By Paul Kwo
No one can guarantee stardom.
But a career in entertainment is not the same as a desire to become a star. There are an enormous amount of people working in the entertainment business, and more specifically as performers who are not famous stars. They work on a regular basis as working actors, dancers and musicians at a wide variety of gigs, making a good sustainable living.
The road to becoming a performer or even working in the entertainment business is full of challenges. It is fun and exciting, but filled with obstacles to overcome. But with hard work and consistency, it is an achievable goal.
Being in Alhambra in the San Gabriel Valley, competing with the best of the best in the world in Los Angeles, the quality of talent is the highest in the world. It doesn't get any harder than this in Los Angeles. So to be competitive, it is vital to keep up our training and keep up our chops in whatever area it is that we are interested in working in. Every new skill puts us at an advantage over other people who are competing for the same jobs.
Whether it is in music, acting or dance, a good network of people is important. As a former coach of mine, Joe Hacker, always said, “Nobody does it alone in this industry.” It is vital that we acknowledge that we need to build up a good support team for ourselves. It isn't just knowing people who can get you work, but also know people who will give you the emotional support that you need to keep you going. We all need people to keep encouraging us as this industry is ruthless and will tear people down without the proper perspective.
With solid continual training and a good network of people in our mix, it is just a numbers game. Keep putting the numbers out there and eventually someone will bit. Something will happen. A career as a performer is a business, not a job. Every performer needs to understand what their brand is, what their business and sell that product with consistency. Keep tugging at it little by little until people start to take the bait. Eventually something will happen, and things will pile on and it will gain momentum.
Finally the career is a rollercoaster ride. It will have its ups and downs. It is not a continual climb upwards. There is no corporate ladder to climb. It is just a journey that requires patience and flexibility. It requires an adaptive spirit so that you can navigate the turmoils from the enormous amounts of rejections. And even the biggest stars can and will fall. It is all a matter of preparing ourselves for the times when we do fall so that we can get back up and pick ourselves up again and again. It is through this perseverance that performers shine through the rubble and become stars in their own right, and recognized among our peers.
PopRock Academy serves the San Gabriel Valley. We are located in the city of Alhambra, conveniently located near San Marino, South Pasadena, San Gabriel, Temple City, Arcadia, Monterey Park, Rosemead, El Monte, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Montebello, Monorovia, Altadena and downtown Los Angeles.
By Paul Kwo
A few months ago during a worship service, the associate pastor of the church in Culver City where I am the choir and Praise Band director turned to our guest accompanist and asked her to play the song happy birthday in celebration of the church's birthday. The accompanist who has a Bachelor degree in piano performance from a well-known American university jumped up off the piano bench, turned to me and said, “I don't know how to play Happy Birthday.”
It may be trivial but the truth is, just because you know how to play Classical music doesn't mean you know how to play any music. I have encountered many parents who have the notion that if their child learns Classical music, they would then be able to perform any type of music. This is absolutely false. Many Classically trained music teachers shun Pop music, refusing to teach their students the proper skills to perform. The truth of the reality is that many of these music teachers actually cannot perform Pop or Jazz or any other non Classical music and so they refuse to teach them, and deflecting from their own inadequacies by calling them lesser art form.
CLASSICAL, JAZZ & CONTEMPORARY
Every genre deserves its respect. It cannot be assumed that one is easier or superior to another. They are simply different. Surely within each genre we have great works and lesser works. But to cross genre and make sweeping generalization that one is automatically better than the other is simply a stereotype. Every genre requires hard work to learn and to master.
I had many students make mistakes or cannot perform a specific passage a certain way turn and say to me, 'that's what I chose to do.' Surely music is subjective and ultimately it is what the artist wants to present that matters. But a choice implies that the individual had the ability to do it either way and chose to do it one way over the other. In order for a Classical musician say they chose Classical music over the others, they must be able to actually perform the other genres. Chances are they can't. They may still claim they prefer listening to Classical music, but they certainly didn't choose to perform Classical music. They only know how to perform Classical music. They chose to study only Classical music. But they didn't chose to not perform Jazz or Contemporary. They simply don't know how to; they chose not to have train in it.
