About 1.5 years ago we started a club at Lebanon High School called Recording Club. We had interest from students, but not much else: very little equipment, no studio, no real vision for what we wanted to get out of it.
What we ended up with after a year and a half is a real contribution to our school’s culture. Here’s how we make it work:
We try to make this a regular event, and it’s free for anyone who wants to record. Rock bands, rappers, singer/songwriters, and many other acts sign up for this. Some are polished and ready to record and others are just dipping their toe in the water, so to speak. The main thing about these sessions is that they are FREE for the bands, and they get a free copy of their song. I dare you to find an independent studio offering that.
It’s difficult to answer the question “how many people are in recording club?” The answer could be anywhere from 10 to 40 students. There is what I would consider a “core” group of 5-10 students who show at almost every session in some capacity. Some students only come to rock acts, others are simply friends of a specific performer or band. The cool part about this is many students get to experience the recording studio, if only in passing. Again, it’s important to think of Recording Club as a service, rather than a business.
In many ways, the CD sale at the end of the year is a big part of both the after school club and the Music Tech program on the whole. We sell CDs of all the best sessions at lunch for $5. Many students enjoy the fact that we play the music very loudly during lunch. I think this adds a unique and personal element to the school culture, as students hear their peers over the speakers singing songs they wrote themselves.
As we end 2010 with our second sale, it feels good to know we pulled off another successful year of this grand experiment we call Recording Club. We’ve got some great plans for next year’s club, and I personally can’t wait to see how it turns out.