Rock On! Alumni Profile: Brendon Vincent

Brendon

This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Brendon Vincent, a bassist from the camp.

Brendon Vincent graduated from college last year and is currently working as a process engineer!

Here are some of the questions we asked him as well as his responses.

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What have you been up to?

So I graduated from UMass Amherst May 2015 and was hired to work for a plastics company in Rhode Island shortly after. I’ve been working on a couple personal music projects here and there but mostly as hobbies. I’m slowly trying to put together a solid recording studio but that’s definitely going to be longer term project.

What instrument(s) do you play?

Mostly upright and electric bass.

What years did you attend Rock On?

Oh jeez, uhh I think 2005-2013.

What were your roles at Rock On?

From 2005-2008ish I attended as a camper/student. Afterwards I acted as an intern/staff member. I assisted in the bass master class mostly lead by Jeff Link and would fill in for bands without bassists, which turns out to be a lot more than you’d expect.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

I have a couple hip hop/instrumental projects. I’m shooting to get down the basics of home recording and production so I can put together a place where friends can come to work on and record their music without having to worry about spending boatloads of cash.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

LUNCH. Just kidding, honestly it was a fantastic experience to be surrounded by musicians of all ages and technical levels working together in groups; seeing young musicians in a band setting for the first time is awesome.

Did you gain any new skills from attending Rock On?

I would say that without Rock On, my ability to work within a group of musicians and my listening skills would not have developed as well. Either that or when the time later came when these skills were necessary, picking them up would have been much more difficult.

What did you learn from your experience at Rock On?

Rock On was really cool for me because I went from a kid who could barely play bass to a person who had begun to follow it as a potential career path. One of the things I enjoyed most about my residency as a counselor was that I was able to work directly with students who were all very eager to learn. I even got to teach the bass masterclass a couple of times which was insanely fun. And even though I didn’t end up following through all the way to the end as a professional working musician, music has become an extremely important aspect of my life.

What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

The biggest thing is to have an open mind. I remember a lot of bands missing out on playing time due to conflict between music choices. Compromise is a large part of working within any kind of group. Once an atmosphere like that is established, you’d be surprised how much fun you can have playing music you don’t necessarily enjoy listening to. There’s always a learning experience somewhere!

Rock On! Alumni Profile: Brady Maroni

This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Brady Maroni, who started off as a guitarist at the camp.

Brady currently attends Pittsfield High School and is working as a dietary aide. Here are some of the questions that we asked him!

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What are you up to?

I’m a musician. I enjoy writing music and lyrics. I am currently trying out independent recording and putting my ideas into an actual project. I’m a very energetic person and it helps fuel my drive and passion for music.

What instrument(s) do you play?

I mainly play Guitar (Electric & Acoustic), Bass, Piano, and Drums. However, I play Ukulele, Mandolin, and the Harmonica. And I just started taking up the conch shell.

What years did you attend Rock On?

I think I started 2011 and continued to go. (2011-now)

What was your role at Rock On?

I mainly was a guitarist in many bands, but I played piano for some.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

I’m not in a full on band, but I do little projects with other people like playing at open mics.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed getting up in the morning and listening to all sorts of different people playing, different genres and such. I enjoyed working with other people and putting together songs in just a few days. It was a bit of a challenge, but who doesn’t like a challenge? Meeting new people and getting back together with familiar faces…those are the parts I enjoyed the most.

Did you gain any new knowledge or skill?

Of course. The most valuable skill you pick up at Rock On is the ability to work with other people, which is super important in music. I also learned a lot more about recording in the Sonar classes, which is very important to me.

What did you learn from your experience at Rock On?

I guess I learned that you really need to compromise with other people and that everything is not about you. It’s definitely about team work and that you need to adapt to fit everyone’s needs, as hard as it is. I also learned that Kashmir by Led Zeppelin is a ridiculously long song.

What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

Don’t be intimidated! I tried very hard to get my friend to come to Rock On camp and he was all afraid and said , “ohhh, I’m not gonna be as good as everyone else.” He finally came and was able to fit right in. He really enjoyed the whole experience. You should never be afraid that you are not at the same skill level as other people because working with other people can help you become a better musician.

We loved hearing Brady’s take on the Rock On camp experience! Keep your eyes peeled for more Alumni Profiles!

 

 

 

Rock On! Alumni Profile: Zev Jarret

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This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Zev Jarret, a saxophonist from the camp.

Zev is currently a student at Lenox Memorial High School. Here are some of the questions we asked him:

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you are up to?

I practice martial arts, take chess fairly seriously, and play a lot of music.

What instrument(s) do you play?

I play sax and guitar.

What years did you attend Rock On?

I attended Rock On from 2011-2015.

