Matt Black shares his love for Music & Paris
You may remember MLP introducing you to the music maestro Matt Black last year. He runs music workshops for kids in Paris aged 8-18 and it’s called Rock U. He helps children master musical instruments then puts them in a band and arranges performances in the heart of Paris, so they can display their musicality and honed skills to friends and loved ones.
But why does he do it? We wanted to know a little more about this American expat who has been in Paris for twelve years and running his workshops for the last five. So meet Matt Black!
So what brought you to Paris?
My wife’s work actually. She works in marketing/strategy and had a job opportunity so we came here with our 4-year-old daughter. She got straight to it and I was a stay at home dad for five years.
Wow, How did you find being a house husband and how did you get her entertained in Paris?
It’s hands-on parenting and I enjoyed it. I grew up with a sister so I knew what to do and it was great. Fortunately, we lived right next to the Champs des Mars so we would walk through the park every day and she would have fun with her friends in the playground or head to the Tuileries.
Do you enjoy living here with your family?
Yes absolutely. Paris is beautiful. Such a great quality of life.The surroundings are so energising, I love being outdoors and the cultural focus on gathering together with friends which I love doing. Also, there is so much going on here, it’s really a great place to live.
What about the music?
It is a great place to be a consumer of music. There are so many great small venues, great bands to see often with just 50 people. For anglophones, the scene here offers a great chance to see bands that are popular in the US and playing to 3,000 there, in an intimate setting here. There is also so much talent to discover. If you are a musician it’s different, not many places will pay you to play.
You are obviously a real music lover but how and why did you set up these workshops?
I’ve always loved music from rock to jazz. I even used to play the violin when I was a kid.I got an electric guitar for my 40th birthday and I thought it would be fun to form a band, which I did with some of the other parents at the school. But then I wanted to get my daughter into it too and find a place similar to School of Rock in the States – but I couldn’t find a rock school here so I decided to launch one. I had to get more equipment, acquire more expertise but it came together and Rock U was born.
What’s your day job?
I teach kids Science up to 5th grade.
What do you love most about Rock U?
Seeing the kids grow. As they move through the programme I see what they gain and it’s amazing. Some of them are playing in bands that are far better than mine! The best part is when you actually see them perform and how the audience reacts! It’s by far the best feeling for me.
Speaking of performing, where would you suggest to take kids to see bands play in Paris?
One of my favourite family-friendly spots is in the 20th arrondissement, it’s called La Maroqinerie, I also love Caveau de la Huchette a little jazz club in the Latin Quarter, there’s no issue with taking kids there. I used to always take my daughter to Philharmonie de Paris in the 19th, which has great workshops and programs for kids and a super fun children’s orchestra
What’s your favourite Paris moment?
Fête de la Musique – without a doubt – the best music night in Paris by far.
If you want your kids to participate in music workshops run by Matt you have a couple of options. You can sign them up for his afternoon workshops for a term at a time and/or register for the Rock U summer programme for a week or register for intense training culminating in a musical performance where you might see your kids become stage owning mini rock stars for a night.
Check out Matts Rock U website for all the information.
Rock on Mamas (and the kids!)