APEX — Parker Fredrick got an electric guitar for Christmas a little over a year ago and assumed a new identity.
When he picks up his black-and-white Fender Strata to practice every day, he's transformed into Angus Young, lead guitar player for AC/DC.
"My favorite song to play is 'Let Me Put My Love into You,'" he said -- from the album "Back In Black," released 30 years ago.
"I started with the acoustic guitar, but I prefer the electric," he added.
Parker is 10.
But the fifth-grader's commitment to practice and his taste for classic rock is not unusual at Music and Rock School in downtown Apex.
Since opening last April, owner John Kozicki says he has more than 50 students, most between the ages of 8 and 15, who bring their iPods to class and play for their instructors the songs they'd like to learn.
Songs from groups such as Nirvana, Green Day and Guns N' Roses.
"The same songs I was learning," said Kozicki, 35.
After students learn the riffs and the drum solos, their instructors divide the willing ones into makeshift bands that rock out at local churches and coffee houses.
It's how Kozicki -- a guitarist and singer himself -- thinks they learn best. And what will keep them from quitting.
"I started a lot like these kids," Kozicki said. "I liked the private lessons, but where I got the most fulfillment is when I started playing with my friends in the band."
Kozicki, who has taught music lessons full time for the past six years, said the main reason most students put their instruments down is lack of motivation. "It's kind of like if you put your kids in sports and they only went to practice every week and never played in a game," he said.
This month the school debuts its "masters program," the learn-and-perform course that Kozicki thinks will combat practice fatigue.
The program costs $125 to $215 for two months of weekly lessons in electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums or singing. At the end of the two months, the students do a two-and-a-half hour Saturday jam, without an audience if they prefer.
Kozicki wants students to think of it as an "organized band rehearsal."
He hopes to have an average of 20 students per instructor, a goal that would double his current enrollment.
He hopes kids like Parker will inspire new guitar heroes.
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