One of the most important things for all bands to learn is how to chart the structure of the songs they are putting together. This is different for each level, and staff works differently based on the ability level of each band.
Young Rockers have their charts prepared for them by the instructors and begin to learn how to read the charts for their song, while they listen to the original recording and recognize the different sections. This can be very confusing at first, but staff helps each young musician understand how to listen to what their particular instrument is doing within each part of the song. Vocalists get lyric sheets and work with the rest of their band to understand how the lyrics fit with the rest of the instruments.
In Advanced Young Rockers, instructors start by having band members listen and identify introductions, verses, choruses, and bridges of their songs. The staff provides a chart for the first song, while explaining how it was developed, showing students how to look up chord charts, tab, sheet, and lyrics, as is appropriate for each member. Different students process music differently, so instructors try to individualize this as much as possible, with a goal of getting each student to learn how to do this for themselves.
By the Rockers level, students are supported in the development of their charts, but are expected to know how to do this themselves (unless they have just joined the program, in which case we work with them to get them up to speed). At this level, they are also taught how to prepare an overall chart for the band, which will serve as a guide both for rehearsals and for studio recording. Engineers in the studio will use these as reference tools to facilitate their work behind the boards.
This week, students also spent time picking a name for their band. This is always one of the most fun aspects of the beginning of each year. Over the past six years, bands have chosen such creative names as “Crazy Bob Dabbing the Block,” “Look Out for the Train,” and “The MetroGnomes.” Over the next several weeks, we’ll be featuring profiles of each of this year’s bands. Stay tuned to find out the band names they come up with, as well as fun facts about the band members!