High Schools That Rock offering free virtual guitar, ukulele camps for students

Image Source: MGN
Image Source: MGN(KALB)
Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 4:16 PM EDT
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, High Schools That Rock is offering free, virtual music camps for middle and high school students this summer.

Mark Doebrich, director and founder of High Schools That Rock, is hosting the lessons via Zoom. Doebrich recently met virtually with his advanced students, and he is hosting a beginner’s guitar camp next week, followed by a beginner’s ukulele camp the following week. The guitar camp will be held June 8 - 12, 8 A.M. - 12 P.M. Some students in the group play other instruments, as well, including drums, keyboard, and more. Doebrich said he may consider extending the camps through the summer.

Doebrich is the retired principal of Marietta Middle School, where he founded the organization. It started 20 years ago as a guitar club that met at the school for about 20 minutes each week during recess. It grew to include additional weekly meetings, as well as instruction on a number of instruments and at a range of levels of experience.

The students were scheduled to perform at the River City Blues Festival this year as well as the Relay for Life, but both events were canceled due to the pandemic. Doebrich said the Zoom classes provide students with an opportunity to continue to engage with music during the health crisis.

“The significance is keeping students interested in music. And they meet socially, albeit online, in a productive manner...For me it’s a great opportunity to extend what I love. I enjoy working with youth and I enjoy music,” Doebrich said.

He added that participation in music helps students build a number of skills that will be important later in life.

“Whether they go on and make it their career, or they just learn to appreciate music, I think that’s important…I think it’s essential. They can learn the basics, learn to have the confidence to get on stage in public...which is scary,” Doebrich said. “They’re with good people doing good things, working together, and those skills are transferable to anything you do. How to get along with people, how to work as a team,” Doebrich added.

For example, Doebrich told the story of one of his students, a high school guitarist, whom he said is typically fairly quite but grew his confidence when other students in the camp encouraged him to sing. The student has played at a number of live venues and achieved significant success as a musician during his time with High Schools That Rock.

Spaces are open in the upcoming guitar camp. Those interested in registering their students are asked to email Doebrich at gradearocknroll@gmail.com or text (740) 336-4183. To learn more about the organization, visit its Facebook page. Find that link under Related Links on the right side of this screen.