There is nothing wrong with not training in other genres. Many great musicians are only trained in one genre and became a specialist. But even more great musicians were trained in multiple disciplines. In a world that's increasingly global, where the competition is increasingly fierce, specialists are loosing out on many potential gigs because they simply cannot compete with others who are more versatile and well-rounded. Certainly not everyone wants to become a professional musician. Many simply want to enjoy the process of learning music. But I can easily name a handful of scenarios in a person's life where he or she may need more than just classical music skills. And it's simply a shame for anyone to spend ten plus years of their life to learn something, only to find themselves in a situation where they can't even do the most basic of thing like perform Happy Birthday.
So whether your goal is to play for yourself in the comfort of your home in Alhambra, or play some local church gigs in the San Gabriel Valley, or to become a world class musicians, the question really remains: Do you want to be the professionally trained musician who cannot play Happy Birthday on demand?
EXCLUSIVE INSIDE SCOPE - HIGHLIGHTS
We want to congratulate PopRock Academy's founder and owner Paul Kwo for his supporting lead role in the new movie "God's Not Dead (2014)" with Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo and Dean Caine with a special appearance by the Newsboys and Willie and Korie Robertson.
Paul Kwo is our founder here at PopRock Academy, bringing professional working artists to teach anyone who wants to learn more about the arts of acting, dance and music. Paul Kwo has been a working actor and musician in Hollywood for many years. He has appeared in TV series such as Scrubs and Knight Rider, as well as done voice work for blockbuster hits such as Pacific Rim, Disney's The Lone Ranger, Thor: The Dark World, 2012, The Other Women, Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and many more. He teaches acting, voice and piano at PopRock Academy and his students have been featured on shows such as Good Day LA Fox 11 News, LA Talk Live Radio, Kids Talk Live Radio, AM 980 Los Angeles, Los Feliz Street Festival, Alhambra July 4th Celebration and more.
If you want to study with Paul Kwo, you will may have to wait a little while to be placed on his waiting list. His studio here is full as he has built up quite a following of students here at PopRock Academy. So come in today and get listed asap. Meanwhile we have a huge team of other instructors who can help train you or your child while you wait for an opening in Paul Kwo's schedule.
God's Not Dead (2014) Synopsis
Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him? GOD’S NOT DEAD weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action. The film will educate, entertain, and inspire moviegoers to explore what they really believe about God, igniting important conversations and life-changing decisions.
GOD’S NOT DEAD features a talented cast of actors including Kevin Sorbo (SOUL SURFER, HERCULES, ANDROMEDA), Shane Harper (GOOD LUCK CHARLIE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2), David A.R. White (BROTHER WHITE, REVELATION ROAD and JERUSALEM COUNTDOWN), and Dean Cain (LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN), with special appearances by Christian super-band Newsboys and “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie and Korie Robertson.
EXCLUSIVE INSIDE SCOPE - FULL
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH PAUL KWO ON GOD'S NOT DEAD
by Steven Flores
Dance can do more for the human body than one might think. Yes, some only call dance a hobby, however, have you ever looked at the benefits of dance and how it can promote fitness and health in your life?
Dancing works the cardiovascular muscles which help the health of your heart. The intricacies of motion build lean muscle that articulate the ability to balance and mind/ body coordination during day to day tasks. Studies show that stretching on weekly (if not daily) bases decrees joint pain, muscle inflammation, and ligament issues up to 85% (danceformedicine.org). In fact, dancing can help in taking the pain away all together.
One of my students who is a victim of tendonitious in her hip flexor and is suffering from a pinch nerve in her lower back stated that her pain had significantly decreased within 4 weeks of taking dance class.
Dance has not only proven to be a great medicine and motivator for exercise but also enhances the mind. Studies show that people who dance have a better chance of sustaining memory and can multitask more easily. Unlike any exercise machine or class where it’s dealing with a repeated motion (like running) and not much power from the brain; dance, on the other hand, asks just as much of the brain as it does the body. Schools around the county have added dance to the physical education curriculum for that very reason. Dance builds the brain, self confidence and improves overall focus in students, "Getting a beat going in your body can get you out of a disorganized fog," says Karen Bradley, professor of dance at the University of Maryland. Rhythm, body, and motion take a single focus which not only improve your health but are valuable in your everyday life.
