School of HONK is…

A WEEKLY MEET UP AND PARADE when friends and neighbors learn to play lively, spontaneous music together. As with any form of play, the goal is fun. The more we listen to and support each other, the more free we’ll feel to express our musical selves, the better we’ll sound and strut together, and the more fun we’ll all have. But worrying too much about each passing note or phrase gets in the way of having fun at all. So we don’t sweat the sour notes or fumbled cues, and just move on to the next. As long as our beat and our feet keep moving forward, nothing anyone does can stop the music, or the feelings of joy and empowerment that follow.

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERYONE, at any age, to learn an instrument, or a rhythm, or a dance routine, or otherwise help us make music together. We value diversity, inclusion, egalitarianism and mutual love and respect, and we have mentors and players with all levels of experience, eager to help others learn to play too. Everyone is encouraged to find their own voice, and participate at whatever level is both comfortable and rewarding. And although playing music involves cooperation and some simple rules, unlike most other play, it is completely non-competitive and open to all. Want to learn trumpet? We’ll show you how to blow one note, then maybe you’ll play that note on every fourth beat. It’s a very important note in the song, and it’s easy to play, and the next thing you know, you’ve just taken your first steps to playing music with us.

A STREET BAND TRADITION, tracing the post-colonial spread of people’s brass bands, which is uniquely conducive to bringing out the musician in everyone, offering a powerful revival of collective mind-and-body experiences dating back to the dancing, wailing and drumming that healed and united peoples, before language, before history itself. Before there was the story, there was the song. The activist brass street band, especially, expresses all manner of human emotions, from the most powerful calls to justice, to the most clever and beautiful visions of self-parody. The music is kinetic, “on the move,” and the street band’s mobility, agility and spontaneity allows it to create these moments when people least expect it, instantly disarming onlookers of their fears and distractions, to experience an awakening in themselves of authentic human connection. Everyone, free to choose however they want to join in, just for fun.

DIFFERENT FROM MOST OTHER MUSIC SCHOOLS as our approach is more show than tell, featuring lively and spontaneous music-making that involves listening, repeating, watching and moving, more than explaining and sight-reading. We post music charts and other learning aids, and we can provide more individualized instruction if desired. But everyone is encouraged to learn together during our Sunday sessions, mostly by rote and by ear. Unlike conventional music schools, our repertoire is mostly riff- and groove-based, with simple but fun notes and melodies for beginners, and more complicated parts for whoever wants to learn them. We play any kind of music at all, as long as it gets people dancing and grooving and moving along with us.

Click below to watch a short film about our school.