Jam Academy, a year-round music school in downtown Woodinville, recently shared its first Virtual Rock Band Showcase by students in the homeschool program.
Chris Griffin, founder of the music school, wanted to find a way for students to continue performing despite the pandemic. Without live concerts or in-person lessons, Jam Academy resorted to Zoom for rock bands to interact and practice.
“We fell into a rhythm of meeting for one hour a week on Zoom to rehearse, but it's very strange because everybody's muted,” said Aimee Beauchemin, homeschool director at the academy. “Nobody can actually hear anybody, but they can see each other playing.”
Beauchemin, who spearheaded the virtual showcase, said the students needed something to work toward. She manages three homeschool rock bands comprised of musicians between the ages of 9 and 17. Each band released two music videos on YouTube during the month of December, she noted.
Hard Drive, which encompasses four members between 13 and 17 years old, worked more independently to record, mix, edit and finalize their music video. The boys performed “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam and “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age.
LiLuNi is a younger all-girls group comprised of three members between the ages of 11 and 13. Much of their work is focused on softer rock and pop, such as “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey.
Homeschool Rock Band, a 10-person band with members aged 9 to17 years old, recorded “Back In Black” by AC/DC and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day. The three girls from LiLuNi also perform with this group, Beauchemin said.
Beauchemin said the kids use Soundtrap, which is an online portal for students to record themselves independently and collaborate with one another. With the older students, she noted, she set up a “guide track” within the application and let them take care of the rest.
“The kids have been so flexible during all of this, and we're all just kind of having to figure it out as we go,” she said. “Even the younger ones, who've never recorded a thing before, they learn so fast.”
With the younger bands, Beauchemin said the process was a little different. Most of the students record themselves on an iPad, laptop or whatever is available, she added, and each person’s musical experience is all over the place.
“It's actually been a blessing in disguise because we probably never would have recorded and made a music video,” she said, referring to COVID-19. “It's really cool that we got introduced to this other aspect of music.”
Beauchemin said the bands are currently focused on picking new songs to learn, although they plan to put out more music videos and recordings in the near future. The main goal is to keep the kids connected, she noted.
Jam Academy continues to offer music lessons and classes online during the pandemic. To learn more, visit www.jamacademy.com.