An Interview with Matt Black
One of our amazing volunteers is Matt Black. Matt, who has been a Library member for 10 years, supports the Library by giving musical performances and teaching music at special Library events. Matt runs his own music program for Kids, Teens and Adults called Rock-U in Paris. You can find more about Rock-U on the website: www.rock-u.fr.
In an interview with the Assistant Children’s and Teens’ Librarian, Kirsty, Matt explains how he started volunteering and why he’s done so for 10 years!
How did you find out about the Library?
My family and I moved here in 2005 and heard about the Library before we even arrived. We became members our first week in Paris, and the Library quickly became an important part of our lives here. Now I do performances and programs here, my daughter is a weekly volunteer, and my wife frequently goes to the reading room to get work done.
How, why and when did you first start doing programs at the Library?
I can’t remember exactly how it came about, but someone mentioned to Helen (the former Youth Librarian) that I did music for kids back in the U.S. Somehow we arranged for me to do a Silly Songs with Matt Black show on a Saturday afternoon, and we’ve never looked back!
You have done many events for us, from performing at our Winter Wonderland party, to Saturday afternoon sing-a-longs to Rock-U Teen nights. What makes you do these?
I love the Library and I’m very glad to do what I can to support the programs and community.
What is Rock-U and how did it get started?
Rock U. is a performance-based rock music program for kids and teens, and now adults too. It started when my daughter did a similar program in the US for a week one summer, many years ago, and enjoyed it. She had been taking piano lessons for years, but didn’t have the chance to play or sing with a band, or play the kind of music she listened to at home. I thought it was a pretty cool program too, so when we returned to Paris I looked around for something similar. But I couldn’t find anything that seemed comparable. I had a band already, and plenty of materials and helpful friends ready to give advice, so I just went ahead and did it myself!
There is now an Adult Rock-U program? How did that get started?
I had formed a dad’s band (The Doodads) with some friends at my daughter’s school to play a few songs for a school party, and I found that playing with other musicians was both more fun and helped me to improve more rapidly than playing on my own. I wanted to provide the same opportunity for other adults who, like me, might have been looking to take their playing to a new level, and for those who, like many of my bandmates, had played when they were younger but had let music lapse as part of their lives as adults and parents. We’ve had an amazing response and now have four adult bands getting ready to play their next show at the end of June!
You can follow Rock-U on Facebook and Instagram.
For information about how you can support the Library click here.