This is our story.
Eleven years Rock Camp started as an idea in which for one week students, between ages 7 - 19, would learn music from performing musicians in a particular way. Rather than teach music classes in the way it is taught in school, students would learn in small groups and mentor with a variety of performing musicians and learn from their peers.
But the story actually starts earlier than this. Let’s rewind.
When I was a kid, I took piano lessons from a few different teachers. I loved music but I did not like the lessons. Rather than look at music as if one was exploring a new world, my early teachers had the view that I should learn nursery rhythms and little kid tunes, read simple notation, and then little by little progress to more challenging music. Sound logical. And yet even at an early age of 12 or 13 years old, I thought “why do I have to learn this little kid music and wait around for a couple years to get to the music I really want to play (at that time it was rock-n-roll)?” So I quit lessons with that teacher. Eventually I had a different teacher, but it was the same story. I quit again.
And then something happened, really be accident.
As I went through middle and high school, I was lucky to take an art class. The art teacher, Mr. Reed, has a beat up piano in his room (painted on the sides), all of the walls had student work, the ceiling too. This is where music came alive. He showed me and a group of other students how to play the music of Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Three Dog Night, and many many tunes in the rock and blues realm. We played duets. We played along with records. We later played in small groups, at school functions, at parties, at cafes, and we just kept learning. A new world opened up to all of us. Later, I was lucky enough to have Mr. Ellington as an inspiring band teacher. He would give us the keys to his room at lunch to practice, and introduced to the Beatles and groups like Yes.
So let’s fast forward years later. Every day that passes, I realize how lucky I was to have these great teachers in my life, and that’s the word - luck. So this is why Rock Camp exists. We want every student to have an inspiring experience, make friends, feel what it’s like to master something and perform it…….and if the music speaks to them, they can make music a part of their life as they grow up. Having a great music education, should not be a luck thing. It should be available to everyone.
At Rock Camp and Dance Intensive in New Jersey and the Hamptons, we bring the best and the brightest musicians and dancers to inspire students, whether they are beginners or have significant experience. All in the spirit of what happened in Mr. Reed’s art room.