THE BLOG
08/23/2013 03:48 pm ET Updated Oct 23, 2013

Born Digital, But Still Living in a Limited World?

The Three Ways the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus Can Change Your Kid's Life

 

2013-08-23-Lennonbusscreen.jpgThis is the generation of the World of Warcraft, where one's avatar can fly across the planet of Azeroth to take on death-defying challenges.  This is the generation of SpaceTeam, where players intuitively know how to operate techno-consoles of beeping and blinking buttons, switches, sliders and dials.

This generation is master of the virtual world.

The real world?  Not so much.  Yet.

Today the sense that life is excitingly full of possibilities, rarely survives in the places where students actually live.  Even those who dream big, rarely dream outside the box.  They are often just dreaming about larger boxes for themselves.2013-08-23-FilmingCardiacMoveLennonbussmall.jpg

But when the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus comes to town, not only "dreaming," but "doing" becomes more possible. 

Here are the top three ways that the bus is changing the lives of kids and young (and old) adults alike.

1. The bus helps those with musical talent take their skills to the next level.  Kids can do more than pretend on the Lennon bus.   And they don't have to have already "made it" to work in the bus's state-of-the-art audio, video and broadcast studios courtesy of many of the top companies in the world, including Apple, Sony, Avid and Gibson (guitars.)  The bus is accessible to just-starting singers as well as established acts.  It recently pulled into the palace grounds of the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and recorded a group of 13, who, in additional to all the usual instrumentation, included a small tuba, a trumpet, a trombone and a full-sized harp.  Said Brian Rothschild, the executive director of the bus, "I was moved to tears listening to their living, breathing music.  It was very much more than the sum of its parts."

2. The bus shows the youths who come onboard that they can play in the cutting-edge digital world for real.   On the bus when an act is performing, the Lennon engineers record the music and take footage for an in-studio music video.  But following that, the band is asked to keep on playing and those who only stood and watched are pressed into taking up one of the Sony still and video cameras to shoot footage, or pushed to work the joystick that controls the ceiling-mounted camera, or prompted to sit at the board and mix the sound. 2013-08-23-EllieoperatingcameraLennonbussmall.jpg Said high school graduate Ellie Mackenzie-Smith who took video close-ups of Cardiac Move (a group that played for Pope Francis on his trip to Brazil):  "This is the coolest thing I've ever done in my life."  Time spent on the bus proves that dream-worthy digital opportunities are not just virtual fantasies.  Being a sound engineer or a video editor may be (almost!) as cool as fighting Orcs.

3. The bus -- named after the man who sang "Come together" and "Imagine all the people living life in peace" -- demonstrates that making music is only one facet of what a musician or engineer should do with his or her life.  Those on the bus have a mission beyond making music and even beyond getting kids excited about all things digital, and that is to bring wonder, hope and inspiration to communities. Said Rothschild:  "For young people it can be startling to know that we on the bus don't just record music.  We are adults who think about peace and act for it."


2013-08-23-AnamikaoperatingcameraLennonbussmall.jpgSo do you want to change your life or those of your friends, students or children? 

Request the bus to come to your hometown in the United States or Europe.

The places the bus visit reinforce its tripartite missions of making music, educating about media and acting for peace. 

The bus's travel is, in essence,  always in an effort to aid individuals and communities raise their own voices, value their own creativity and search for solutions to local and global problems.

2013-08-23-LennontourbusandSchlosscrop.jpg

 

It wasn't an accident, therefore, when in late August, the European Lennon bus parked at Schloss Leopoldskron, the movie home of the von Trapp family singers in the Sound of Music, and the real home for the early 20th century theater impresario Max Reinhardt, a Jew, who had to flee when the Nazis appropriated the palace after their annexation of Austria in 1938.  Now the residence of the Salzburg Global Seminar, Schloss Leopoldskron has stood for over 60 years as a place where present and future leaders from across the world come together across divides to solve issues of global concern.

"It is fitting," said Rothschild, that the Lennon bus has come to Leopoldskron on its European tour.  "The mission of the bus and of the Salzburg Global Seminar are congruent.  It is impossible for me as a Jew not to recollect the Nazi shadow here, but this place is also witness to the ultimate triumph of good over evil.  The idea of the Lennon bus sitting in this location is that the bus is a messenger of peace.  We don't talk about peace with a heavy hand," said Rothschild, "but it comes out in all that we do."

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PHOTO CAPTIONS (top to bottom):

1. An engineer's console on the John Lennon Educational Tour bus.

2.  Engineers on the bus record and take video of the German band Cardiac Move.

3.  High school graduate Ellie Mackenzie-Smith concentrates as she learns how to operate a Sony video camera.

4.  Anamika Roy, an intern at the Salzburg Global Seminar and a recent graduate in broadcast journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park, said of her time on the bus that "getting to help shoot a music video was an incredible experience and made me further understand the depth and reach of visual storytelling -- and how that storytelling forwards the bus's mission to bring students together through music and media."

5.  The Lennon bus at Schloss Leopoldskron in Austria.  The bus's commitment to peace is underlined by its creation of Wish Trees wherever they go -- an inspiration of Yoko Ono's that invites people to write their personal wishes for peace and tie them to a tree branch.  At the Schloss a Wish "Tree" has just been started on the hedge next to the bus.