Rock ‘n’ roll teaches kids music fundamentals

Monday, August 22, 2016

Article is from The Daily Courier

WILLIAMS — “Rock ‘n’ roll is not dead,” the 10-member band of Pacifica Garden children’s Rock Band Camp screamed into the mic with some help from a guitar, some banging on the drums and a touch of the keyboard.

For four days this summer, youngsters from around the Grants Pass area and beyond explored the fundamentals of song writing, rhythm and tempo, how to play an instrument and, most importantly, how to work together as a synchronized band.

“Music is so important because it teaches the kids to work as a team,” remarked the band’s teacher, Frankie Hernandez, lead singer of the local band The Frankie Hernandez Band.

With just a few days left before the kids perform their end-of-the-week performance, Hernandez was pleased with the band’s progress. Some kids had never even picked up an instrument before.

“They’re really becoming a band,” he said.

Pacifica Garden, an education-based nonprofit, is offering nine summer camps for kids this summer with an array of topics ranging from yoga, acting, martial arts, wildernesss and sewing.

At the organization’s studio in Williams, originally built by rock legend Steve Miller, the band sounded pretty good practicing with four singers, a drummer, a keyboardist, a bassist, a guitarist and, of course, a tambourine.

One of the singers, 9-year-old Kaya Breeze-Newman, said she developed more confidence in herself and in her ability to sing.

“It made my voice louder,” Kaya said. “I used to be afraid of singing on stage, but after I saw everyone else on stage I wasn’t afraid anymore.”

The education director for Pacifica, Vanessa Martinez, talked about the importance of exposing children to all types of disciplines at a young age and the importance of one-on-one teaching. The organization understands the financial struggles families living in poverty face.

“All students come to camp no matter their family situation. We’ll find the money to get them to the camp,” she said.

The cost to attend the camp is $150, but Pacifica fundraises throughout the year to offer scholarship money. The last three camps of the season, which focus on the practices of yoga, dramatic arts and sewing, have scholarship money available.

For more than 15 years, Pacifica has offered summer camps for children, and Martinez believes it has been inspiring children ever since.

“It inspires the kids to follow their dreams,” she said.

The next camp starts Aug. 15. For more information call or email Vanessa Martinez at 541-621-6278 and


Reach reporter Alex Madison at 541-474-3718 or