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Musically Minded offers winter break camps and classes for kids of all ages

on December 14, 2011

Musically Minded, Oakland’s non-profit music school, is holding a series of camps and workshops over the winter break for kids of all ages. The Rockridge academy, which opened early this year, triples as an education facility, community center, and concert venue. Music classes that will be offered this December include a hip-hop workshop and vocal ensemble, or glee club, sessions, and for the lovable but tone-deaf tots out there, there are workshops in topics like jewelry making and science.

The camps begin the week of December 19th—they vary in length, age requirement, and start around $50 per session per child. Some classes are taught by Musically Minded’s staff, and for others, outside organizations and teachers are stepping in to help out.

Mister Jahi, a local hip-hop artist, will lead a three-hour class called “Hip-Hop Music Workshop: The Clean Version,” giving kids an opportunity for personal expression through a crash course in hip-hop. The kids will write lyrics, learn about rhythm and beat-boxing, and discover how to use hip-hop not just as a lyrical tool but as a way to be a positive artistic force within their communities. (Jahi taught the same workshop at Musically Minded over Thanksgiving—see him in action in the above video.)

Alan Hall, a percussionist who teaches at Musically Minded year-round, will instruct a more advanced group of students on the idiosyncrasies of playing in groups, or “combos.” (Kids need a year or so of experience to sign up for this group.) Hall will unveil the coded language key to performing with a group on stage—a series of nods and gestures that, while invisible to the audience, make for a cohesive performance.

“The first hour will be exploring songs and ensemble skills and rhythmic skills,” says Musically Minded director Anna Orias. “Then [Hall] will teach them the rules you use to play. It’s a silent language that you’d never really see unless you are a musician. It’s actually this big thing you have to learn—you have to know who does what when. There’s all this etiquette.”

The school’s winter camps aren’t limited to just musical subjects—four outside organizations are also setting up shop to teach at the academy. Staffers from Mad Science, an educational organization out of Mt. Diablo, CA, will run hands-on workshops designed to make science more fun for kids. Mad Science will run two different classes: Creative Chemistry and Secret Agent Camp—the latter delves into the dark underbelly of detection, spy science and forensics.

For the visually artistic, San Francisco-based jewelry company Dragonfly Designs will hold a camp that blends yoga and kid-friendly jewelry-making techniques. Play Well TEKnologies, a Bay Area LEGO-centric educational program, will offer a Jedi Engineering camp. The weeklong camp that will show aspiring Jedi (what else?) how to engineer the necessary tools for their mission to defeat the Empire—they’ll build model planes, droids, and palaces inspired by a galaxy far, far away.

Finally, The Buddy Club, a decades-old family San Francisco institution that specializes in performances for children, is sponsoring a magic show and wizard’s workshop on December 20 for kids of any age. Magician Timothy James will perform first, and give away his secrets to his students immediately afterward. Orias has invited members of The Buddy Club to Musically Minded before, and says the performance was a huge hit. “They thought it was hilarious—everyone really enjoyed it,” she says. “My adult staff member said, ‘I totally would’ve paid for that magic show.’ And my 70-year-old stepfather wanted them to hire them for his birthday party.”

During the winter season, the academy will also offer a string of holiday performances and fundraisers featuring the school’s young pupils. For details on the shows and on the academy’s classes, check out their website.

1 Comment

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