written by Mark Grundhoefer, instructor at Metro Music Makers
I look forward to every summer, but not because I go to the beach or take time off. No, I look forward to the months of June and July because we run our annual Metro Music Makers Rock Band Camp—the most fun, exhausting, loud, silly and productive week of the year. When the world went upside down and the idea of getting together in groups became unsafe, we spent some time brainstorming how to make the camp work in the virtual world. Since playing together “in time” is near impossible over the internet, we worked on developing some new techniques to (literally) keep the music alive.
The students at Metro Music Makers have adapted remarkably well to online lessons. And when put into a virtual group class, you’d have thought they were all in the same room. Laughter and song was heard in each household. We listened to music, came up with band names, played music trivia games, and discussed our favorite and least favorite songs.
Then came time to work on the songs. To maximize learning, each student received individual instruction on how to play songs, broken down into parts, and then group practice sessions along with pre-recorded tracks were held. A lot of time spent at home practicing was required, and every student went above and beyond to really learn their parts!
Before this year, our camps would culminate with a performance on stage for friends and family. In the virtual world, live group performance is difficult. So instead, each student spent a few days recording a live video. They played their parts, decorated their performance space, and put on costumes and “rock 'n' roll” attire. We edited together a video and had a viewing party. It was a blast!
Check out the video performances and see these young rockers in action.
Because we had so much fun, we are offering a once-a-week virtual Rock Band session this fall. These virtual classes will look very similar to our online camp, but will roll out once a week for eight weeks versus daily camp sessions. All instruments, styles and experience levels are welcome. No experience is necessary. Everyone will need to have their instrument(s) readily available during each class session. Friends and family will be invited to enjoy the music video premiere at the end of the eight-week class.