Cary, NC – Rock and roll has gone from being just another style of music to the lifeblood of American culture. And this summer, one local music teacher is giving kids the opportunity to tap into that power.
Introduction to Music
Tom Teachout has taught music at Cary Elementary for eight years, with more than 20 years teaching music in general and more than 30 years of performing music professionally. And for the past four years has run a summer camp to teach rock and roll to local children. The camp, which Teachout said his wife came up with, takes anyone from kindergarteners to rising 6th graders and starts imbuing them with rock over the course of a week.
“We start off with the basics: simple rhythms, simple beats,” Teachout said. “If they can do that much, they’re smiling already.”
From there, Teachout said he works up to playing along and letting the students take advantage of the numerous instruments he has, with several keyboards, guitars, drum sets and now a child-sized bass guitar.
“With the last one, it took two kids to play the bass,” he said.
Importance of Rock
In addition to the music lessons, Teachout has students listen to rock and roll to get a sense for the genre.
“We listen to rock from right in the beginning,” he said. “It’s classics. They’ve probably heard some rock from their parents too because it’s timeless music.”
Teach out said rock and roll is a culmination of many different styles of music into one that has carries throughout the generations.
“It spans music because there is so much music theory but it’s also very performative. The performance aspect is important,” he said.
On top of that, as he has held the camp over the years, Teachout said he has noticed how kids get a feel for the music.
“Rock and roll has a lot of push. There’s not a lot on the down note,” he said. “It’s like there’s an arrow pointing to the next part of the song, getting you to anticipate what’s coming.”
Teachout’s camp runs three different times during the summer.
- June 13-17
- July 11-15
- August 8-12
All classes go from 9 AM to noon, except for the final class on Friday which goes until 1 PM for a pizza party with an award ceremony.
For more information on the camps, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Teachout directly at 919-564-6030.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Tom Teahcout and by Hal Goodtree.