Ten Reasons To Participate
Dance keeps both the body and the brain active, vital for people of every age
Dance offers a way to improve strength and flexibility, which helps keep muscles and joints healthy
Choosing to start a new hobby can help you meet new people and make friends with people who have similar interests
Dance helps you learn about your body, improving your posture and balance
Taking time out in the day to partake in a hobby can help to reduce stress levels
Dance can offer insight into other cultures, either through the dance style itself or meeting new people
Dance can led to new career opportunities, or help build vital communications skills needed in every profession
Participating in dance can help increase your self esteem and confidence through mastering new skills
Dance offers a creative outlet for people to express their personalities in a safe environment
Dance is a fun way to open up new possibilities, keep healthy and enjoy yourself
What if I make mistakes when taking my first class?
One of the biggest concerns of a beginner dancer is that everyone is watching them and noting their mistakes.
Good news! People are usually not watching beginners. They are usually watching the more advanced dancers for tips to improve their own dancing. They understand making mistakes is part and parcel of learning to dance and are far more likely to congratulate you for your efforts. They've been where you are. So relax, have fun and dance for your self!
PopRock Academy service the San Gabriel Valley area. We are conveniently located in Alhambra, near San Marino and South Pasadena to the north, San Gabriel, Temple City and Arcadia to the east, Rosemead, Monterey Park to the South and downtown Los Angeles to the west.
By Paul Kwo
Whether it's private piano lessons or private voice lessons, private music lessons are an expensive endeavor. Students enroll on a weekly basis to learn to play an instrument, and to someone who's new to the private lesson arena, this amount can add up. So you wonder if private lessons are worth paying for.
In the Alhambra, San Gabriel, Pasadena area, private piano lessons starts around $50 to $60 per hour at most studios. But more experience teachers with more affluent clienteles can charge upwards of $75 to $100 or more per hour of private lessons. So sometimes you wonder if paying more actually means better.
Simply put, pricing is generally a result of demand and prestige. Demand sometimes equals quality, while other times simply equate to a good marketing campaign. As a customer, it's rather difficult to be able to tell the difference. Without having a background in music, it's a mountain to climb in order to distinguish the good from the bad. But when you find a great teacher, you will see phenomenal improvements of your child's ability to perform, far beyond any group class can do. Music simply cannot be taught properly in a group setting. It has been proven over the centuries that one on one lessons is the only way to instruct a child in music instrument and in voice. The intricacies of music performance techniques requires the detailed attention of a well-experienced instructor.
In the end we go to either a friend we trust or a company that we trust when it comes to purchasing piano lessons or voice lessons or guitar lessons.
How do we know who to trust?
College degree is only one small part of the equation. Just because a teacher has a degree from a famous institution doesn't mean they are qualified as a teacher or the best around. Certainly they have the playing ability, but teaching is a different story. A proven track record of students who can read and perform is often the best way to determine whether a teacher is good. But also their program and curriculum, what they emphasize.
We at PopRock Academy in Alhambra believes that a child should enjoy their musical journey. They should have a supportive and warm environment. They should be surrounded by a community of fellow students who enjoy performance. But on top of it all, they should be connected with students who are in other performing arts genres. To limit their exposure to piano and only piano, or one instrument is a detriment to the student. We like to expand the horizons of the students so that they can begin at an early stage of their studies that all the performing arts are connected. To draw these connects early on will help them become better performers in their own respective categories.
Ultimately you as a consumer have to be an intelligent consumer, finding the best ability for you. It is a difficult journey. But the rewards can be great if you choose correctly.
PopRock Academy is located in the heart of San Gabriel Valley in downtown Alhambra. We are nearby San Marino, South Pasadena, San Gabriel, Temple City, Arcadia, Monterey Park, Rosemead, El Monte, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Montebello, Monorovia, Altadena and the greater Los Angeles area.