Changing How Kids Learn Music
Think about how kids learn music. If we're talking about the most conventional of settings in music education, a student will go to a teacher's house once a week. They'll usually bring with them a cheap booklet of public domain nursery rhyme tunes held together by a couple of staples and some goofy illustrations. Their teachers will give them the basics of reading music through these booklets, rewarding them with a sticker on a page and shaming them when they don't practice. A private teacher may begin working songs that their kids want to learn, but these will never be the focus of the lesson.
"Let's get through this book, then the next one, and then we'll work your songs."
Months pass by, maybe years. Though the student may now have extensive knowledge of Classical or Jazz technique, chances are they never learned the songs that inspired them to learn music in the first place. In fact, at this point, there's a solid chance that the child has ditched music in frustration.
What We Do
Now think about how your favorite musicians got started. Michael Jackson sang and danced with his brothers. Victor Wooten played a toy guitar in his front yard with his older siblings. Green Day was a high school garage project. The process of learning music has been proven to be similar to that of learning language; we do it best when we are engaging with others. In the spirit of this truth, Bandcamp NOLA sorts our students by age group into band rehearsals where they learn songs with an emphasis on variety. We're more than a classical or jazz or rock or pop based music program. We want our kids to be able to hold their own in any setting and to be well rounded as musicians. Most of all, we want to be able to expand our students taste for the beautiful, the creative, and the things that rock them to their core. By using the band learning method directed by two professional musicians, we can run a full rehearsal while pulling students aside to learn their songs individually.
It's Also the Cheapest Way to Learn Music
On average, a parent signing their child up for private music lessons can expect to pay between $120 and $175 a month for 30-45 minute sessions, and for more seasoned teachers or the convenience of taking lessons in home, prices can be even higher. Because Bandcamp NOLA can work with up to 25 kids in a given session, and because we operate out of a non-profit's space, we're able to offer two hour sessions and a more engaging way for kids to learn music at a quarter of the monthly cost. We're not only more cost effective; we're cheaper than any other afterschool music program, more engaging for our students, and we offer them longer sessions than traditional guitar or vocal lessons could. Our greatest pride is in making ourselves accessible to families who otherwise couldn't afford to put their kids in a music program.
The Neutral Ground Coffeehouse is an Uptown not-for-profit coffee shop and art space that operates as a community co-op kept alive through the big hearts of its entirely volunteer staff. A staple of the musical culture of New Orleans, it's hosted live music every night for 41 years and is home to the longest-running open mic night in the United States. Priding itself on being inclusive of all ages, and located directly across from Isadore Newman School, it offers the perfect home for young students to learn music.
5110 Danneel St