Musical boot camp expands young musicians’ skills

Above: From left Band Camp members Easton Menard (guitar), Kaitlyn Kinsella (ukulele), Gabriel Ellis (drums) and Braden Sollid (bass)rehearse for their evening concert July 19. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Local music students had an opportunity for a little different experience than what they get from their weekly one-on-one music lessons last week at Smith Music. The school held the first of two Summer Band Camps. The second one started on Monday.

During the week-long musical boot camp, students put in a full week learning new songs and rehearsing them alongside new musicians.

Both camps put students together to learn a dozen songs from Monday to Thursday and to put those tunes in front of two audiences on Friday afternoon and Friday evening.

One musician who enjoyed the experience is bass player and singer Easton Menard.

“It’s been pretty good. “I’ve been learning to play with other musicians,” and that’s really helpful,” Menard told Morinville News during a break at Friday’s final Band Camp rehearsal. “Usually, I work on playing by myself, and I’m good playing by myself. But I wasn’t really good playing with other musicians when I started.”

Menard said he found working with his fellow musicians became much more comfortable as the week progressed.

Another Band Camp player is Braden Sollid, a drummer who also found the experience rewarding.

“It’s been good with everybody here,” he said, noting that he had spent some time using instruments he usually does not play. “I normally play guitar and drums. [Bass is] somewhat new. I’ve played it sometimes. It’s been pretty challenging. [Led Zeppelin’s] Heartbreaker has been tough. The riffs are pretty hard.”

Smith Music owner Paul Smith said he was proud of the work and the work ethic the five band members put in during the week.

“This is the experience of learning to play with other musicians and also learning the work ethic of music,” Smith said. “When we start off, we are doing six hours of music a day. We take a half-hour break in the middle. That’s it. We’ve found over the years, the harder we work them, the more fun they have.”

Despite complaints of sore hands and long hours, the Band Camp members often wind up putting in even more time rehearsing at home when the day is done.

The second Band Camp taking place this week will conclude with an outdoor concert at 1 p.m. at Smith Music (weather permitting) and an indoor concert at 6 p.m. at the Music School.

Braden Sollid

Kaitlyn Kinsella

Gabriel Ellis

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