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Grammy Camp Helps Young Musicians Fine-Tune Skills

Aspiring young musicians attend a Los Angeles summer camp and get tips from music industry professionals
Aspiring young musicians attend a Los Angeles summer camp and get tips from music industry professionals

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How do aspiring stars break into the music business?  More than 100 young musicians at a recent summer camp got tips from music professionals, including teen star Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.  The annual program in Los Angeles is run by the people behind the music industry’s Grammy awards, and is part of the “Grammy in the Schools” project for U.S. high school students.

Jonas told the young musicians he has dreamed of performing since he was five or six years old.  He first appeared in Broadway musicals, and then became a pop sensation with his brothers.

Just 18 now and already a big star, the youngest member of the Jonas Brothers was just one of the music professionals sharing their insights into the business.

At the week-long camp, student musicians have a chance to perform while others -who want careers in music production- spend their days learning the technical side of the business.

Camper Ben LoPiccolo
Camper Ben LoPiccolo

Grammy camper Ben LoPiccolo is honing his skills in another part of the industry, as a music reporter.

“I found that I really enjoyed writing and telling people about music that I like to kind of expand their taste,” he said.

Grammy Foundation’s Kristen Madsen
Grammy Foundation’s Kristen Madsen

These teens hope to be part of an industry that is rapidly changing -- in large part, says the Grammy Foundation’s Kristen Madsen, because of social networking, on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“I would say that that’s probably the biggest theme that you can see, is watching the artists and the professionals come through and talk about, there are new ways and new roadmaps for kids to succeed in the music industry, and they have a lot more access to doing it themselves,” Madsen stated.

13-year-old Greyson Chance is a perfect example of that. He’s about to release his first album and told the other young musicians his career began with a music video posted on YouTube.

Nick Jonas, member of the Jonas Brothers band
Nick Jonas, member of the Jonas Brothers band

Nick Jonas says he and his two brothers first connected with fans on sites like Myspace, and still reach out through popular websites.

"Social media was incredibly important for my brothers and I at the beginning of our career and still is today," he explained. "With Twitter and YouTube and Facebook, there are so many instant ways to connect with your fans.”

Today’s music industry is mixing genres, and aspiring music producer Giovanni Quattrochi says it’s getting interesting.

“Especially with hip hop, there’s a lot of sampling of different genres of music," he noted. "And I think I’m excited to see where music is going to go.”

Music is also becoming international, says Elise Go, who hopes to become a songwriter.

“I’m also pretty excited.  I think it’s very cool.  I’m really interested in Korean and Asian-genre music.  It’s like Korean and Chinese pop music, and they’re using American influences in their music, and I feel that’s very cool to hear, a pop song you think you’d hear on the radio in America, in another language,” Go said.

Brian London plays keyboard for Lady Gaga
Brian London plays keyboard for Lady Gaga

Making it in music is not just about talent, says Brian London, who plays keyboard for such artists as Lady Gaga.  He tells the campers, it’s also about perseverance and hard work.

“Being a great player -- everybody’s a great player, so a lot of artists, management labels and music directors look at more than just being a great player in order to be hired for a gig,” he said.

These musicians say that, most of all, it takes a love of music to succeed in this exciting and evolving business.

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