Darrel Drachenberg is a surgeon by day, musician by night and this weekend, he's rolling out Winnipeg's first School of Rock franchise. 

"Somewhat indirectly, I became a surgeon because of being a musician in … my history," he said.

He played guitar in a band while in medical school.


A group of kids were playing a song from Canadian rock band Rush when Darrel Drachenberg first heard about the School of Rock. (Randy Johnson/Rush)

"One of the surgeons I was working with saw me working in the OR and said, 'You have really good hands. You're that guitar player from the medical school band,'" Drachenberg said.  

He responded "yes" and the surgeon told Drachenberg he should go into surgery.

"I never really had considered that up to that point, and that was kind of an enlightening moment for me," he said.

Darrel Drachenberg

Darrel Drachenberg speaks in studio with CBC's Marcy Markusa. (CBC)

Drachenberg said the dexterity required of a musician lends well to his day job.

"You turn off the science and the medical side and you're able to rock out, turn the volume up, listen to some feedback and it's wonderful," he said.

Drachenberg got the idea for the school when he was looking for guitar strings while on a trip in Florida and saw a sign that said "School of Rock." 

He walked in, heard kids playing a tune from the Canadian rock band Rush and talked to the owner about the school.

"[I] thought this is amazing! What is this?" he said. 

School of Rock teaches guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards and drums through popular songs to people age three and up. 

Drachenberg's school is also outfitted with instruments for students who don't have their own. 

Some of the programs include weekly private lessons and weekly band rehearsals to give students onstage experience that ultimately leads to a performance in front of a crowd.

"It's almost like a team sport for music," he said. "They could engage in that kind of peer group, the community-building kind of aspect of things and that really stimulates, I think, the love of music and lifelong student of music."

Winnipeg's School of Rock on Corydon Avenue is hosting a grand opening from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.