Parlour Steps, Peak Performance Camp

In the latest installment of the Peak Performance Project saga, all the top 20 bands were required to attend a week long Boot Camp at the beautiful Rockridge Canyon Resort in Princeton. There would be 7 days of workshops, seminars, and classes on every subject an indie band could ever desire. Copyright law, social media marketing, licensing, songwriting, branding, working with agents and managers, it was all in one place, free for the taking. As an incredibly geeky person who adores learning and information and new ideas I was very excited about how this week might change me. There would also be live performances from all the bands at evening concerts after classes were done. These concerts would be adjudicated, but would not count towards the final score that would determine the prize winners.
Julie and I had a great drive to Rockridge Canyon. We settled into our room that we were sharing with all the other girl players, and then waited for the Parlour Steps gentlemen to arrive.

The setting was gorgeous. What a nice environment to think, practice, and learn in.

There was a hockey game after dinner the first night, faculty vs. musicians.

The next day, it was time to get to work. The week went by so quickly, and I took about 20 pages of notes in addition to the huge binder of materials and handouts we were all provided with. It was invigorating to be back in a music school environment. People practicing and rehearsing everywhere, debating the material covered in class, making new friends. I think I need to go back to school before I die. I just know I’d get so much more out of it than I did the first time around, when I was too young to really appreciate it.
Every night there was a show featuring 20 minute sets from 4 bands. Rockridge Canyon is a Christian owned facility, so there was no alcohol on site, and drinking/drug use was prohibited. Now that was an interesting setting to hear new music. Over 100 hard partying musicians aged 20-35 seated primly on chairs in rows in front of the stage drinking coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. It was actually way better than a bar. People weren’t yelling in each other’s faces and were paying complete attention to the music.
The last concert was a songwriting contest. Anybody could collaborate, and the song had to contain the words “last night”. There were some pretty great costumes.

It was an amazing week. I met some fantastic musicians, producers, lawyers, engineers, agents, and marketing gurus. All the new stuff I learned can be applied to my fledgling new project, which I think will be called OK Maira. I can’t wait to jump into it and spread all those new ideas around.
Julie and I drove back to Vancouver, and dissected the week completely. It was lovely to meet new people, and it was equally lovely to spend a week with Julie and enjoy a new deepening of our friendship. There was just enough time to shower, change, and re-pack before a rehearsal and then the drive to Seattle, where we’ll be playing at an enormous festival called Bumbershoot. Ah, the glamour of indie rock.