Community Music School’s Rock Camp performs at Common Ground
The idea for the film School of Rock is catching on.
Teens growing up with games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero are getting the chance to learn what it is like to be in a real band at Michigan State University’s Community Music School during the week-long Rock Camp.
The Outer Vibe, a five-member band from Grand Rapids, leads the camp, placing campers in bands and teaching the young musicians songs and the logistics of being in a band.
“We teach them all about group mechanics, how to work together as a team, how to work toward a common goal,” said Lisa Kacos, who plays trumpet and keyboard in the Outer Vibe. “And then besides playing, they participate in workshops about song writing, they talk about business and marketing, even things like stage presence and how to sell tickets to a show.”
At the end of the week, campers will perform at the Common Ground Music Festival in Lansing. The performance is at 5:30 p.m. July 16 at the Sand Bar Stage at the festival.
Kacos said everyone is excited about the partnership with Common Ground.
“The kids get to work toward a real show,” she said. “They have a gig they are preparing for. They have 15 hours to rehearse.”
Kacos is a recent graduate of the MSU College of Music. She was approached by her professors after they saw a performance of The Outer Vibe and was asked if she and her band would want to lead a rock camp.
The MSU alumnus said there is a lot of interest in the community among teens who want to start bands but don’t know how.
“So there are all these kids running around with drum kits and electric guitars but not necessarily having any idea how to start a band,” Kacos said. “So they approached us about maybe getting a camp started for kids that want to meet people and maybe learn how to form a band.”
The camp is in its second summer and has doubled in size. It is geared toward students ages 12-18 with at least one to two years of experience playing the guitar, drums, keyboard, bass or vocals.
The camp is sponsored by Best Buy, which awarded $7,000 in grants to the program in the past year.