They've Got the Beat
By Matt Perkins/Daily News Staff
Friday, July 27, 2007
For Frances Cooke, music not only comes naturally, it comes genetically.
"I like singing because my parents are very musical, and I guess they just pass it down," said the 10-year-old. Cooke, whose parents play piano and guitar among other instruments, has been using her passion for singing to her advantage this week as a camper at the Day Jams Rock Music Day camp at
The five-week camp, which runs Mondays through Fridays until Aug. 10, allows eager rockers of ages 9-15, to practice the instrument of their choice during weeklong sessions, creating their own music and band apparel. Campers also write their own music at DayJams with bands they play in. They create their own band names, and pick which genre of rock they want to play, whether it be heavy metal, classic rock, or alternative. "I think it gives them a sense of accomplishment that they've created what they're performing," said
Casinghino and other instructors and counselors of the camp organize which campers go into which bands. With 12 bands in all, the campers are grouped by age, musical ability and musical taste.
"What we work for the most is the team aspect," Casinghino said. "It's not a sports camp, but there's that same mentality through music."
The camp also features a recreation period outdoors, where students can get a breather from the recording-studio atmosphere. An art class lets campers design their own artwork: band logos and posters, T-shirts and back stage passes. But you don't have to be a master at an instrument to join DayJams. The camp, Casinghino said, accepts students who have never even picked up a guitar or a set of drumsticks in their lives. And some teachers are even surprised at how far those students come in a week.
"You have all talent levels, all age groups," said guitar teacher Larry Power. "I know plenty of professionals who can't write a song in a week and perform. The kids in general are great to work with. Very enthusiastic. They're all here because they love music. It's very high energy all the time." Aside from rehearsal time with their bands, campers also have acoustic sessions, where they can work on writing their own songs and lyrics - a favorite for Cooke, who this year is the singer for her group, Traffic Jammers.
"I like doing acoustic, because you get to really work on the lyrics of your song," she said. At the end of the week, all of the bands perform a concert for family and friends. On Thursdays, a select group of bands who are willing, play a small show for the rest of the camp, performing songs they've heard on the radio in a cover-song concert. "Everything about the camp is original music, so we offer that to them (too)," Casinghino said. Casinghino says allowing the campers to compose their own music and lyrics, and to create their own music and art is what the camp is all about. And the campers, many of whom take lessons in their respective instruments year round, said they tend to enjoy what they learn at the camp above all." "When I learn the most, it's within the four weeks I come here," said Adam Beck, 15, of Chestnut Hill, who plays guitar for his camp band Perkele. "Because it's music all day." Nickey Hatton, 15, who plays keyboards for Perkele, said the camp is a great way to play with other musicians in a situation in which she normally doesn't find herself. "I think with playing with other kids, because I just take lessons and play by myself. I never really see anyone else and their styles," Hatton said. " It's fun, and we're just excited to play."
For more info on DayJams Rock Music Day Camps, visit dayjams.com.
By Matt Perkins/Daily News Staff