MSU Community Music School hosts rock camp
Banging a variety of drums and singing a range of notes, participants at the MSU Community Music School’s, or CMS, Rock Camp rocked out Monday afternoon at the beginning of the week-long camp that will conclude with performances at Common Ground Music Festival.
The camp features workshops for musically experienced participants ages 12-18, where participants learn how to perform in front of groups, how to form a band, how to market and promote a band and how to work together to form a final project, said Lisa Kacos, an MSU music theory graduate student who is in The Outer Vibe, a rock band that is leading the camp.
Kacos helped start the camp last year after she was approached by professors who wanted to start a rock camp for kids in the area, she said.
“(This is) something we’ve been doing for a while, and we were like, ‘That would be really cool (to start a camp),’ and rock music is what we do,” Kacos said. “We’re musicians for a living, and it’s so much fun to share what we know with the students and teach them what we do.”
The experience the band brings to the camp is a specialty other camps do not provide and is one that keeps participants coming back, said Missy Zenker, a Haslett, Mich., resident and student guitarist.
“The fact they used to be the kids that wanted to be rock stars and they’re here for us, so they’re teaching us what they wished they got taught,” Zenker said. “They’re really there for you, they’re not doing it for money, they’re not doing it because they have to be here, they’re really supportive and they give you good advice.”
Through brainstorming, members of The Outer Vibe, along with community support from MSU and CMS, created a unique feature that was added to the camp this year. After a week’s worth of practicing together, the camp participants will create band titles, choose songs and perform Friday at Common Ground in Lansing.
The chance to play live at Common Ground is an exciting part of the whole experience, said Charlie Szur, a Williamston, Mich., resident and student vocalist.
“We’re playing at Common Ground — that’s very exciting, because it’s Common Ground and that’s cool,” he said.
Performing live is a valuable, thrilling experience that only the rock camp could provide, Zenker said.
“They teach you presentation and how to sound the best you could sound,” she said. “Once you get up there to play, it’s awesome, like you don’t want to get off.”
Performing on stage gives the participants a chance to see what it’s really like and if they want to continue their musical career, Kacos said.
“We want to teach them that you can be in a band and you can do that if you want to, that it’s hard work and dedication like anything else,” she said. “It’s not magic or a big break like a lot of people maybe fantasize about.”