Knapton Musik Knotes, located at 2475 Milton Ave here in Janesville Wisconsin, isn’t your every day local music shop. Sure; you can buy guitars, pianos, violins, amps, and pretty much anything your musical little heart can imagine, but that’s just the tip of what Knapton Musik Knotes is all about. One effort was to host a unique staple for the community that is driving our music scene from the ground up. Brad calls it a Rock Camp, but the experience is so much more than that.
With schools cutting music programs all over the nation Knapton Musik Knotes steps up to fill the void with experience, patience, and excellence. At Knapton’s Rock Camp the kids get to learn to play their favorite instruments. Often, more than just one as Brad likes to allow the kids to learn as much as they are willing to take on. Some students have taken on several roles within the band learning guitar, drums, keyboards, bass, even singing a few of the songs. It’s all about partnership and fun with the Knapton Rock Camp groups.
For the teachers and the students alike there radiates a harmony of involvement within the Rock Camp and Knapton Musik Knotes. Every time I’ve been in the shop everyone takes the time to serve not only my needs as a musician, but get to know me as a person. As a community Brad feels we really need to stick together. And I couldn’t agree more. Which is why the students that attend the Rock Camp get more than just a musical education. They learn to play together as a band, offering not just music lessons, but lessons in life; how to get along with each other, settle disagreements, compromise, and share the spotlight. Sometimes that can be a difficult task, but the staff at Knapton handles it modestly, and with grace.
It all started from Brad’s experience at trade show conventions. Every half-hour or so a few of the shops take the opportunity to talk about some of the extra programs they offer. From lessons, to camps, or even just how they control their inventory. One of those shops talked about a summertime camp that offered music lessons as a group to young aspiring musicians.
“There was one shop that was talking about these camps that they did in the summer time… I just jotted down a bunch of ideas and started implementing some…”
When discussing the undertaking Brad makes it seem as simple as just opening the front door at the beginning of the work week. One of my favorite things about Knapton Musik Knotes is that everyone there is humble. They truly enjoy what they’re doing and do their best to make sure their customers do to. Which is likely why he was so excited about the idea of putting a camp together for his students.
“It really caught my attention. Putting all these kids together in a band format”
As well as offering individual lessons, Brad wanted to offer the community something more. Something he has enjoyed, and still does with his personal band Dem Horny Funkers. A 9-piece band that puts horns in the mix of funky modern covers. The experience to not only learn about the instruments, but to actually play in a band on stage is exactly what he wanted to share with his students. I don’t know any kid that hasn’t had the dream of becoming a star. What Knapton Musik Knotes offers is, essentially, a foot in the door to that very dream. A test run for your child’s dream of becoming a star.
He took an idea that brought together music students to form a fun, creative, outlet. But he could’t resist putting his own twist into the mix. One of the biggest differences between some of the other Rock Camps you may have heard about is the time-frame. Most camps offer an intense week long camp leading to one big performance where the kids get to show off what they’ve got. Being in bands and the music industry for quite a few years, Brad knows a thing or two about what it takes to put a show together. So he took the idea, and made it his own. Knapton Musik Knotes offers a two and a half to three month camp preparing for, not just one, but several large shows. At least 3, if not more. These aren’t small backyard venues for only family either. The Jefferson County Fair is one of the staple venues of the Knapton Musik Knotes Rock Camp, the Milton Fourth of July festival, and even a few local taverns.
“These kids have played on bigger stages, on bigger PA’s than I have!”
Brad, and Knapton Musik Knotes, takes great care in selecting venues for the performances as well. They want to ensure that each event is not only family friendly, but accessible and convenient. At the local tavern events, he likes to ensure it’s an establishment that dinner is available. This helps to keep the family friendly environment while allowing the band members and families the full experience of playing out as a real live band. As an added bonus, no one has to jam out on an empty stomach.
While preparing for the string of fantastic events the kids get the opportunity to learn their favorite songs, maybe even some they never heard of before, and float effortlessly without judgement between genres. But that’s just the beginning of the experience. The live shows have gained traction over the years attracting friends, family, and even fans. Yes, fans. The Rock Camp groups have even picked up fans that regularly attend the shows.
“I love how enthusiastic a lot of the kids are on stage. It’s like watching them open Christmas presents at every one of the gigs!” — Annette R., (self-proclaimed super fan)
Open to young wide-eyed, eager to learn children, all the way up to teenage dreamers the class is a must for anyone with that musician spark. Even if it’s just a small curiosity, it’s worth checking into if your kids love music. Some of the kids even go on to form bands of their own. No matter the outcome, or how long they continue, one thing is for sure; they all leave with a more than just a few wondrous experiences they will never forget.
If you, or you know someone that might be interested in helping out for the Knapton Musik Knotes Rock Camp they are always looking for the right people. However, anyone looking to help would need experience in music. A background in multiple instruments and working knowledge of how it all goes together is required. As well as a fun loving attitude and a desire to help turn curious faces into seasoned musicians.
— Joshua Crouse – Music Speaks Magazine