Young Santa Barbara students got a peek into the professional music industry and a hands-on music production experience on Tuesday.
Neve Greenwald, Katie Caballero, Abby White and Trevor Hurvitz had the opportunity to work with three on-board engineers for a one-day event of composing music, songwriting and digital production.
“This is a fun experience,” said Neve, 13. “I’m want to keep singing and playing the piano my whole life. I’m excited for this (opportunity).”
Their own song, “Oil and Water,” was inspired by the idea that like oil and water don't mix, certain people also don’t blend.
The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a mobile studio equipped with high definition audio and video production tools, ready-to-play instruments, microphone systems, professional level video recording equipment and a production facility.
The goal of the nonprofit program is to enrich young people across the county with the chance to use a digital media production workshop.
The selected four are among the students taking a performing arts class taught by Shannon Saleh.
This rare occasion allows the students to use the state-of-the-art recording studio equipment, said Donna Ronzone, director of visual and performing arts for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
“This will keep the kid’s creative juices flowing and the teachers,” Ronzone said. “We have wonderful music programs — but this gives the opportunity to see the technology that supports the audio and visual production of music.”
The musicians — three guitarists and a pianist/singer — began assembling their chord progressions and strumming their guitars in the morning, and planned to lay down an audio track by the afternoon.
The students also had the chance to collaborate with Grammy-nominated artist Amy Holland.
The pop rock singer, songwriter, composer and musician was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 1981 for her single How Do I Survive.
Holland mentored the songwriting and recording process inside the recording studio on wheels.
“I started around the age that they (the students) are, and it’s exciting to watch,” Holland said. “They are fresh and hungry for music. They are all talented.”
Along with a handful of supporters and contributors, Yoko Ono Lennon sponsors the bus named after her late husband, singer-songwriter and rock legend John Lennon.
Founded in 1998, the educational tour bus visits schools, music, education and technology conferences, events and partners with communities to call attention to the importance of the arts and digital media education, according to a news release.
The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus has visited more than 2,000 schools around the country and worked with more than 5 million students.
La Colina Junior High School was the only Santa Barbara County stop on the tour schedule this month. The others were in Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, Elk Grove, San Jose, Cupertino and Scotts Valley, CA.