What was your role(s) at Rock On?

I was a student and intern at the camp last year.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

I play sax in Redshift (a jazz fusion band), play guitar in a rock group that is just now forming and doesn’t have a name yet, and play sax in various jazz groups.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

I really enjoyed the lessons.

Did you gain any new knowledge or skill?

The first year I attended Rock On was the year that I began to really grow as a musician. On top of all of the things I was taught, just being around teachers of such a high caliber gave a lot of transmission that spurred my development.

What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

Don’t be afraid to mess up because that is what brings on development. If you’re practicing and you sound good, you’re doing it wrong.

It was great catching up with Zev! Keep checking the Rock On workshop blog for more alumni profiles!

 

 

Rock On! Alumni Profile: Tyler Shaw

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This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Tyler Shaw, a bassist from the camp.

Tyler has just graduated from high school and will be attending Berkshire Community College in the fall for music industry. This year, he was a intern at the Rock On camp.

Here are some of the questions we asked Tyler as well as his responses!

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What are you up too?

I just graduated from Drury High School. I’ve worked in a lot of the productions there and I plan go to college for music with a focus on the electric bass.

What instrument(s) do you play?

Bass/Guitar

What years did you attend Rock On?

2013/2014

What was your role at Rock On?

I was a student guitar player.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

Yes, I play bass in a rock band called Maple Cap.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

I really enjoyed interacting closely with musicians from all over the county. The teachers and professionals that were there were incredibly helpful and fun to work with.

Did you gain any new knowledge or skill?

Every time I went I learned something new.

What did you learn from your experience at Rock On?

Working with new people can be challenging, but you get what you put in.

What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

Try as much as possible. Opportunity is waiting.

It was great catching up with Tyler! Stay tuned to the Rock On workshop for more alumni profiles!

Rock On! Alumni Profile: Samuel Clemens

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This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Samuel Clemens, a vocalist and guitarist from the camp.

Samuel is currently a student at Sarah Lawrence College.

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What are you up to?

I am spending the summer interning at ArtCube.nyc, a startup media company in NYC. I am also working as a contributing writer for The Reading Room, a book review and industry website.

What instrument(s) do you play?

I play the guitar.

What years did you attend Rock On?

I’m not sure of the specific years, but between 2008 and 2013.

What was your role(s) at Rock On?

I was primarily a lead vocalist for the bands I played in, but I played some guitar on the side.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

Not currently.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed meeting new people, creating awesome bands together, and performing at the end. I also loved the songwriting workshops.

Did you gain any new knowledge or skill?

I improved as a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and performer.

What did you learn from your experience at Rock On?

I learned that music can change lives.

What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

Learn as much as you can from the incredible faculty and don’t forget to have fun. Also, don’t expect Rock On! to be like the band camps in the movies.

It was great catching up with Samuel, stay tuned for more Rock On, alumni profiles!

Rock On! Alumni Profile: Jared Stalker

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This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Jared Stalker, who was a drummer at the camp.

Jared Stalker is currently studying screenwriting at Point Park University, in Pittsburgh PA.

Here are some of the questions we asked Jared:

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What are you up to?

Besides being a student, I play music with my band or am practicing, watching films, or writing/reading.

.What instrument(s) do you play?

I play the drums!

What years did you attend Rock On?

I believe I started going to “Rock On” in maybe 2010, or 2011 — somewhere around then. And, I think, my last year was 2013.

What was your role(s) at Rock On?

I was put into a bunch of wonderful bands with my time at “Rock On”, and for about a year or so, I played in the “Rock On Orchestra” or “ROO”, which was basically a group of people from the camp put into a band, and we played some cover songs and performed at a few Third Thursdays, and at The Colonial in Pittsfield.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

Yeah — I’m in a band now called “Brain Habits”, we have an EP out now called “Wasted Days”, and we’ll be releasing new material this summer, and traveling through the east coast playing shows.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

The parts I enjoyed the most were getting to meet new, and interesting musicians, and getting to make great music in, and outside of camp with them. You never know who you’re going to meet at the camp, and it’s great to try and play with as many different people as you can, and dabble into different genres.

Did you gain any new knowledge or skill?

I gained a lot of great knowledge, as a drummer and songwriter, a lot of great drumming rudiments, techniques, that sorta thing. As a songwriter, I think that I learned more appropriate ways of filling a song, and not overdoing a song, and sometimes putting in fills I wouldn’t normally use, then using the new techniques and incorporating them to my “drumming repertoire”.

What did you learn from your experience at Rock On?

I learned that, besides trying to play with as many people as you can, is that it’s all for the love of music. Everyone is there to feed off of each other, and encourage new skills, and relationships for the future. It’s okay if you think that your skill set isn’t up to par, because no musician believes they’re proficient in every way — and the camp is there to help you become more proficient with new skills.

