I noticed from Medeski, Martin and Wood‘s latest newsletter that the Camp MMW application deadline has been extended because they didn’t have enough applicants. Hey musicians! This will be the experience of your life! Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. The tuition is well worth it.
I attended the first annual Camp MMW in 2008, and studied with John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood for 5 days. It was incredible to listen and learn from them, and also to listen and learn from the other amazing musicians that attended. I truly came away from the experience with a new outlook not only on music, but also simply on life itself. We studied rhythm, harmony, practicing, arranging, and soloing. We discussed history, culture, meditation, creativity, listening techniques, influences, and the physics of sound. We even talked about vintage keyboard mechanics and the sounds and qualities of different amps and pedals.
Every day there was an intimate performance with MMW – something you’d never experience at a concert with hundreds of people. To top it off, MMW brought in guests such as Steven Berstein, John Scofield and Marc Ribot for master classes and performances. Saying the days were packed was an understatement. I came away exhausted, but in the best way possible – I was physically tired, but filled with a new sense of creative energy and a positive outlook on the world. I felt like I discovered the real ‘me’, instead of the one that’s always busy with work and bogged down with other commitments.
One of the things that surprised me the most was how good their lectures were. I’ve sat in a lot of university classes and other lectures, and I’ve never experienced such good teaching. I didn’t expect this…because outside of the camp, I had never heard any of them speak. (They usually don’t do a lot of talking at their shows.) To find such down to earth and honest teachers is rare, and especially ones who don’t teach on a regular basis.
Finally – the jam sessions. It was so great to create music with other people with so many of the same influences as myself. With all the vintage keys you’d ever need, drum sets, and bass and guitar amps, you pretty much show up with nothing (except your horn or guitar if you don’t play keys or drums). I would urge you to bring a hand held recorder though. Re-listening to the jam sessions, concerts, and master classes is something you’ll want to do later.
So musicians, don’t let this opportunity pass. Imagine if 40 years ago, Miles Davis or Jimi Hendrix was putting on a camp and you could learn from those guys. I imagine 40 years from now, we’ll look back and say the same about Medeski, Martin and Wood.