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Des Moines Music Coalition's Summer Music Camps Go Virtual

Alyssa Leicht
Des Moines Music Coalition
The Des Moines Music Coalition has gone virtual with their youth music education programming this summer.

The Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC), the nonprofit organization behind 80/35 and other area music festivals, has taken their annual summer music camps online this year. Registration is now open for their virtual hip-hop and rock band camps for students across Iowa ages 11-18.

Jordan Mayland is the project coordinator for DMMC. He spoke with Iowa Public Radio about what aspiring young musicians can learn at the virtual summer camps.

Registration for DMMC’s virtual hip-hop and rock band summer camps are now open through the end of the June. Can you tell us a bit about what’s in store for potential virtual campers?

Credit Madeleine King / IPR File
IPR File
The Gen Z stage at 80/35 hosted performances by DMMC Summer Music Camp musicians in years' past.

 “We have the two different camps, a rock band and a hip-hop camp as well, so they’ll be at different times of the day. We’re looking at two to three hours daily working with professional musicians. We’ll be doing video conferences, sharing tips on all the behind-the-scenes of being in a band.

The students usually have a performance after the two weeks of camp, and they also get to play the 80/35 Gen Z stage. That’s always been something that’s really fun for them. But since we can’t do it this year, we’ll be focusing on songwriting and hope to record music with the students even from the safety of their homes.”

You mentioned that music industry professionals will be helping campers out at this virtual music camp. What music industry professionals will there be?

“We have just great musicians who are professionals. They’re all bringing different strengths. For example, we have Patrick Fleming, of Poison Control Center and Gloom Balloon; he’s toured the nation multiple times. We also have Chris English of the band English, and Dang Felton, who is a music instructor at City Voices.

On the hip-hop side of things, we have professionals like Juliano Dock. He’s a professional hip-hop artist and does great stuff and will continue to work with our hip-hop team leader, Dom Russell, a.k.a. Chill Mac. People from all different genres and backgrounds, just bringing something special.”

Do campers need to have musical knowledge or experience before signing up for summer camp?

The idea is to walk away with a recorded song that you contributed to, to get kids producing their own music and writing together. - Jordan Mayland

“No, not necessarily. This is an educational process. We have instrument sign-out options for the greater Des Moines area, so it’s a good opportunity to get your hands on an instrument and try out a guitar or keyboard. 

We’ll have music theory classes and webpages to go to that you can ise to learn how to play piano and help take that next step in the musical adventure. If someone really gets into the drums or programming beats or playing keyboard or producing, this is hopefully just an avenue for them to kind of explore that.”

By the end of summer camp, which will run from June 29 to July 9, what will campers be able to take away from their experience at hip-hop or rock band camp?

“Hopefully a bunch of knowledge, a start on a new instrument, and being able to work with professional musicians. The idea is to walk away with a recorded song that you contributed to, to get kids producing their own music and writing together."


Registration for DMMC's Summer Music Camps is $20 per student. Questions about the camps, including more information about full or partial camp scholarships, can be directed to Jordan Mayland at

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