.What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

For advice, I’d say go in with an open mind, want to learn, and have fun.

It was a blast catching up with Jared. Stay tuned to the Rock On Workshop blog to see what more of our alumni are up to!

Rock On! Alumni Profile: Yonaton Kaufman

Yonaton

This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Yonaton Kaufman, a guitarist from the camp.

Yonaton is currently a junior at Umass Amherst and is studying mechanical engineering. This year he will be teaching DJ mixing during the second week of the Rock On camp!

Here are some of the questions that we asked Yonaton:

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What are you up to?

This summer I’m working at Ramblewild, an aerial  adventure park down in Lanesborough. In my free time I have been producing a lot of electronic music using Ableton Live and DJ-ing whenever the opportunity arises. Other than that I’ve just been hanging out, playing basketball with friends, or going on hikes!

What instrument(s) do you play?

I play the guitar but have picked up a little bit of keyboard as well.

What years did you attend Rock On?

I attended Rock On for three years as a student from 2010-2012. Another year after 2012, I became an intern helping out here and there.

What was your role(s) at Rock On?

My role at rock on was a guitar player. I also helped set up different practice rooms and helped mentor a band one year as well.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

I currently have two projects. The first is a solo project called “Lowkey ish”. I recently just released my debut, self-titled EP on Bandcamp and Soundcloud with five original songs. Most of it is electronic, but I also incorporate a lot of live guitar and bass into every song as well. I perform as a DJ as well under that name. My other project is with my long time friend and music collaborator, Cam Burgess. Together we make the DJ duo Kosher Burgers. Our most notable gig was at this years sold out Umass Spring Concert.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

My favorite part of camp was the workshops. Some of those workshops included songwriting and recording. It allowed me access to different aspects of music that I had never given any thought to.

Did you gain any new knowledge or skill?

I gained some valuable introductory information on recording from the Rock On recording workshop. It prepared my band and I to later know what to expect when we went into a real studio and recorded our first song.

What did you learn from your experience at Rock On?

Rock on taught me so many things beyond just playing guitar. I learned how to work with bandmates as a group and not as individuals, I learned how much work goes into setting up a concert, and so many other useful things that you would never think you would need to know about live music and performing.

What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

My advice would be, stay open to all styles of music. It’s really the best way to become a good player because you learn so many techniques that you can apply anywhere. Also, learn from your peers! You are here to share knowledge and grow a community.

It was great catching up with Yonaton! Stay tuned to the Rock On workshop for more alumni profiles!

Rock On! Alumni Profile: Matthew Geyer

Matthew Geyer

This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Matthew Geyer, who started off as a guitarist at the camp.

Matthew Geyer is currently attending Vermont Technical College.

Here are some of the questions we asked Matthew Geyer and his responses.

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What have you been up to?

I do a lot of hiking and flying planes when I have the time/money. I love spending time outdoors and jamming with people.

What instrument(s) do you play?

I play guitar, bass guitar, a little bit of drums, and mandolin.

What years did you attend Rock On?

I can’t 100% remember the exact years I attended Rock On, but I think it was 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. and then I was an intern for 2014.

What was your role(s) at Rock On?

Mainly I played guitar/bass, but when I was an intern I worked one-on-one with a few kids, as well as helping to set up equipment and filling in wherever I was needed.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

I’m always writing music! I’m still involved with Petrichor, although we don’t have much of a chance to play much nowadays what with everyone involved in college and whatnot. Other than that, I toured with Crafter for a bit and filled in bass for them.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

I think it was just really nice to meet people with a lot of the same interests as me. I actually started the first band I was in with someone I met at the camp (Will Matica). I enjoyed how positive of an atmosphere it was, and how much I learned from working with interns/teachers.

Did you gain any new knowledge or skill?

Oh yes, definitely! I think it improved my playing drastically, especially just from being around so many talented musicians and being introduced to a myriad of new techniques/styles of music.

What did you learn from your experience at Rock On?

This goes kind of hand in hand with the previous question, but I learned a lot about being more open to music and taking inspiration from many different places.

What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

I would say to always expand your horizons. It’s easy to get backed into a corner with writing and performing if you only take inspiration from one specific place. Have an open mind and try to look for inspiration in everything, because you never know what you might learn!

It was great catching up with Matthew! Stay tuned as we catch up with plenty more alumni from the Rock On summer camp!

Rock On! Alumni Profile: Daniel White

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This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Daniel White, who was a vocalist at the camp.

Daniel White is currently attending Cambridge College.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you are up to.

I just graduated from Worcester State University with a double major in music and psychology with a theater minor. I am currently going to graduate school at Cambridge college for Mental health counseling. Later I will go on and get an expressive arts therapy certificate.

