More than a dozen area kids will get a crash course in music this week as part of the Brownwood Music Camp.
With many of its students coming to the camp having never picked up an instrument, Brownwood Music Store Owner Jodie Armstrong said her crash course allows students to experience a variety of instruments hoping that experience will inspire the next generation of musicians.
“This is our third year and we wanted to start incorporating and raising up our younger musicians,” Armstrong said. “In the last 25 years it has went from 30 teachers in the county to four, besides our great schools, and the students from 200 or 300 to 50. We really needed kids to take part to get them interested again and the only way to get them interested is to give them a camp that gives them a touch of ukulele, guitar, piano, voice and drums. Then they can either decide to hate it or love it and maybe that will make them want to continue on with lessons.”
With more than a dozen students participating, some of her students to take on teaching roles while the teachers focused on the novice students with a limited musical background.
“Most of them are beginners,” Armstrong said. “Everybody here, other than three, this is their first taste of it. I have kids in one room that are literally beginners so they needed a bit more special attention. Some of them we partnered with more experienced musicians and it really worked out nice. They’re our student teachers and they have been a lot of help. It gives them a tiny taste in whether they want to teach or not.”
Claire Clayton, Jillian Wright and Chloe Maxwell were among those students who are now teaching their younger, less experienced peers. Clayton said teaching students allowed her to pick up on some of her own technique issues and in the process made her a better musician.
“You learn more technique. You have to show them how to do it and what is the correct form. You end up learning that correct form yourself … It’s nice to see the kids and have a good time as well,” Clayton said.
Wright said teaching children taught her a lesson on patience and anticipation – patience for working through a complex piece with a relative newcomer and anticipation for when that student hits all of the notes just right.
“You kind of learn as you go, but when you’re teaching kids you tend to learn more,” Wright said. “You’re teaching them and while it’s happening you think to yourself, oh yeah that’s right. It’s a learning process … You have to be patient with the kids. You have to be nice to them, but it’s really exciting. As they’re learning, you think it’s so cute when they get excited. It’s a lot of fun.”
Those who could not make the camp still have an opportunity to learn music before the start of the upcoming school year. Brownwood Music hosts lessons beginning at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. One of the instructors is Jackie Anderson, who provides lessons on piano, guitar, ukulele and drums, and has more than 40 years of experience. She also teaches head start and pre-K at Northwest Elementary School. Lessons are $20 for each 30-minute session.