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Friends 4Mulate fun and music in rock band

Group features talents of four young musicians
By: Teresa O'Hanlon, Placer Herald correspondent
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What happens when four middle school students who love to rock ‘n’ roll also happen to be best buds since elementary school?

It was perfect timing for Jacob Tipper, Devon Pique and Hunter Stewart of Rocklin and Nathan Ziegler of Roseville. Although all four boys come from different neighborhoods in and around Rocklin, they formed a bond as students at Rocklin Academy charter school and as musicians at UpRock Audio in Roseville. Once it was clear the boys had the dedication and discipline necessary to play as a group, Jacob’s dad, Larry Tipper, thought forming a band made sense.
 
“To be honest, before the band was formed Jacob just wasn’t practicing and was getting bored taking weekly one-on-one lessons,” noted Tipper, whose son has played the drums for six years. “Most parents know most kids would rather pick up a video game controller than an instrument. Music is not easy to play like ‘Rock Band’ makes it seem. When Jacob started with (the band) the boys made special friendships and looked forward to practice and gigs.”
 
After the young band found their sound, the next step was to invent an identity.
 
“I was randomly searching the Internet one day and I found the name,” said Stewart, who plays electric guitar. “I don’t know, we just liked it, and now 4Mulation is our name.”
 
The boys agreed their band is a formulation of musicians whose sounds blend rock favorites with alternative music and modern tunes. Vocalist and keyboard player Pique said playing live concerts has made him brave on stage.
 
“Being in a band at a young age has boosted my confidence and I know that I will never be scared to try new things and be in front of a crowd,” shared the eighth-grader.
 
Just a few years ago, pianist Ziegler had never plucked a string on the electric guitar, but when encouraged by his friends to expand his musical talents he became the bass backbone to 4Mulation.
 
“When they asked if I wanted to join the band, I had already played piano for six years,” said Ziegler, 13. “I found out I really like playing the bass guitar, especially when we’re playing rock and alternative music.”
 
4Mulation has played locally for two years, often showcasing their talents at church events, festivals and the Placer County Fair. Music teacher Gavin Roberts said the staying power of a middle school rock band is uncommon, but parent support has kept this union strong.
 
“Usually parents of 12-year-olds don’t have the extra room dedicated to a practice room, and that’s why I facilitate it at the music studio here,” said Roberts, who co-owns UpRock Audio. “This group has a super dad who is all about getting them out in front of people. I have different performance opportunities that I create for students when I have groups like this. I got them on Downtown Tuesday Nights last summer.”
 
Band members practice together at UpRock Audio once a week and also take private lessons. At a recent gig they learned how to set up their audio equipment in time for their performance. Drummer Tipper admits that while balancing band practice with homework and other chores takes much determination, his time with 4Mulation has given him a reason to focus on music.
 
“Once I’m finished with my education, my goal is for the band to stay together and become a professional band,” the seventh-grader shared. “It would be awesome for us to be as big as Metallica.”
 
4Mulation is in the process of writing their first original song, which they hope to finish by the holidays.
 
“I like writing music,” Ziegler shared. “You get to be really creative.”
 
4Mulation announces upcoming performances on Facebook. For information about group music lessons or studio recordings, visit www.uprockaudio.com or call 521-1779.