Camping Around L.A.

(The seventh annual GRAMMY Camp, produced by the GRAMMY Foundation from July 9–18, is a residential summer camp for high school students with a focus on providing hands-on instruction about careers in the music industry. For the first time ever, GRAMMY Camp will also be held in New York Aug. 2–8. will feature select blog entries from camp participants relating their firsthand experiences from this unique educational opportunity. To apply for GRAMMY Camp in 2012, click here.)

By Mia Lepp

After waiting five days for the much-anticipated GRAMMY Camp field trip, with students wondering where we were going and which celebrities we'd see, it was finally here. The mass exodus off the USC campus in downtown Los Angeles began on July 13 as the campers were split into three different groups to visit three L.A. landmarks — the GRAMMY Museum, The Village recording studio and IMAX's Santa Monica, Calif., headquarters.

As my group arrived at the GRAMMY Museum, we were greeted by a huge, vibrant mural on one wall that showcased different locations in Los Angeles. We split up into smaller groups and started to explore, traveling up to the fourth floor where the first thing I saw were actual GRAMMY Awards statues. Further back on the fourth floor, I saw the piece of paper on which lyrics to some of the Beatles' songs were originally written. Also on display were clothes worn by members of the band and their guitars.

"I'm a fan of the Beatles even more now," said Mia Lalanne, a student participating in the Electronic Music Production track. "I see what John Lennon has left behind and I think it is great to have a place like this to honor his work over the years."

While visiting the Roland Live exhibit on the GRAMMY Museum's third floor, we actually got to interact with instruments and play the drums and keyboards, remix our own versions of songs by the likes of Roy Orbison, and use the "amazing talking machine," which would play back whatever was said into it.

The third floor, which also displays outfits worn by the likes of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Rihanna, was a favorite among many campers. Jonathan Huggins, a participant in the Performance track, said, "My favorite part of the GRAMMY Museum has been seeing all of Michael Jackson's clothes." Maija Pinkins, also a Performance track participant, agreed. Before leaving the third floor of the Museum, we visited an area where we viewed video clips of past Latin GRAMMY Awards shows.

Following our visit to the GRAMMY Museum, we went over to Club Nokia where we got a backstage view of the dressing rooms, as well as a chance to step onto the stage. GRAMMY Campers didn't miss the chance to take the stage. "Club Nokia is so bomb," said Pinkins. "I hope one day I will make a show here and sell it out."

All three groups reunited at The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica where we all cheered on our GRAMMY Camp peers as some of them took the stage for a special performance of original songs written by the campers themselves. Campers performing included Sarah Lindstedt and Keri Pratner, Chase Kroesche and Christina Jones, and Bria Kelly and Victoria Pritchard. 

At the end of the day we all reconvened to compare notes and share our experiences. This field trip helped us to discover different parts of the music business, including how the legacies of artists are preserved and continue to live on. 

(Mia Lepp started to express her love for writing by turning composition books into chapter books. She joined the journalism class her freshman year of high school where she was able to write numerous articles. After journalism class she became more interested in how magazines work and the following summer she interned at a fashion magazine in her home country of Estonia.)

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