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Rolling Recording Studio Promotes Music Education In Carlsbad

— A small group of orchestra students from Chula Vista were among the first people Tuesday to climb aboard the long, blue tour bus idling outside the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad.

Aired 9/11/13 on KPBS News.

The Museum Of Making Music hosted a traveling recording studio Tuesday.

Ryan L'Esperance, producer and audio engineer on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, introduces students from the Community Opus Project to the bus' gear during a stop at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad Sept. 10, 2013.

Ryan L’Esperance, the producer and audio engineer who travels with The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, warmed the students up to the idea of improvising on instruments like drums, guitars and a keyboard that are part of this rolling recording studio.

“We help students write songs and make music videos for free," he told them before directing them to "go crazy" for a few minutes on their chosen instruments.

"Big arms, big arms," he shouted to the student playing the drums. "Keep going crazy."

The bus is all about giving children a creative outlet.

'We're really trying to create this outreach program that supports music education," L'Esperance said. "We want to give these kids access. We want to give them hands-on opportunities to create these projects.”

In addition to making music videos with groups of eight to 10 students, the bus staff also gives tours of the bus facilities, the instruments and recording equipment.

Vanessa Zepeda, 11, hopes more students can see what a big difference playing music can make to them. She said joining the Community Opus Project, a partnership between the San Diego Youth Symphony and several schools in Chula Vista, changed her life.

“I knew that for being in music, I had to be in school and I had to be on top," said the Otay Elementary student. "So, if I missed out on a day of school, that means I had to miss out on a day of music. So, it was really hard for me. But then, I got used to being in school and I really like school now.”

The bus stop in Carlsbad also kicked off a national series of forums sponsored by the National Association of Music Merchants on how to get kids playing more music in school.

Karen Childress-Evans, director of visual and performing arts programs for San Diego Unified, was one of the San Diego County educators who took part in the nationally webcast discussion. She said that after five years of dramatic budget cuts, it's an exciting time to be talking about the growth of music programs in San Diego County.

"Things are starting to pick up," she said. "Students have been wanting and clamoring for music instruction. That's never changed. But now, we're going to be able to accommodate their needs with more money, more funding."

Tuesday was the beginning of one of the nationwide tours the Lennon Bus has made every year for more than 15 years.

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