Favorite Summer Camps

March 20, 2018, 9:48 AM · What were your favorite (relatively recent) summer camp experiences, either as a participant yourself, or as the parent or teacher of the participant?

Replies (18)

Edited: March 20, 2018, 9:56 AM · 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.


March 20, 2018, 6:56 PM · The Idaho Orchestra Institute!

It's a week-long summer intensive in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho where skilled high schoolers/college students participate in a chamber orchestra.
Last year was the inaugural year, and we performed Schoenberg's Transfigured Night after a strenuous week.
This year, winds/percussion is going to be added into the mix and we're going to play Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

March 21, 2018, 12:33 PM · Doesn't anyone else have a favorite summer camp?
March 21, 2018, 7:40 PM · 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.

With EUYO, the best things were that it was truly international--students came from all European Union countries plus the US and Brazil. Additionally, the atmosphere was quite liberating, as we were not treated like prison inmates, and there were expectations on our ability to manage ourselves, and in my experience, this is something one rarely sees at camps, especially in the US. Instead, one often sees a frenzy of liability phobic administrators. Here there was no curfew, no restrictions on substances, no restrictions on intermingling of the sexes, no supervision really--even for underage students. You were entirely responsible for showing up to rehearsal, eating, sleeping, transportation ( but they payed for it ). Faculty and students often went to the bar together after rehearsal was done for the day. And the music did not in any way suffer for it. When you expect self-control, often people figure it out. When you don't, people act like they can't. The program was top notch.

Edited: March 21, 2018, 8:10 PM · 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 more information go to their site:
March 21, 2018, 8:34 PM · 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.
March 22, 2018, 1:13 PM · 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.
Edited: March 23, 2018, 4:23 AM · 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've often wondered why my daughter likes some pieces and not others. I suspect a lot of it has to do with having absorbed my comments and off-hand opinions over the years.

March 23, 2018, 5:25 AM · 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.

That said, I'd also be interested in something that involves more individual study, as I'm definitely pushing the limits of self-teaching at this point. The summer string academy in Victoria seems ideal, but it does have an age limit (no older than 28).

Edited: March 23, 2018, 8:46 AM · 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.
March 23, 2018, 9:09 AM · The description for the Victoria program now explicitly says "young" players, too. I'm guessing they made a deliberate choice to exclude older players.
March 23, 2018, 9:19 AM · 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.
March 23, 2018, 1:13 PM · 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.
March 23, 2018, 1:17 PM · 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.
Edited: March 23, 2018, 3:09 PM · 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.

Andrew, I hear ya. Ageism is nothing new. Like any kind of discrimination, I view them like bad intonation or poor practice habits, if we are not vigilant about them, they'll not disappear and they do no good to the world. I don't take this personally, as I don't think such policy or practice are intentional but they are usually made without being carefully thought through.

That said, some discriminations are reasonable and justified; that is, if it is required under special policy consideration with compelling reasons to justify them. (https://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/publications/bulletins_sheets_booklets/bulletins/Pages/when_is_discrim_body.aspx). If our conservatory has such compelling reason to justify its special policy consideration for this age-limiting practice. I'll be ok with that.

March 23, 2018, 7:17 PM · 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.

Andrew, thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! Hopefully, I'll see you in Victoria this summer? :)

Edited: March 26, 2018, 5:03 AM · 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 Klayman


Dear students and colleagues,

I have been invited to teach for 10 days at the Festival of the Gulf in San Marco di Castelabatte this coming August 17-26! Students would get daily private lessons with me. All levels are accepted, including beginners. Advanced students may perform and play in chamber music classes. There will also be plenty of time to relax and go on various tours, so this would really be a musical vacation and holiday!

My current students know what to expect from me. But daily lessons - with practicing! - should yield rapid advancement. Also, kindly note that this festival has no connection with the schools that I regularly teach at.

To my colleagues I would ask that you kindly consider sending interested students to study with me at this festival. It would be my privilege to supervise them without demanding any radical changes in their approach.

To all, kindly note the following: I will shortly give a link to extensive information about the festival. If you are possibly interested, please let both me and the contact person know - and tell the contact person that you heard about this from me and want to work with me. I have nothing whatsoever to do with the organization of this festival, so please address all such concerns to the contact person. But for any musical or violinistic questions, certainly ask me.

Here is a link to the festival. Within the link you can find the contact person, Kalin Ivanov. He is a fine cellist and a nice friendly gentleman. I look forward to hearing from you! http://bvartistsinternational.com/FestivalOfTheGulf%20-submenu-90.html

April 8, 2018, 6:44 PM · Raphael will you be having a Twinkle play-in?

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