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Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Wasatch Music Coaching Academy director David Murphy, center, coaches Felicia Anderton, left, Selene Mansfield, foreground, and Bradley Webster.

Six heads bop to the beat; six heels tap in time. The final chord of Boston's "More Than a Feeling" fades away on the high-tech sound system.

The drummer bounces up and down, twirling his sticks in the air.

"I'm good. What can I say?" A smile spreads across Zach Carlisle's face as he looks at his fellow band members — who are all musicians between 9 and 17 years old.

David Murphy knows the face of the new generation of rock 'n' roll. He sees it every day.

At Wasatch Music Coaching Academy in Salt Lake City, more than 25 students meet to learn how to play in rock 'n' roll bands.

Murphy founded the academy, located in the Alan Weight Studios, 959 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, in March 2004, to give private instruction to budding musicians. A year later, he started the rock 'n' roll classes.

"I love being around kids. I love seeing (them) play music that adults typically do," said Murphy, director of the music academy.

While most adults banish teens to garages, basements or other people's homes, Murphy works with these young musicians, learning the classics — Chicago, Queen, The Police, Nirvana.

"It's a wonderful way to make a living," he said.

With wildly streaked hair, black wedges and tight-legged jeans, 14-year-old Felicia Anderton stands on top of an amp to make her 5-foot frame be seen above Joe Fitzpatrick, 14, and his moppy hair that would put The Vines to shame.

Ky Tawhai, 15, hides behind her straight brown hair as she plucks the back-beat on her bass.

The lead singer is sick at home, so Murphy belts out the tune more than slightly off-key as his adult voice can't quite hit the notes the missing girl is supposed to sing.

Murphy hopes to help other adults appreciate his students' music. Parents are encouraged to attend rehearsals and performances and use the music as a forum to communicate with their children.

Zach, 9, and his guitar-playing brother Nate Carlisle, 11, both play in the band, and their mother Kris comes to just about every practice and performance.

"Rock 'n' roll can be fun, wholesome and can be something the entire family can be involved with," Murphy said. "Quite a few parents have told me it gives their kids a greater appreciation for the music they swore they would never like."

When the academy first began offering rock lessons, many parents and even students had reservations about enrolling in formal rock 'n' roll training, but the investment has had unexpected returns.

"I didn't think I'd be able to play music like this," said guitarist Brock Butler, 15.

His mother, Lori Haglund, considers the lessons for her son Brock and stepson Benson Haglund, 15, "money well spent on character and the future."

The drive home after lessons gives her boys something to talk about, Lori said, and it's hard to get teenage boys to talk about anything, especially with their mother.

"It gives them something to be proud of ... it pulls those two stepbrothers together," she said.

Murphy also works with members of the community to provide performance opportunities for the bands. Most of the gigs are paid, so each of the students can walk away with a couple of dollars in their pocket.

"We are always looking for more gigs," Murphy said. "It's a breath of fresh air for the community to see kids loving music."

After a little taste of performing, parents can stop pressuring their kids to practice their music, because the kids feel motivated to study on their own, Murphy said.

The student bands have been so successful and fun, parents requested Murphy start an all-parent band. Parents and children can jam and play gigs together while also developing their musical skills.

Roger Haglund plays guitar for the parent band that had its first practice Jan. 9, right after the teens left the studio.

"I think he'll love it," Brock said about his stepfather taking rock lessons. "I was envisioning him playing while I was sitting (in rehearsal) today."

Lori doesn't play an instrument, but she makes sure she attends all of the rehearsals. She also helps transport equipment and sets it up.

"I'm the best roadie they'll ever have," she said.

Parent involvement is essential to the program, Murphy believes, as it gives families common ground to stand on.

Parents and students interested in enrolling in rock lessons can contact Murphy at 801-560-6437 or visit www.wasatchmusic.com. Rock lessons cost $60 a month, and private instructions are $130 a month. Anyone interested in booking the bands for a live performance are also welcome to call.