Dig Baton Rouge

Never Too Old

By Leslie D. Rose

Inconspicuously located behind a Pizza Hut on Government Street in Baton Rouge is the meeting place for the Adult Music Club. It’s where amateur adult musicians can learn instruments, share a few laughs and knock back some beer.

“I want everyone in Baton Rouge to start a band,” Hinson said. “The ultimate goal is to make Baton Rouge lousy with grown up bands.”

Facilitated by veteran musician David Hinson, The Adult Music Club was formed two and half years ago. Hinson’s love for music and extensive teaching and professional resume – which includes 25 years with the Baton Rouge Symphony and work for the East Baton Rouge Talented Music Program – is what lead him to create the Wednesday evening club.

“I’ve been around for a long time,” Hinson said. “All of that experience adds up to knowing lots of different people and lots of different musical circles.”

Hinson’s main instrument is the upright bass, but he also plays guitar, violin, cello and drums to the various genres of jazz, rock and funk – making him exceptionally skilled to mold budding musicians.
The club operates through word-of-mouth and a $15 per week membership fee. Now what started as one group of roughly six members is two groups of about ten people each split into beginner’s and intermediate levels.

The current members of The Adult Music Club began working with Hinson in January. The groups include people who have a very basic knowledge of a particular instrument to people who play regularly by themselves but haven’t done so in a group setting.

“Playing in a group requires a different kind of skill set,” Hinson said. “You have to play along with other people. You have to obey certain dynamics like how loud and how busy you might be playing and conform to a group.”

Hinson said that one of the main objectives of the club is to shape a group of people into an organized ensemble concept. In choosing songs to create that ensemble, Hinson said members suggest ideas – one of which was to learn the songs of an extremely popular rock band.

“We played a Beatles song, and everyone like instantly knew it,” Hinson said.

So on any given Wednesday evening the small, square room is filled with smiling faces becoming familiarized with the legendary band’s 1965 song “Ticket to Ride.”  While the various levels of musicianship feel their way through the song, Hinson moves about the room demonstrating notes and sounds, even humming through the melody to guide the class into perfect harmony.

They’re practicing the bevy of Beatles songs for a huge showcase on Aug. 9 at Chelsea’s Café. For some students, it will be their first show, for vocalist and guitarist Kelly Milam – a member of the beginner’s group – it’ll be a drop in a bucket of experience. She has been playing since she was in her early 20s, but has dedicated much of her career to being a vocalist – the guitar is still very new to her.

“I’ve taken guitar lessons before and they’re so boring,” Milam said of other adult music lessons. “One thing I think is so cool about Dave is that he makes it so fun and it is so obvious that he teaches kids. He can look around the room and easily tell if someone is struggling.”

But more than learning your own instrument, Hinson said everyone gets to play the drums.

“Here you were the drummer, you get the first sip,” he told a student while popping open the weekly bottle of wine to wrap up the beginner’s class as the intermediate level filed in for their Wednesday fun.

They’re studying Led Zeppelin for the Aug. 9 show.
“If the people are telling me what they really want to play then I’m gonna try to organize some tunes around that that’ll expand on that interest that they show,” Hinson said.

Hinson continued that his first ever group focused more on punk rock music. Out of that inaugural class was formed a band, The Rakers. Hinson said that The Rakers have really been a good example of what the group is all about because they were able to break away and start their own thing.

Alex V. Cook, a member of The Rakers, said being in a band is something he has always wanted to do, crediting Hinson with providing him the know-how to do it.

“We started here with the Music Club for a year, so Dave kind of said that it was time to start forming bands,” Cook said. “I always had an idea of a thinking man’s drinking band, so I’d written a couple of songs and we found a sound.”

Since forming, The Rakers have played some major Baton Rouge events including Fest For All.

The band is a living testament to Hinson’s mission with the Adult Music Club and it’s why he said he creates an avenue for his growing musicians to showcase at the end of each term.

“I don’t want this to be just casual music,” Hinson said. “I want this to be an experience where people play music together, but they’re doing it with a purpose.”

But his ultimate mission, however…

“I want everyone in Baton Rouge to start a band,” Hinson said. “The ultimate goal is to make Baton Rouge lousy with grown up bands.”

Adult Music Club Showcase
Aug. 9
8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Chelsea’s Café (small side)
2857 Perkins Road

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