What instrument(s) do you play?

I am a vocalist.

What years did you attend Rock On?

I attended Rock On during their 2009 and 2010 seasons.

What was your role(s) at Rock On?

I was in multiple bands as a singer.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

I am a member of a local band called Petrichor, every one of us was part of Rock On as kids.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

I loved meeting everyone during camp. Community and networking is a great aspect of Rock On and it has continued to be a great piece to this day. This gave me a way to really be connected to the music community and have fun doing it. Sharing ideas and making music were pretty fantastic too.

Did you gain any new knowledge or skill?

I actually learned about harmony through Rock On. This is a skill that I use to this day and prefer over melody. The skills that I developed through Rock On were long lasting and have continued to be instrumental in my adult life.

What did you learn from your experience at Rock On?

I learned that I am not the only person around that has such a passion for music. If you look in the right places there are treasure troves of opportunity and connections all around us.

What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

Follow your heart and Rock On man!

It was great catching up with Daniel! Stay tuned as we catch up with plenty more alumni from the Rock On summer camp!

Rock On! Alumni Profile: Nathan Sears

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This summer, we are taking some time to catch up with former students from the Rock On! band camp. “Rock On Workshop in the Berkshires is a summer rock music workshop for students and young adults.  Our mission is to provide a platform for aspiring musicians to work with professionals in a supportive environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and performance.” We caught up with Nathan Sears, a bassist from the camp.

Nathan is currently a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering at Union College.

Here are some of the questions we asked Nathan:

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What are you up to?

I am just finishing up my sophomore year at Union. Aside from work, music definitely takes precedence in my day to day routine. Whether it’s a band here at school or back home I make sure to playing music every week, if not every day.

What instrument(s) do you play?

    I play bass in most of the groups I’m in. Otherwise I play alto saxophone in most school-related groups, and have played tenor and soprano saxophone in the past. I also play guitar on the side.

What years did you attend Rock On?

I believe I attended Rock On starting the summer after sixth grade and continued attending until my senior year of high school.

What was your role(s) at Rock On?

I started off attending Rock On as a camper and after a few years of getting to know everyone really well and becoming fairly integrated with all the program had to offer, I had the valuable experience of becoming an intern.

Are you currently in a band and/or working on any projects?

Back home in the Berkshires, I am currently in a band, Petrichor. It is comprised of many musicians who also attended Rock On. We are excited that we just came out with our first album, which is the culmination of 4 years of work. Here at school, I play sax in the jazz band and pep band and bass in the gospel choir. I have also recently started playing bass in a newly formed band called 8th Wonder.

What parts of camp did you enjoy the most?

 It’s hard to say what I enjoyed most at Rock On, however what I think sticks out the most were the concerts which the staff put on at the beginning of each day. I loved seeing the staff or guest artists showcase a style of music, while completely improvising. It was inspiring to see how much fun it looked like they were having while working so fluidly together, on top of the fact that the music always sounded great.

Did you gain any new knowledge or skill?

I certainly learned plenty from the instrument lessons and the band rehearsals. There was usually at least one thing each day: maybe it was breaking down a song into its elements and writing out the different parts for band practice, or it was suggestions I’d received about how to improvise over a certain song. Over the years the daily tricks and tips I learned from instructors and interns have greatly improved my playing.

What did you learn from your experience at Rock On?

I definitely had lots of valuable experience while at Rock On. In the daily instrument lessons, I was exposed to new music and learned from great mentors. During band rehearsals, I got to work with a new group of musicians, building a band from nothing and getting songs ready to perform in 4 days. Even just playing onstage in front of an audience was a great experience.

What would advice would you give to any new students at Rock On?

I think one of the biggest pieces of advice I’ve received is to not limit yourself to a genre of music. Rather than saying I only play *insert genre*, say you’ll play any genre. I love playing across genres, and especially at Rock On which brings together such a diverse selection of music, you can gain valuable experience playing or even listening to music you’re not normally exposed to. This has led me to be able to join lots of different groups, like here at school, where I can usually pick up new music fairly quickly despite the genre. The other largest piece of advice stems from seeing how both the interns and instructors acted towards each other. Having played with lots of different bands, I have without a doubt had the most fun, and the groups excelled the most when all the musicians were mutually respectful. This is one thing I witnessed among faculty at Rock On. Never mind skill, if everyone in a group treated everyone else well, it created an atmosphere that was much nicer to work in. In one sentence, I would advise new students to “play across genres” while showing mutual respect to everyone they work with.

It was great catching up with Nathan! Stay tuned as we catch up with plenty more alumni from the Rock On summer camp!

 

 

 

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