Camp Amp is a non-profit community organization that provides training in music arts literacy and business skills for middle and high school youth in the Metro Detroit area. The program will form partnerships with local school districts and offer co-op opportunities as well as not-for-credit participation. Camp Amp’s goal is to expose young people to skills, training and knowledge that will afford them the foundation to pursue careers in music, business, and the business of music. Through the personal interaction with a world-renowned music artist and the other music celebrities he will draw, they will come to know music from the perspectives of, both, an artist and an entrepreneur.
Young people will learn musicianship, from song writing to music production. They will also learn that there is more to driving revenue in the music industry than performances and record sales. They will be taught how to produce and market apparel and other merchandise, a common activity in the music industry. This practical understanding will equip them with the knowledge of the behind-the-scenes activities in the music industry, as well as the keys to be successful in any business enterprise. Camp Amp has also identified an opportunity to connect with the national healthy food and local urban garden initiatives. Camp Amp will run a health food restaurant primarily supplied by urban and local growers. This aspect will not only expose the youth to careers as restaurateurs, but to the skills of preparing food with emphasis on a healthy lifestyle. Camp Amp is making an investment in the creative growth of the ‘whole person’ — arts, health and professional skills– in a critical developmental stage of life for youth.
Through repeated budget cuts to music and extra-curricular programs in schools, inner-city youth have lost structured outlets for creative expression and community involvement. Many area youth have reduced to unproductive and, sometimes, detrimental uses of their time while away from school. Camp Amp aims to fill this critical gap by offering a positive environment with training that is based on an enthusiastic passion for excellence. Camp Amp will be the beacon for the young and vibrant to unbridle their energy and curiosities in a productive way. Young people must be given a caring, inclusive learning environment that promotes character, self-assurance and self-respect. Camp Amp’s goal is to provide this environment, along with skills and knowledge that they will carry with them for a lifetime.
Camp Amp will focus initially on high school youths, eventually expanding to middle school aged students. The target age group is 11-18. The current enrollment of students in Detroit Public Schools is 66,000, and an additional 54,000 in Detroit Charter schools. In 2007, State of Michigan officials reported a 68 percent graduation rate for Detroit’s public schools. In 2008, it was reported that the high school graduation rate was 24.9 percent. These statistics show a need for supplementary programs to ensure a productive and positive future for our youth. There are many studies that point to the positive impact of music and music training on academic study habits and performance. These studies include ‘The Effects of Three Years of Piano Instruction on Children’s Cognitive Development’ and ‘Enhanced Learning of Proportional Math through Music Training’, both supporting a positive impact on learning.
Camp Amp will develop a world-class music curriculum for students to complete during after-school and summer programs. The curriculum will have oversight by a paid administrator and be facilitated by professional musicians, volunteer instructors, and a combination of paid and volunteer staff. The business components will be structured with college-level business school standards and principles. Of all the curriculum aspects of Camp Amp, the focal object of the music program will be the Conant Gardens Collection drum machine. Students will be provided with machines in-class and taught how to create and use recorded sounds to produce music. The drum machine is to be featured in all promotion activities associated with Camp Amp to drive excitement and interest in the program.
In time, Camp Amp will become the nationally and internationally renowned center for creative community uplift and development, a standout local attraction for Detroit and a model for creative and holistic learning that will be an invaluable resource to young people, aspiring musicians and entrepreneurs, and the community at large.