Daviess County musician Randy Lanham is giving children ages 8 to 12 a chance to do it all: learn to play, record a CD, even learn to square dance and more at Experience Bluegrass, July 21 to 25 at the International Bluegrass Museum, at 207 East Second St. in Owensboro.
"I call it Experience Bluegrass for a reason," Lanham said. "I want them to experience as many things having to do with bluegrass music as possible. The first thing we do is tour the museum, and I play them live bluegrass music with all the instruments and give them the history of each one. We cover the banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and bass. Then we write a song together, something to do with bluegrass music. Last year we wrote a song called Big Mon, which was Bill Monroe's nickname. I bring my portable recording studio in and we record the students singing the song they just wrote. I take it back to my main studio and add in tracks with accompaniment – bass, mandolin, fiddle, harmony, vocals, the whole deal. So at the end of the week they have an actual cd that they wrote and recorded. They love it."
Lanham said that many students enjoyed last year's music camp so much they have signed up for this year's camp. Lanham emphasizes that those involved do not need to own an instrument or have experience, just a desire to learn about bluegrass music.
"I like to break the class up, so we'll write a little while," Lanham said. "Then we'll work on our fiddle tune a little while. We're going to do musical art, where they do visual art while listening to Bill Monroe. We also teach them to square dance. Many people don't realize that Bill Monroe was a professional square dancer before he became a musician. On the last day, we'll have a little performance for family and friends. So they really get to experience bluegrass. Last year's response was great. They all loved it. Many signed up for our group lessons and performed with us at ROMP last week."
Photos provided by Randy Lanham
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