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John Lennon bus pulls into Layton High to inspire students
by Becky Ginos
Jun 02, 2017 | 4467 views | 0 0 comments | 279 279 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Onboard engineer Gabe Smith (left) plays with students Jayden Antes and Noah George at Layton High.
Onboard engineer Gabe Smith (left) plays with students Jayden Antes and Noah George at Layton High.

LAYTON—There was loud music playing next to a big blue bus in the parking lot at Layton High School recently. It wasn’t a rock band – but almost. The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus made a stop at the school to give students a first-hand look at what it takes to make music.

The state-of-the-art mobile audio and HD video recording production facility tours around the country to give students an opportunity to participate in free digital media production workshops.

Steven Meloney, one of three onboard engineers, helps students learn to write, record and produce original songs and music videos. “We’re a not for profit organization that gives students a chance to create a digital project,” he said. “It exercises their creative muscles and exposes them to a number of production jobs they might not be aware of like editor, camera operator or photographer.”

The $2.5 million bus is on the road eight to 10 months out of the year, Meloney said. “We wake up in a different city every day. We hit every genre depending on what students are in to. We don’t do covers because half the project is writing an original song. The students write all the music, we just help them.”

Meloney and the other two engineers have music tech degrees from a university, he told the students. “You don’t have to get a degree to get a job, but if you want to get into music, it’s important that everyone you hang out with is in the music industry,” he said. “You have to immerse yourself in music and be persistent.”

Mostly they work with schools, but Meloney said sometimes they go to music conferences and events. They’ve even had some popular artists work with the students.

“It’s completely free for schools thanks to some incredibly generous donors such as Yamaha, Cannon, OWC and Juniper Network/Tek-Hut,” he said. “It’s our 20th anniversary. Most of us are in our mid-20s with a background in music. We can pretty much play everything. For a lot of the students, this is their first time in a professional recording studio.”

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