Coronavirus News: Grammy Camp goes virtual amid pandemic

NEWARK, New Jersey -- A different kind of summer camp was started last year by Newark's Grammy Museum Experience, designed to introduce young people aged 13 to 18 to the music business.

Now, it is being held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Attending can change the life of a teen performer, as 16-year-old Manhattan singer/songwriter Fallyn discovered last summer.

"It made me realize I can do this," she said. "They teach you so many cool tricks to it, and then working with people and they're like, 'Oh wow, that's good.' And, you're like, 'Oh I can totally do this.'"

Fallyn lives in Hell's Kitchen and attends the famed LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, and she says shes me that she gained a lot of self-confidence at Grammy Camp.

"In the beginning, I was more hesitant," she said. "And now after the camp, it just builds up my confidence in songwriting, and I do it a lot more."

Campers got to meet Shawn Mendes as he got ready to perform at Prudential Center, where the Grammy Museum is located. But it's has been closed since March, so the summer session will have to be a virtual experience.

Related: Grammy Museum offers podcast, free online programs amid pandemic

One of the teachers is Sheikia Norris, who performs as Purple Haze or simply Purple.

"I like this challenge, this opportunity," she said. "(The students) have to dig deeper to connect" and try to "deliver with such power that the screen is not a barrier."

But there are challenges to teaching this way.

"There are so many elements out of our control versus coming into the Grammy Museum," she said.

Also read: Summer movie meltdown as COVID shutdowns devastate box office

Hip-Hop depends on collaboration, and members of a live audience are active participants.

"So it's a challenge," she said. "But you know, for every challenge, there's another way for us to be innovative."

Norris mentioned an app called Acapella that eliminates the lag using video conferencing so that musicians can actually perform live simultaneously without the delay.

The means may be different, but the end goal remains the same -- to show young people how to amplify their voices.

There's still one more week to sign up for camp. Visit GrammyMuseumExp.org/2020/06/09/summer-session for more information.

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