part of a song.


It's okay if you don't know all of things we ask for in the technical category. However, the more you know, the better player you'll be, so you may want to ask your instructor about them.

Guitarists: Chords (I'll name them, you play them. They could be power, open, or bar chords), scales (major, minor, pentatonic)
Bassists: Note finding (I'll name them, you play them), chords (outline them), scales (major, minor, pentatonic)
Drummers: Different types of beats (i.e. rock, 6/8 ballad, shuffle), counting exercise (play for 8 bars and play a fill on the 8th bar and repeat entire pattern 3-4 times)
Vocalists: Major scale (could be solfege)


Everyone will do some sort of play along with the auditioner(s). We'll either tell you the chords (guitarists and bassists), play a style on bass (drummers), or just play a simple chord progression on guitar or piano (singers) and will ask you to play or sing along. This is meant to get a feel for how you learn new material--something you'll be doing a lot of in Rock Workshop.

Most importantly, have fun! We know anything with the word "audition" sounds nerve wracking but Rock Workshop is a different kind of organization. Just come down and show us what you know, and we'll take it from there. The more relaxed you are, the better sense we'll get of what the right band for you is.



At the end of every session we send send out a questionnaire to get feedback from students and parents about what they liked and how to improve. Here are some things they said:

"[An] absolutely fantastic experience for all of us. We hope to enroll in another workshop soon. Really appreciate all of the efforts the staff of the foundry put forth to make it all work and the education and instruction are superior. Keep up the good work!"
--Parent of a Rock Workshop student

"It provided me with chance to work with a professional instructor, who is well trained, record in a professional recording studio, and have a real gig at the HIGH NOON SALOON!!! "
--Youth Student of Rock Workshop

"My daughter's personality totally emerged through this year's experience. What had been a timid, quiet girl became a vocal leader, confident performer and out-there personality by the end of the program. Fabulous to see the showman emerge!"
--Parent of a Rock Workshop student

"Chris Vincent was awesome! He was funny and great to work with. We had fun, but also he kept us in line and stayed professional when we needed to be. Everyone at the Foundry was very professional and welcoming."
--Youth Student of Rock Workshop

"You guys did a really good job with the organization and communication, and the music turned out great!"
--Parent of a Rock Workshop student

"I loved everything!!!!!"
--Youth Student of Rock Workshop

Click here for articles about Rock Workshop, Madison Music Foundry, and Blast House Studios.


Dave OsmalovDave Osmalov

Dave started playing live music at age 14 after only one year of playing. He has spent a large part of the last 10 years playing shows with a variety of bands and has played over 500 shows as lead guitarist with nationally touring rock/hip-hop outfit Know Boundaries. Receiving a sponsorship from Budweiser's True Music Program, the band shared stages with numerous popular artists including Cypress Hill, Fastball, the Gin Blossoms, 3 Days Grace, STS9, the Big Wu, Caroline's Spine, Jurassic 5, and the ROOTS. Know Boundaries also has received seven Madison Area Music Awards including Best Unique Artist and Best Urban Album. Dave was also individually nominated by the Madison Area Music Awards for best guitarist in 2009.

Dave is self-taught and has spent more than half of his life as a touring musician. He finds that his professional experience gives him unique insight into coaching musicians hungry to make music. Dave has taught Rock Workshop since spring, 2009.

Dustin SissonDustin Sisson
Dustin Sisson has been recording sound for 10 years. In 2008 he attended the Madison Media Institutes Sound engineering program and graduated with a 4.0. By working with a wide array of musical styles from Hip Hop to Metal to Country he has been able to hone his craft and passion of Sound. He likes to work in a professional yet relaxed environment, which is obtained through careful planning specific to each sessions needs. A list of clients include, The Projection People, Smokes, Lost Souls, 3 6 Mafia, Tribal Call, and The Abominable No Men. Assistant engineering credits with Tapes n' Tapes, Screeching Weasel, Myles Neilsen, Daniel and the Lion, and The Blueheels. Dustin Has produced two full length albums, Kitty Rhombus-Lips and Arms, and Whim, Po , and Emili. He has been teaching Rock Workshop since 2012. To hear more about Dustin and his work please visit

Landon Arkens
Landon earned his Bachelors degree in Music Recording Technology from UW-Oshkosh and hastily moved to New York City to put it in practice. He worked at Legacy Recording Studios in Manhattan while it was the largest studio on the east coast and has worked directly with David Gilmour and Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), Wynton Marsalis, Trey Anastasio, Ice- T, Lloyd Banks, and many others. He's recorded and mixed many artists' albums since moving to Madison in early 2008, samplings from which can be listened to on his website,


Christopher VincentChristopher Vincent

A UW-Madison School of Music graduate, Chris has 17 years experience as a drummer and percussionist. He shares his passion for drumming with students of all ages and skill levels, teaching everything from rock, jazz, progressive, blues, funk, and Latin. If you’ve got the music in you, Chris will help bring it out.

Beyond one-on-one instruction, Chris is also Associate Percussion Director at Kettle Moraine High School, focusing on orchestral and marching percussion. Additionally, Chris is a drum circle facilitator for VSA Wisconsin, and also coaches Rock Workshop. Chris currently performs with The Secret Society of Starfish and The Daniel Nathan Band.

Chris seeks to cultivate his students' musical enthusiasm, whether they be kids picking up their first drumsticks, energetic teens unleashing their inner rock star, or adults looking to advance their percussive musicianship. His individually tailored lesson plans empower students to achieve their goals while expanding their understanding of the limitless possibilities of drums' musical expression.

Rock Workshop Gallery