Let the youth rock…at Real Rock Band
Forget pep band, symphonic orchestra, and jazz combos. Jared Creer wants to be in a rock band. He wants to shred on his white Ibanez JEM7 Steve Vai Series lead guitar. He wants to lay down a majestic solo like his rock icon Joe Satriani.
It’s summer vacation on a Wednesday afternoon and Jared’s band is rehearsing “Round and Round”, a cover of the song by the hard rock group Ratt. Thanks to Curt Gordon and Boothe Bros Music in Spanish Fork, Jared is learning how to rock.
“And we will teach rock and roll…to the world.” - Jack Black in “School of Rock”
The Real Rock Band summer program is a 13 week rock course organized by Gordon. Jared and his band are playing for their second year together in the program. Jared’s band is one of five bands participating this year, and the kids feel like real rockers. This year’s program kicked off this month and the band hasn’t decided on a name yet, though Fish and Chips was being considered seriously by the Jr. High aged band members. Fish and Chips are now rehearsing “Pork and Beans” by Weezer. Has a nice ring to it.
Tall, red-headed, wearing basketball shorts and tennis shoes, Jared doesn’t look like your average rocker. His passion though is guitar, as evidenced by his use of time. He tries to practice for a couple of hours a day and is in four separate rock bands.
He’s been playing for two years now, and admits that he is quitting the school jazz band this year. At Real Rock Band Jared gets to play music that he likes. His band is comprised of other teens with his same musical tastes, a band organizing process implemented by Gordon.
The program is designed for kids, ages 10-18. Gordon, as a musician and teacher, has a unique opportunity with these kids because the motivation and desire is already there; whereas in a normal Jr. High band it may not be. It doesn’t take much convincing to get a teenage boy to listen to a punk rock song as ‘homework’. Chances are he was listening to ‘Pork and Beans’ while he was doing his other homework anyway. When asked what kind of rocker skills he’s learned at Real Rock Band he simply says, “Timing.” Jared’s not a man of many words, he lets his axe do the talking.
The band gets to play on a real stage with a professional sound system. They practice on the Booth Bros Theater stage. The structure of the rehearsals is looser than a high school jazz band class, but it still allows Gordon to teach the kids technique, theory, and musicality. In fact, the band won’t be working on stage presence until they have their songs all tight. Once the parts sound good they can add some swagger and power stance to their performance.
Last year Jared played in two rock concerts, one annual concert at the end of the program and one show called Rocktoberfest. These kids get to rock their little socks off in front of a real live crowd every year, something normal local bands relish.
The local music scene will be affected by this in the coming years as these little rockers get older and start forming their own original groups; groups with more experience and rock knowledge than your average garage band. In 3-4 years we may be hearing some Fish and Chips.