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“Rock and Roll High”: The teen collective program at Burch Studio

Kathleen Cheng
Burch Studio is located in Downtown Ventura, Calif. It’s tucked away, and the entrance is lit with a LED sign. The studio provides a space for musicians to bond and create art together.

The music industry is ever-changing and in more recent years, there have been more young artists than ever. From Olivia Rodrigo to Tate Mcrae, younger artists are making their mark on the music industry and changing it for the better. Ventura, Calif.’s own Burch Studio is the perfect environment for nurturing these young talents and giving them a place to grow.

[Burch Studio] offers a lot of opportunities that I think I would never get without it.

— Vincent Steve Lopez '29

Burch Studio is a local recording studio, offering a teen collective program called “Rock and Roll High” for the young and upcoming artists of Ventura County. Run by Aaron Burch who started the studio in 2004, it has since had different incarnations and locations, currently being located in Downtown Ventura

As a teenager, Burch himself was in a band called The Good Cheer, which contributed to his passion for music. During his time in his band, he would get asked many questions by his peers about their desires for entering the music scene, and how to deal with its obstacles. This contributes to one of Burch’s main focuses in this program which is guiding students through the social aspects of being in a band. 

Burch stated, “I wanted to design a program that would help bands go through the entire creative part process, including becoming friends, playing shows, booking those shows and working out the sound.”

Kathleen Cheng

Figuring out how to find the right people and to weave together your music styles is just as fundamental to starting a successful band, as is learning music theory or songwriting.

A big part of being in a band and collaborating with others is figuring out the style of your band. Burch helps his students with this process by introducing them to all different genres and encouraging them to branch out in terms of experimenting with unique music techniques.

When referring to the band Cherry Coxe, Burch stated, “Pretty soon they’ll start recording their own music, taking the best things that they’ve found from each of those genres and creating their own style.”

There are many teen collective bands at this studio, all with different styles of music and dynamics. At Burch Studio, students learn to hone their creative skills and channel them into songwriting. Ruby Price ‘27 (Cherry Coxe band member) talked about how the program has impacted her interest in music, stating, “[The studio] definitely helps me define what music I like to play, [and] what music I like to write.”

Another band member of Cherry Coxe, Vincent Steve Lopez, a student of Balboa Middle School, described his interest in music after coming to Burch Studio by saying, “It’s gone from zero to 100 really fast.” This contributes to their passion for music by shaping it into something that they can easily use to collaborate with.

The art that gets created by a particular generation is what actually gets remembered.

— Aaron Burch

There are also skills that come with performing in a band. For example, Scata Rosengren ‘23, who is a member of The Temps, defined performing live as “like no other experience ever.” Performing live can help young musicians reach new audiences. Price states that the program has helped her with “social skills, just with performing and being on stage. It gets me much more comfortable with that.” Performing live prepares them for the future, as they can overcome the fear of being in front of a crowd, and it can grow their confidence.

Being a young and upcoming artist in this day and age can be tough for the aspiring musician, proving why it’s important to provide spaces like these which give teenagers a growing  environment to produce music and indulge in the creative process. Benjamin Garcia-Frank ‘25, who is in both The Temps and Purely Gray, claims that the program is “a really great stepping stone because, if it wasn’t for this program, I wouldn’t have met so many of the artists that I make music with.”

The program allows students to branch out, meet like-minded musicians and produce their own music. As Burch stated, “I very much think that providing a good, a good space for that to kind of happen is really cool. That’s why [were] doing what we’re doing.”

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About the Contributors
Audrey Szijj
Audrey Szijj, Writer
I'm a sophomore and a singer/songwriter/guitarist/pianist. Also I like strawberries.
Kathleen Cheng
Kathleen Cheng, Videographer
Videographer that loves Sanrio and re-watching the same show 10 times.

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