School of Rock started as a single school in Philadelphia in 1998. The idea was to create an after-school program that would teach kids about music -- and more importantly -- how to play it.
The school did well from the start, and demand picked up even more after a 2003 Jack Black movie with the same name was released. In 2005, founder Paul Green began franchising the business. Four years later, he partnered with investor Sterling Partners to accelerate the franchise's growth.
Today, School of Rock has more than 10,000 kids enrolled in 105 locations in 31 states, as well as Mexico. CEO Chris Catalano, who joined the company in 2009, expects to open another 20 to 40 locations in 2013.
As music programs disappear from schools across the U.S., it's an opportunity for private industry to step in and fill the gap, said Catalano.
The school focuses on teaching pop, rock and Motown, which have a special appeal to kids, said Catalano. "Kids who love this music want to play it as soon as possible," he said.
The programs teach theory and performance, so kids that enroll to learn the guitar, bass, drums, vocals or keyboard also prepare to play on stage in School of Rock shows held three times a year.
Although most students are between 7 and 18 years old, the school recently launched adult programs too. Said Catalano: "We had parents who were jealous of the fun their kids were having in band practice and they asked us to do something for them."