Music's Edge Rock Camp

 
 

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Rock Camp Day #2: Oh goodness!

Rock Camp Day #2: Oh goodness! Out of 7 boys, two of them are twins... with a third younger brother in the group. And two others are also brothers. So, 5 out of seven band members are working with "sibling dynamic" (as opposed to "band dynamic"). My work is cut out for me, especially given the challenging material these boys want to tackle. (I asked the elder brother today if he would help me guide his younger... "No way," he said. "I don't have any control over him at all." ...Good answer. Teaching this group is MY job, as much as I would love to pass it on to themselves while I eat bagels and look on.) 

So, we were working on our "cowbell song" (Santana). And I was encouraging our singer to let the groove simmer between sections -- not to hurry into the next verse as soon as the chorus ends. I told him: "Step away from the mic, dance a little bit, have some fun, walk to the edge of the stage and raise your rock-n-roll fist at your buddies, and POINT TO THE GIRL YOU LIKE in the audience..."
Everybody started giggling. And I was thinking "What?... What did I say that was so damn funny."
The singer's older brother looked at me sympathetically and said: "You do know that he's NINE, don't you? And he doesn't like girls."

Okay then.

Grueling day. Two of our songs are of the "epic" style of rock. So, there are huge band breakdowns, climaxes, build-ups, and synchronized hits. I really have to boss them around to get them all on the same page. Also... it's loud. Really loud. Two drum kits in a room the size of walk-in closet. Between my band-leader-tyranny, and the room volume, the kids get fatigued; each band member occasionally has to give himself a timeout -- takes a break for about 15 minutes. (I'm all for those little rest stops.)

That said, some brilliant stuff is starting to happen. Rob heard a guitar subtlety in "Pinball Wizard," and started practicing it. Then, he asked my permission to play it... What? Me: "Hey Band, I have an announcement to make. If you work on a cool part that you heard in the song, don't ask my permission to play it; just tell your bandmates that you're gonna play it. So they know what to expect."

As chaotic as it feels, this group is actually one day ahead of schedule.