Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Tuesday, July 28. Day 2.
Well, I gotta say, I'm so freakin' happy with my band. It's unbelievable to me that 5 girls, ages 8-13 are so respectful and incredibly fair with each other. The decision-making process with that many adults is difficult, let alone with kids. But every day, I'm more and more impressed with these girls.

The group is made up of girls that you most likely wouldn't see hanging out together at school, for whatever reason. But there are no bullys in the band. No one is bossy, no one throws tantrums, no one is mean. I'm telling you, these girls are the best. Zoe is the vocalist. She's smart and extremely talented in that she writes and draws. The first day, she took pictures of her bandmates on her phone and that night drew their faces and brought the drawing to class for possible use as the band logo. Alexis is the guiarist and is prim, proper and very softspoken. You have to really get close to her to hear what she's saying. She's the quiet type that everyone wants to hear an opinion from cuz when she does talk, it's usually smart and well-thought out. She contributed to the song's topic on day one and got Zoe's juices flowing on the song lyrics. She may not be too loud in a group setting, but she's very effective in one-on-one relationships. Bella is our drummer and after her first lesson, she was constantly tapping out a beat with her drumsticks no matter where she was. She's enthusiastic and is the type of girl that gets along with everyone. Such a happy-go-lucky soul; reminds me of me on some level - the girl that just wants to laugh. Maggie May is the bassist with more experience on her instrument than the other girls. The first day, she came in looking very grunge, with a flannel shirt and skinny jeans. She kept to herself and didn't contribute at all in our first band meeting. But it wasn't in a moody i-can't-believe-i'm-in-this-stupid-band kind of way. She responded when spoken to and would give her vote when asked. She was quiet, but still engaged with the group. Sadie is our keyboardist and when she first came to the registration table, I noticed how easy it was for her to verbalize her emotions: "I am so nervous." She is incredibly bright and is also a great artist; drawing robots is her specialty. She certainly gets attached to ideas (think: milk & cheese), but does not hold onto them to the point of getting angry when no one else is interested. She can hold her own in a conversation and has a mature sense of humor.

So this morning, the girls had 2 full hours in instrument instruction. After that, the bands got together to learn about zine making and to make a page for a zine that is gonna get printed, copied and handed out to everyone. Being that each of the girls in Trouble at Midnight (TaM) seems to love art and immediately started creating their own, they will be contributing to the camp zine as well as creating 5 different pages for their band zine. Overacheivers, to be sure. After lunch, our loud practice was spent with the instruments learning to listen to the bass & drums for the beat and Zoe figuring out how to fit her already-written chorus into the music. So far, she had written the first verse as well as the chorus but was having a hard time hearing it with the music being played. That's OK. We've still got 3 1/2 days to get it down (gulp)!

We had an hour at the end of the afternoon in "soft" practice (no plugged-in instruments) to work on lyrics. Well, first Seth had get the band's agreement to hold off on discussing what to wear and how to do their hair for the showcase until after they've written lyrics and music to the song. Friday will be the day we hammer down those very important details of what the band is gonna look like onstage. For now, we need to finish the words to the song. So the instrumentalists heard the words to the one written verse for the first time and everyone liked it. The subject and direction of the song was identified and the girls set out to work on the lyrics. Again, as I've said many times...I am so impressed watching this process with these girls. Even Maggie May, on this second day, was completely into it. Every girl had a part in everything the band decided on. The unspoken rule was to vote on any decision, no matter how small (which likes & dislikes to put on their camp zine page, for instance), and the girls responded so well to the fairness of it all. Incredibly and perhaps subconsciously, they've completely created a safe environment for themselves in which to experess their thoughts and opinions, even when what they shared wasn't fully accepted. What an amazing feat for 5 girls to accomplish pretty much on their own!

So we had 20 minutes left and all we had left to write was the 3rd verse. We were definitely getting giddy at that point, and Sadie especially was less inclined to sit still and focus. I told them that if they got this done in 20 minutes, I'd give them a treat the next day. So we tried to refocus (I especially liked the part of trying to find a word that rhymes with feet. It's incredible how easy it was for me to revert to a 9-year old: how about, i gotta rock out before it starts to SLEET. or, why don't you just call me PETE. or, i was grooving down to the MEAT. don't make me sit on my SEAT...luckily it made the girls giggle!). But Sadie was focused a bit too much on this so-called treat I said I'd bring. I said how did she know it was gonna be candy? Maybe it was a banana. She frowned and seemed to turn back to the lyrics, disgusted that I would even consider a banana a treat. Low and behold, they finished it. And I'm proud to say KUDOS to the girls for creating the vision of a song and determining the structure and lyrics that completely fit that vision. With no fights, pouting or heartache at all. But rather with me and Seth's sarcastic humor and lots of giggling and random jokes from the girls. Geesh, I cannot wait to fit the song in with the music tomorrow! Progress.

1 comment:

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