As young adults, the thought of becoming a rock star is a common one. The roar of the crowd, the fame and the music are the stuff of dreams. The folks at Ted Brown Music Outreach, Ted Brown Music’s non-profit organization, have created a way to make that dream a reality with their Live It OutLoud program. This eight-week summer rock school provides an opportunity for kids 12 to 18 to understand a little bit about the music business, learn what it takes to be successful in the industry, and satisfy their desire to bring the house down.

Live It OutLoud began in 2011 as a means to fill a gap for an often overlooked group of young musicians. “We’re known as a band and orchestra store,” explains Ted Brown Music’s Marketing Manager Dave Guzman. “But what about all those kids that don’t like band or orchestra? They like rock music. They want to play in a band. So what can we do to help with that?”

Live It OutLoud
Live It OutLoud encourages students to play both original and cover songs. Photo credit: Courtesy of Live It OutLoud

Since then, Live It OutLoud had helped hundreds of young musicians find their niche in the music world and cater to those styles.

This year, the program has switched gears with their new Program Director, Jessica Lynne. Lynne is a Nashville Recording Artist, full-time musician and three-time veteran mentor of Live It OutLoud. She hopes to use her experience in the music industry to show students what having a career as a musician is all about. “Having been a mentor before,” she says, “I’ve had a lot of insight to how the program works. And when I was offered the position, I could add a good organizational approach to it and basically help lift it to a higher level. I thought that was a really exciting opportunity.”

Throughout the program, students are put into bands and paired with mentors, who are professional musicians in their own right. From there, each band is required to set their own practice schedule, and focus on their craft throughout the summer. Lynne explains that it’s a way to impress upon musicians what they have to do in order to be successful. “It’s not a camp in the sense that we have a scheduled daily routine for the kids,” she says. “Once they get put in a band and they meet their mentors, it’s up to the band and the mentor to kind of figure out how often they are rehearsing, when they are meeting. It’s seven days a week when it comes to practicing at home. They really have to buckle up.”

Ted Brown Tacoma
Musicians of all skill levels are welcome. Photo credit: Courtesy of Live It OutLoud

Picking mentors for this program is not a task taken lightly. “I wanted to make sure that the mentors I put in the program are not jaded by the music industry because a lot of musicians are,” explains Lynne. “They’re under the impression that it’s competitive. They’re under the impression it’s not a community, that it’s every person for themselves. So I wanted to make sure that they were still positively influencing these kids.”

During those eight weeks, students will also attend clinics with professional working musicians, such as Ben Smith from Heart, Lynn Sorenson from Bad Company, and Travis Larson of the Travis Larson Band.

There will also be four live student performances in venues throughout the South Sound, including Louie G’s in Fife, Jazzbones, Cheney Stadium and Point Ruston. These are all open to the public. At the end, there will be a final concert and Red Carpet Award Show at the Rialto Theater, where the students will get a chance to show all that they have accomplished in that time.

Finally, students will get hands-on experience in a recording studio. Each band will have a three-hour block to record their music at the London Bridge Studio in Shoreline, a studio where likes of Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Queensrÿche have recorded.

Live It OutLoud Ted Brown
Young adults get a chance to be real rock stars with Live It OutLoud. Photo credit: Courtesy of Live It OutLoud

The Live It OutLoud program is perfect for young adults who don’t fall into the usual sports and orchestra cliques. Jessica Lynne explains that by bringing these like-minded kids together, they have the capacity to break out of their shells and do something magnificent.

“What we saw was that a lot of these kids, the ones that play music at a pop or rock level, that don’t fit in all these other places, a lot of them are loners in school,” she says. “We did a focus group when I took over in January to get a gauge on what the kids felt and how they felt the program was going. One of the biggest things that I took away from that was that they all were pretty much loners in school and didn’t really have a place where they fit in. So one of the things they said that they got out of the program was confidence, friends and a sense of community. And a lot of them are in bands still.”

The 2017 Live It OutLoud program’s last day to register is June 1. Evaluations are set to begin June 3. The cost is $400 per student. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for those that require it. For more information about this and other programs hosted by the Ted Brown Music Outreach organization, go to http://www.tbmoutreach.org/programs.html.

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