School of Rock Louisville performance team
The School of Rock Louisville performance team will play in Cincinnati with the School of Rock All-Stars on Sunday, July 28, at the Woodward Theater. Carter Scofield is a member of both groups. | Courtesy of School of Rock

School of Rock Louisville is sending its first student on an All-Star Tour, and it just happens to be the owners’ son. But there’s no favoritism here: He just happens to be a really talented and driven musician, which is why his parents bought the franchise in the first place. 

Carter Scofield, 18, will be on his fourth School of Rock tour, visiting Cincinnati, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Chicago, with a recording session and even a spot onstage at Lollapalooza

School of Rock sends seven groups of kids on tour each year. They go through a rigorous audition process, including a local audition, a video audition and then a live final audition to secure a spot on the team, which goes on a two-week tour, said Melanie Scofield, owner of School of Rock Louisville. 

Carter Scofield
Carter Scofield will play in his fourth School of Rock All-Stars Tour. | Photo by John Hall

The company just opened in Louisville last October, but Carter Scofield has been playing with the organization in Chicago since he was 9, his mother said. He began with summer camp and had such a great time, he enrolled in lessons right after.

The effect the lessons had on Carter and the other kids that she saw caused Melanie and her husband Doug do want to open a franchise. 

“Watching him and other kids like him progress over the last 10 years through the School of Rock was a huge inspiration to me,” Melanie Scofield said.

“I really believe in this program and what it’s doing for young people, not just Carter but other kids I’ve seen move along through the program with him, and that’s what inspired me to get involved and buy the franchise, to try to make it available to more kids in more cities, and particularly, of course, here in Louisville, because there’s such a great, great music scene here.”

Carter Scofield said that though it’s his fourth All-Star Tour, he’s still very excited about it, though a lot less nervous than in years past. On one previous tour, he was able to play at the Mo Pop Festival in Detroit and met singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco. Last year, he got to play at Red Rocks in Colorado. 

For the tour, each musician gets around six or seven tunes to study and play, and some are pretty difficult, Carter said. He’ll be playing “Bodhisattva” by Steely Dan.

“It’s actually got sort of a rockabilly-shuffle feel,” he said. “It plays around with the blues form, but you know Steely Dan throwing all those substitutions.”

Carter Scofield
Carter Scofield played at this year’s Poorcastle Festival. | Photo by Jeffery Parrish

The music they play is pretty diverse, he added. “I’m playing  an Avenged Sevenfold song, ‘Bat Country.’ It’s really all across the board from Carole King to contemporary metal. We play a lot of Frank Zappa tunes and get a lot of different challenges.” 

Carter just graduated from Ballard High School and will begin school at University of Louisville in the fall, in the Jazz Studies program.

He likes to learn jazz because of “the improvisation, the harmony,” he said. “As someone who plays an instrument, jazz really allows you to take a lead voice in the music and really get a solo and really express yourself. Also with jazz, there’s so much sort of theory and conceptual parts of the music that are really universal and can be applied to every kind of music.”

Only a few School of Rock participants have made the All-Stars Tour four times, Melanie Scofield said.

“He practices a lot, that’s all I can say,” she said. “He’s been a very driven and dedicated musician.”

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Lisa Hornung a native of Louisville and has worked in local media for more than 15 years as a writer and editor. Before that she worked as a writer, editor and photographer for community newspapers in Kansas, Ohio and Kentucky. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia, and after a 20-year career in journalism, she obtained a master’s degree in history from Eastern Kentucky University in 2016.