A Postcard from Band Camp

Aug 17, 2012

Summer allows music students time to practice their craft.  They can found in numerous camps, including a recent week long workshop at Eastern Kentucky University.  As Stu Johnson reports, this long standing camp focused on the guitar.

Rows of young guitarists sit in a room at E-K-U’s Campbell Building. Madalyn Alvey made the trip from Louisville to Richmond for the Steven Foster Camp, which this summer marked its 69th year.  Alvey admits she leans a little more toward the rock genre, but also wants a bit more formal training.

“For the most part, I’ve been self taught, teaching myself the tablature for a lot of songs.  I think we’re learning a lot more technique and a lot more classical style of music here,” said Alvey.

Instructor James Meade says their aim that day was to help campers with counting rhythm.  He says rhythm is practiced by all guitarists in one form or another.  Often, Meade says, it’s instinctual.

“Any good musician sort of has an inner pulse, whether they feel it in their foot or whether they feel it in their gut.  If you play music long enough, you have a tendency to internalize rhythm or a pulse,” said Meade.

Meade also teaches a variety of picking methods and techniques that allow campers to generate different tones.   He says it doesn’t have to be tough row to hoe.

“There’s a lot of movements at once to make a song happen.  But, if you break it down which is what we do for young kids in terms of playing with a pick and playing finger style, we break it down into the basic movements and we basically make a strong foundation and build a house upon it and by the end of the week, they’ve got some pretty good finger picking skills,” says Meade.

He adds many participants are also interested in the latest tools and equipment.

“We also about music technology and that’s one thing I think a lot of kids in this generation really care a lot of about because that’s there medium.   So, we spend time on computers with sound samples and mixing things.”

Lexington’s Andrew Davis has been playing guitar for about seven years.  He enjoys strumming classical and jazz.

“Like different styles, it brings out different styles of the guitar and it just has a ring to it to me,” said Davis.

Davis says the aim is to improve.  He adds, “If I go somewhere with that, that would be great.”