The UConn Drumline got out from behind their drums this week to help instruct young musicians at the annual Sounds of Summer camp.
One of only 39 schools selected for the Yamaha-sponsored program, UConn hosted more than 30 students in grades 7-12 at this hands-on percussion camp. Members of UConn’s Drumline worked alongside Yamaha clinicians Matt and Amy Savage to improve the participants’ technical skills and foster enthusiasm for music education.
“This is a great way to advance marching and percussion, educate the youth, and is great for recruiting,” said Drumline member and camp instructor Tyler Campbell ’14 (BUS, SFA). “We are able to teach the students the fundamentals. This gives them a base, and then they are prepared to audition for our band.”
This is the fourth year UConn has hosted Sounds of Summer, which took place June 25-26.
“We have a lot of members of the current Drumline who went to this camp,” said UConn drum major Jason Reider ’14 (CLAS), who helped coordinate the event. “It’s a great way to introduce kids to UConn.”
In addition to the Savages, UConn Drumline instructor Chris Horvat ’02 (BUS, ENG), and Norwalk High School director of bands Chris Rivera ’05 MA, worked as clinicians.The camp was organized and developed by the assistant director of the UConn Marching Band, Marvin McNeill, and service-based Greek organizations Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, which serve the UConn Marching Band, assisted with logistics and coordination.
“It is such a thrill to have these experts come to campus, and for us to be able to represent UConn,” said Reider.
This year, students from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island attended the camp at the Storrs campus. Yamaha provided curriculum materials that the staff used to deliver small-group instruction with personalized feedback to the participants.
“It’s been amazing,” said Tyree Marable, a sophomore bass drummer from Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford, Conn. “The UConn staff is awesome. Yamaha brings the techniques, and UConn brings the experience.”
After receiving instruction from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the participants spent time socializing with the UConn students and had a taste of on-campus living.
The clinicians used their knowledge to help participants become better drummers, but also recognized this as an opportunity to impact young lives.
“It’s not just about drumming,” said Matt Savage. “It’s also about teaching life skills through drumming. It’s about believing in yourself.
“It’s been great to be a part of Yamaha and the Sounds of Summer program,” he added. “We have the ability to reach out to foster music education, the arts, and life through the arts. Some kids are lost without music. It’s an honor to have a positive effect.”
UConn hopes to expand the program in the future, potentially adding days and increasing the number of participants.