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A.M.O. #1 Songwriting with Camp Cool Crew
Posted October 10, 2014 by Adam Gross
WRITTEN BY
Adam Gross
ON
October 10, 2014

 

Hello dear reader and welcome to the first installment of A.M.O.! “What, or who, is A.M.O.?” you may ask. Well allow me to fill you in...  A.M.O. is an acronym that stands for Awakening Musical Opportunities which represents a brand new music education endeavor run and coordinated by Ben Leslie and myself (Adam Gross) in cooperation with Musical Family Tree.

 

While most traditional music education programs teach participants things like music history, theory and performance, we'll be focusing on something different. We do certainly see the value in traditional music education, but what A.M.O. focuses on is a lasting practical experience in the creation of music. Creativity is one crucial piece that is frequently left out of traditional music education programs.

 

Creating a piece of music can seem far out of reach for anyone (kids, people with disabilities, or even adults) without any practical experience doing so. Our program aims to make that reach a little closer by guiding our participants, step by step, through the writing, performing and recording of their own songs. Our hope is that, through the creation of their own songs, the participants will have the experience and the confidence needed to go forward and create music on their own. All of our participants will also leave each workshop with a copy of the song they just wrote and recorded. With their song in hand, they'll have a tangible item about which they can feel proud and accomplished, thus strengthening the possibility of further musical creation. Now, without any further ado, I present to you, as they would prefer to be called, Camp Cool Crew.

 

 

This summer, I had the privilege to spend 2 days at the Center for Interfaith Cooperation's yearly summer camp. The camp this summer was comprised of 9 kids from varied ethnic backgrounds ranging in age from 4 to 12. After introductions and a brief dance party to a couple of modern pop tunes, we began discussing inspiration and how it determines the topic of a song. While we touched on things like love, heartbreak, happiness, and sadness the kids ended up deciding that they were currently most inspired by the goings on of their summer camp.

 

So with our topic in hand, it was time for some instrumental experimentation. They rotated through different instruments in groups of three with the goal of creating a melody or rhythm for their song. After reconvening and taking a vote, the kids chose a melody that was written by one of the campers on the kalimba. With the topic and melody in place, the campers were shouting out lines for their song in no time. After some more voting and tweaking the lines to make them rhyme or have the correct amount of syllables, the campers had written their song. The song, appropriately titled “Camp is Fun”, is a youthful response to the joys of summer and exploring new cultures with friends.

 

 

While the campers listened and drummed along to a few more songs, I got to making the backing track. First as a whole group and then in small groups, the kids recorded their vocals. At times, the words may be a little hard to discern, the singing may be a little off key, and the timing may be a hair chaotic, but perfection is not our goal. Our goal is experience and confidence, and as all 9 of these campers left camp running to their parents with their CDs in hand asking if they could listen to it on the ride home, it was clear that they felt accomplished and proud of the music they created. And now, for your listening pleasure, here is “Camp is Fun” by the CIC Summer Camp (AKA Camp Cool Crew)! (lyrics below)

 

Camp is fun everyone gets to take a trip somewhere

We play some games you do the same, counselors are always there

 

Pass the time while we rhyme

With a friend while we grin

We ate some ful, that's Egyptian food

Went down the slide, it was a fun wet ride

 

Camp is fun everyone gets to take a trip somewhere

We play some games you do the same, counselors are always there

 

We walked on bones, we threw some stones

In the lake far away

We played some ball, the hoop was tall

We made a song that wasn't very long

 

Camp is fun everyone gets to take a trip somewhere

We play some games you do the same, counselors are always there

 

If you would like to contact us to tell us about an opportunity for A.M.O., have any questions, or would simply like to learn more about what we do feel free to contact Ben Leslie here: soleil14@sbcglobal.net

 

To learn more about the Center for Interfaith Cooperation visit their website here: http://www.centerforinterfaithcooperation.org/

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