When you think of Interlochen, rock-n-roll probably doesn't come to mind. But that's about to change.
In Their Ears
The idea to teach rock and roll has been in the works ever since Interlochen President Jeff Kimpton noticed what students were listening to on their I-Pods.
"You would not hear them listening to classical music. Even our finest classical musicians," he laughs. "They're just not."
Kimpton also noticed what the students were doing in their free time.
"Many of our students were bringing their own guitars and drums and amps with them and classical violinists and trumpet players and cellists who put together these rock bands just for fun at camp on their own," he says.
So this summer Interlochen will have a new, two-week camp to teach students the fine points of playing rock music.
An Ensemble, Any Genre
The director of will be Diane Carderelli, who has directed a Rock Camp at the University of Central Florida for 12 years. She says, once students learn to play instruments, they immediately want to begin playing with others.
That's true in any musical genre.
"The opportunity to do that is much more readily available for classical music," she says. "For rock music, it's just starting to be an opportunity that's available in a structured setting."
Carderelli herself plays piano, guitar and flute, plus she sings. When it came to playing with other young musicians, she got lucky early.
"I remember as a child I lived in Cape Coral for several years and our local music store had a program where you would come together with other kids who were learning their instruments and we would, just, we would basically jam and how much joy I got out of it and how much it helped me develop self-confidence," she says.
Carderelli says kids at Interlochen won't just jam, they'll learn a range different rock styles. Even extremely hard rock. She plans to teach safe vocal techniques for kids who want to sing, say, like Corey Taylor of the band SlipKnot. (Screaming hard-rock vocals).
Want To play? Play Well.
Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones once said that all a rock guitarist needs to know is three chords. You can get off to pretty good start that way, but Richards' playing actually evolved into something much more sophisticated.
Bill Sears is the Jazz Director at Interlochen.
"You have a young kid who hears some music that they like, they get a guitar and they learn their E, A and G chords and off they go," says Interlochen Jazz Director Bill Sears. "Why not give them some education and give them some training and learn how to write a song? Why not give them that opportunity to be educated in how to do this on a high level."
Students who enroll in Rock Camp will have to be able to read music. They'll play in one big rock concert as well as some smaller, coffeehouse performances for the general public.
And President Kimpton noted, for the purists, that Interlochen's World Youth Symphony Orchestra and fine concert music is safe and sound.
"I hope that everybody realizes that we're not packing WYSO up and shipping it off and closing it down, that this is not the end of the world and Satan will not be in residence at Interlochen," he laughs again.
On Points North ARTFORMS, Brad Aspey talked about Interlochen's Rock Camp with the Director of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, Jung-Ho Pak. Listen here.