Programs help local youngsters start bands

Young musicians get to practice and experience being real rock stars with musical summer programs offered around Murfreesboro. These camps offer a variety of ways to teach kids how to play instruments, learn how to cooperate in a band and boost confidence in performing in front of a crowd. The summer camps are all like the movie School of Rock, only with way better instructors than Jack Black.

Johnny Guitar’s music store on West Clark is hosting the first ever Johnnaroo concert this August. Johnnaroo ’09 will feature bands made up from the students of the guitar store and their instructors who have been assisting the students all summer.

“It’s impressive to see how far they’ve come practicing all summer,” said Johnny Guitar’s co-owner Terri Fitzgerald. “They are having such a great time.”

The bands are comprised of 20 students ages 8 – 15. The lineup for Johnnaroo consists of the Fender Benders, the Firebreathing Tadpoles, The Unexpected and Speck (German for bacon). Crowds can expect to hear a variety of cover hits from AC/DC to Ozzy to the Eagles.

The band members have been practicing for eight weeks in preparation for the upcoming concert.

“We’re really excited to show off the students’ hard work,” Fitzgerald said.

After the student bands are finished, the instructors will have a chance to show their talents to the crowd too.

Johnnaroo will be on Saturday, Aug. 8, at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of Johnny Guitar’s.

For more information, call the shop at 896-5151.


Another local program appeals specifically to girls who have the desire to become future rock goddesses. The Southern Girls Rock Camp, put on by the Youth Empowerment Through Arts & Humanities (YEAH) program, gives girls ages 10-17 the tools and knowledge needed to get a head start in the music world. Southern Girls Rock Camp was a five-day-long camp from July 27 to Aug. 1. This was the seventh summer for the camp with about 90 girls in attendance.

“We give lessons to the girls in groups. The girls then form their own bands with band managers to help them learn and perform a song of their choice,” said YEAH executive director Ryan York.

The camp is designed to help teach girls who want to learn the guitar, bass, drums, keyboard or vocals. The girls have the opportunity to check out workshops about certain parts of the music industry. They can learn about recording, screen-printing, songwriting, photography, magazine making and music HERstory.

“Music ?her’story is our history class all about famous women from punk to rock to country who have broken through and made it in the music business. We hope this workshop will give the girls more confidence when they perform,” York said.

Southern Girls Rock Camp also provides some full and partial scholarships for the girls. If you are interested in joining or signing up someone for next summer, visit yeahintheboro.com and keep up to date about the next registration.

YEAH is also host to Rock Blok, for anyone ages 10 – 17 with any experience level who wants to learn any instrument. Registration is going on through Aug. 15; the camp begins in September and ends in early December.

“In Rock Blok, students are assigned to be in two different bands. The bands will practice and by the time camp is over, will get to record a demo and make logos for their bands,” York said. Since Rock Blok is months long, it is designed to build lasting friendships and bandmates even after camp is over.

Rock Blok can provide certain instruments to kids who do not have their own. College-age volunteers are needed for this year to help assist with the kids. Volunteers with a background in music are preferred, but anyone can register to help. Questions about volunteering or registering should be sent to rockblok@yeahintheboro.org. For more information, check out the YEAH website at yeahintheboro.com.


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