Favorite Summer Camps
What were your favorite (relatively recent) summer camp experiences, either as a participant yourself, or as the parent or teacher of the participant?
So I might as well go first. My family and I have been absolutely delighted with Blue Ridge Suzuki Camp. It's a very open, welcoming camp (no auditions) but there are some great young musicians there, as well as quite a few skilled adult amateurs who attend, play quartets together, etc. The location is an old railway-era resort in Orkney Springs, Virginia and it's just a wonderful, safe environment for kids of all ages. Adults can actually participate on an ala-carte basis. I've participated in their Chamber Institute and I've done the Adult Master Classes too, both were great experiences. We end up going about every other year and my kids invariably come back inspired and with great stories of the fun they had.
The Idaho Orchestra Institute!
Doesn't anyone else have a favorite summer camp?
I am torn between California Summer Music and the European Union Youth Orchestra, as far as what I have attended is concerned. What I liked about CSM was that it was the emphasis on completing an entire work ( or more ) of chamber music and performing it, rather than just doing a couple of movements, or chamber music being an after thought in an orchestral program. Students also got to perform the works of the composition students who were there as well, and there were solo performance opportunities, with a few students getting to perform new works written by guest composers in residence specifically for the program.
My favourite is our local Victoria Conservatory of Music's summer string acedemy in Victoria, BC, Canada. The summer weather here is heavenly, the costs are quite affordable. We get private lessons, and piano coaching every other day, all of quite high quality. There will be masterclasses and chamber or solo coaching and final performance. You can do one week or two-week's string academy in July, and if you want more, there is a one week of string bootcamp, which is all about string techniques. Most attendees are young musicians range between 7 to mid-20s. There are a few adults each year. We Canadians are nice folks and we blend well with people of all ages and different backgrounds.
For adults, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Academy (BSO Academy) is a great experience that combines side-by-side orchestra, chamber orchestra, chamber music, masterclasses, and private lessons. I really loved the week that I spent there and the people that I met.
If anyone knows any summer camps/courses for 5 years old children, focussed on violin, and not suzuki? My son can not stand suzuki repertuar 1,2,3. "this music is ill, and makes my head ill". 4 is fine, but he is far from it.
K Ch you can look for an O'Connor camp. There are not nearly as many of them. The reason Suzuki camps work well is because kids come in knowing identical repertoire and they can have group classes around that.
I went to my first camp last summer, here in Sacramento: the CalCap Chamber Music Workshop. It's a very good repertoire survey, and they're really good at matching musicians to groups of similar ability and assigning interesting pieces. I enjoyed it and recommend it for anyone.
Andrew, I didn't know the new age limit they are imposing on the summer string academy in Victoria this year. This is wrong. I will look into it and get back. I am way over 27 and I am a regular attendee in the past. The new ageneration limit makes no sense to me.
The description for the Victoria program now explicitly says "young" players, too. I'm guessing they made a deliberate choice to exclude older players.
Only the string department imposes this age limit. Other departments such as piano and voice don't. I don't know how the strings can justify this change.
Yixi, are you in touch with anyone you have previously attended with who also enjoyed it as much as you? If so, maybe you can see if you can round up other older participants and all be particularly vocal about your opinion to relevant administration. Maybe even reach out to teachers that you liked and see if they can vouch on your behalf. There are no guarantees, but sometimes, being willing to be persistent and be the squeaky wheel goes a long way.
Ageism among string players and string teachers is one of my pet peeves. I've encountered it from both directions: being repeatedly told I was too old to ever learn to play passably when I was trying to find a teacher at beginner level, and encountering a sort of age-snobbery in two community orchestras where older string players acted like I was too young (in my mid-20s the first time, and in my 30s the second time) to know anything about classical music. I often feel like there's very little room for amateur string players between ages 22 and 60.
Lieschen, I'm in touch with the executive team right now to enquire into this matter. Victoria Conservatory of Music has always been providing the progressive and inter-generational learning for the community. There is some recent change but I'm cautiously optimistic that it will keep up with its progressive agenda. I know a few core faculty members who I can count on for support if it comes to it.
A quick update: just received a message from the head of the string department saying that he will reverse the decision and adults will be invited to enroll the Summer String Academy. As soon as the website has been updated, I'll register.
I'll repeat something that I started in my own discussion a little while back. I'll admit that I'm in the odd position of recommending something I actually haven't tried yet, myself. (Also, as in discussions in the past about violins, if I recommend something, it doesn't mean that I'm saying that others are not good.) But this festival seems to offer a couple of perks that maybe some other festivals don't: daily lessons and a vacation area in southern Italy - with enough free time to take advantage of it.
Raphael will you be having a Twinkle play-in?
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