Our largest project at the Basement this summer has been shooting and editing a documentary. All of our daily activities and projects have been interspersed with filming, with teens exploring what its like on both sides of the camera. Little pink Flip Cameras float around the teen center capturing spontaneous moments of laughter, singing, shouting, and conversing. In addition, we interviewed teens and community members to find out their thoughts on Montpelier, school, culture, and life itself. Our aim is to start a conversation between youth and the rest of the community so the showing on Monday will be followed by a Q&A session with youth and staff from the Basement Teen Center.
Music is an integral part of afternoons at the Teen Center. I’m endlessly impressed by the musicianship displayed at the Teen Center. We see many accomplished guitarists, pianists, drummers and a few teens are fluid multi-instrumentalists. Some use their time at the Basement to learn new songs or techniques, either by teaching one another and jamming out together, or by watching youtube tutorials and figuring it out by ear. Watching the learning process is wonderful, but that initial never-touched-a-guitar hurdle can be tough to overcome, especially when surrounded by those who make it look so easy, like the guitar just plays itself in their hands! In the past few weeks, many teen center members have approached me, guitar in hand, exclaiming, “Show me something!” I love seeing the first time someone plays a chord, stretching their fingers into the contorted position for a C chord, and then the inevitable creases that form on soft fingertips. “I’m getting blisters!” someone exclaims. I assure them that they’ll soon get calluses.
The Basement now has a large, cardboard-and-marker chord chart on the wall, inviting anyone with a guitar in hand to contort their hands into the various positions and strum out some chords.