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The Collective Sound – Summer Camp for Young Musicians
283 Viejo St.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

By Jennifer Nairne

Most music lessons teach a child to read music, but there are not a lot of resources to teach children how to create music. There is value in learning how to play classical pieces and kids love imitating their favorite pop stars – all of which can be learned through traditional music education. Traditional music education for homeschoolers often means learning music theory from books and parent-teachers look to private instruction for improving technique. Unfortunately, this rarely encourages those students who look to music as a form for self-expression. Even the most dedicated instructors seldom have access to the latest composition software or incorporate the latest technological advances in recording.

In 1998, Zac Smith created a nonprofit organization dedicated to challenging the boundaries of traditional music education. His goal was to create a summer camp that gave kids an opportunity to experience all the facets of the music industry – as a performance artist, using the latest composition software to create their own music, and working with the latest recording technology. The Collective Sound summer camps have evolved over the years to become the only organization in the world to offer a touring music camp. And most importantly, the camps supports young musician and offers a positive outlet for self-expression.

During the summer of 2012, The Collective Sound will be hosting a series of summer camps, both in the U.S. and abroad. Here in California, the camp will be located in the City of Orange where campers spend a full week touring within a two-hour radius to perform original music in front of live audiences all over the Southland. The tour is a chance for kids to learn about all the aspects of a live show, including traveling as a band, sound checks, backline setups, and self-promotion. Students stay at a college campus, where they are given access to the latest music technology and state-of-the-art computer labs. The campus setting allows for kids to have hands-on experience with the resources and tools used throughout the industry. And for many of the students, this is their first opportunity to explore what college is really about. Campers are taken on field trips to major players in the recording industry, as well as independent labels, and discuss real-world jobs in the field for which they all share a passion. During the three weeks, the students create a band website, including performance videos, music videos, professionally-recorded tracks of their original music, with tools for online promotion.

Unlike other camps, bringing kids together for a full three weeks creates a lasting bond that is evident years after they come home from camp. The increased use of social media has helped campers stay in touch all year long and continue to collaborate together. And for those kids truly dedicated to making music part of their life, can sign up for the American Tour. Following their stay in Southern California, campers fly to Austin, Texas, known as the “Live Music Capital of the World”. There is even a European Tour where kids can pursue their passion for music while exploring different cultures on the greatest adventure of their lives. The European Tour spends three weeks in the UK and then stops in Barcelona, Spain for the next three weeks. Whether in Europe, or at home in the US, camps are limited to a maximum of 35, ensuring the kids form deep and meaningful friendships that last a lifetime. Many of the camp alum use the experience to help define their academic careers and future professional lives – they learn which majors to pursue and the classes they should take in college to be prepared for their dream job. Alumni come back to camps as counselors, to share their knowledge and to provide an example for the next generation of musicians.

As someone who was homeschooled, founder Zac Smith, truly understands the philosophy and value of an education in a family setting. His passion for music, both as a business and as art, has given birth to a one-of-a-kind experience that your child will never forget. The Collective Sound is more than just a camp – it is a place where the budding talent of your homeschooler will be nurtured and guided. They will make friends from around the world, networking with the next generation of musicians in the worldwide industry. And it is a safe place for creative kids to express themselves in a positive and effective way.

Both the American and European Tours run simultaneously from July 1st through August 10th. Campers can choose to participate in one or both legs of either tour. Visit the website for The Collective Sound for more details at JN


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