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Meet James Couzens of The Rockademy in Solana Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Couzens.

The Rockademy was founded in 2011. James , drum instructor, vocalist and professional musician, began working with the bands that his drum students played in. Due to the success and excitement generated, he conceptualized The Rockademy, a comprehensive approach to band organization and development.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We have enjoyed steady growth since our inception in 2011. I originally started this as a program that took place at the homes of my drum students. By 2013 we opened our brick and mortar studio in Solana Beach. The biggest challenge that we faced was finding a location where noise wasn’t too big of an issue. We’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy great symbioses with the businesses around us. By 2015 we expanded from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet adding a recording studio. The ongoing challenge for me has been learning how to run a business as I had previously been a working musician. While no road is perfect, ours has been pretty smooth for the most part. The community and city have been very supportive and we are so grateful.

Please tell us about The Rockademy.
My wife, Keri Couzens and I own The Rockademy. She does most of the administrative work. I function as music director, band coach, drum instructor, as well as well as everything else that the job entails. I am most proud of the team of teachers that I have assembled. They are working musicians and parents who have extensive teaching, touring, and gigging experience. They all handle their own schedules which affords them flexibility to pursue their additional musical endeavors. While we offer private individual lessons on instruments, we also provide a band program where the kids meet weekly in their own band. Our teachers help them create a set of songs based on their influences, aptitude, and experience level. The students are given an active role in this process. Imagine that you are bringing your child to soccer for the first time. Your child is placed on the soccer field, given a coach and a soccer ball but no teammates. They will run laps, learn how do dribble a soccer ball etc. When they get home you have them go out in the back yard and practice what they learned. At no point do they get the benefit of playing on a team or playing a game. What do you think that their perception of soccer would be? Limited at best… I would expect them to get bored and lose interest rather quickly. We offer context and practical application by providing them with peers and gigs to give them a reason to practice.

The goals are the songs and performances.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Looking back, if I had to start over, I’m not sure that I would have done much differently.

Maybe I would’ve started The Rockademy sooner! As they say, “The path unfolds with each step that you take.”

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Margie Couzens

    November 30, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Great article James! Am so very proud of all that you have accomplished; and more importantly that you LOVE what you do! Keep on Rockin!!! Love and miss all of you!!! Aunt Margie

  2. Julie

    December 1, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Rockademy sounds like a perfect match for youngsters to explore, develop, build, and refine talent. Unique approach, very refreshing.

  3. Dianne Lincoln

    December 1, 2017 at 1:05 am

    I can’t tell you in words how proud I am of you! You Rock and give your all to everyone! You are an amazing person! The energy and true passion you have is unreal. Keep on doing what you love and never change! Your sister….Dianne

  4. Emily

    December 1, 2017 at 1:27 am

    Great company and program with amazing teachers!! My daughter has had some great jam sessions! They really keep things fun which makes kids want to practice!

  5. J.R. Schumaker

    December 1, 2017 at 6:46 am

    I follow Rockademy on Facebook and It’s been fun to see some of the bands in various posts! They play well, look comfortable on stage, and come together as ensembles— a testament to the mission of the school and the quality of the instruction!

  6. mary couzens

    December 2, 2017 at 3:49 am

    So proud of you James and Keri!! You have come a long way and have enjoyed what you love most!!

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