Summer School/Camp

February 5, 2019, 5:46 AM · I run into a chance to sign up for a summer music camp this year (yeah, we are looking into the summer already when it is still February). I have no experience with any type of intensive music class/program before, so I wonder if anyone can tell me a bit about them.

I was searching at the old post at on this topic, and it seems like people do value the experience for summer camp. However, I just wonder if it is effective as a learning experience compare to just taking lesson normally and practising regularly? Or you learn different things in the camp? Also, how do you cope with 4 hours of morning session, 4 hours of evening session, then maybe a evening recital, on top of if you find time to practise a bit here and there? Ok, technically we have 24 hours a day. If you sleep 8 hours and say 2 hours for food/shower/chit-chat/etc, you can still practise/play for the rest 14 hours... but it is a bit physically and mentally draining?

Replies (8)

Edited: February 5, 2019, 6:48 AM · Serious music camps like Interlochen don't market themselves as day spas. It's not a vacation. It's an intensive, hands-on educational experience that's meant to combine master-class-level technical and musical instruction with an immersive experience (orchestra? chamber? faculty recitals?) that propels the student forward into another productive year back home. You also learn what the competition really looks like on a national or sometimes international level depending on the camp.

You wrote, "yeah, we are looking into the summer already when it is still February." I hope you're not too late.

Do students learn different things? Yes, definitely they do, but they (and their parents and their home teachers) have to approach it with a receptive attitude.

February 5, 2019, 8:05 AM · Most of the deadlines have already passed or are rapidly approaching for the intensive programs. (Being a nerd, I made a spreadsheet of them!) I'm not sure what types of programs you are looking for -- practice camp, orchestra camp, chamber camp, etc. -- but they are definitely worth it! You just need to find the one that fits your needs.
February 5, 2019, 9:27 AM · Thanks for the comment :)

The one that I am in the email list of is targeted for adult. As a result, it is nowhere as competitive as those "normal" music camp aiming for teenage/future music school students. Initially I thought it is just a mixed holiday and chamber music program (We do have these stuffs in Europe. I have even seen a wine and violin event, but I am not sure how drinking and violin playing go together). However, I asked one of the ex-participants about this camp, and she told me it can be quite intense unless you opt out of some sessions. It leads me to think this is a somewhat serious camp.

In my circumstances, frankly, I think I am too inexperienced in the instrument to do anything too hard core. If I dare to sign up, I will struggle the entire week. However, part of me was thinking that I really am getting old. While I can tell myself that someday when I am good enough I will do this and that, I would probably have died by the time I am ready. Maybe I should just let myself try different things and let it crash and burn. Of course, I still want to get some ideas on what aspect an intensive program is beneficial to my learning before doing anything too crazy. There are other alternatives to enjoy the summer.

February 5, 2019, 10:05 AM · Most adult camps have targeted levels. If you are a beginner, you should attend a camp aimed at beginners.

If you do not routinely play a lot, be careful of camps where you do hours and hours of playing. My experience is that intensive camp rehearsal schedules result in less-experienced and/or less-relaxed players encountering problems with tendinitis.

Edited: February 6, 2019, 12:11 AM · By the way, does anyone have a list of intensive, higher-level camps (of any type) open to adults? So far, the only one I'm aware of is the one in Victoria, BC -- I was planning to go to that one last year but ended up being busy moving over the summer. The lists I've been able to find seem to be either populated almost entirely with age-limited camps, or badly out of date...
Edited: February 6, 2019, 6:52 PM · The variety and intensity of a musical "vacation" can be extremely expanding because of both different teacher (or "master") exposure(s), and exposure to other learners. If you take it seriously and do all the work there that you can you may well take away learning and experiences that will touch the entirety of your future musical life.

If you do go to a thing like this you may expect to play for 6 to 8 hours per day and even add on some night-time free-lancing. If you have not done this kind of intense playing in the past (nor prepared for it) let me suggest that you bring along a new soft chamois cloth/rag from your local auto supply store or acquire a nice cotton chinrest cover (some people like the STRAD PAD).

February 6, 2019, 5:56 PM · What Lydia said about tendonitis may be true but that's not the only thing. You'll screw up your neck pretty well too if you try to play for hours when you're only accustomed to practicing 30-60 minutes per day at home. Especially if a lot of that rehearsal time is spent sitting because it's harder to play sitting down. At least for me.

I bet a lot of folks would love to see Susan's spreadsheet!

Andrew Hsieh, there have been threads on this in the past but there's Bennington, Brookline, Interlochen, Aebersold (jazz), New England Adult Music Camp (eclectic), Blair, Kinhaven, Music Northwest, Blue Lake, Austin, Kammermusik, and Vanderbilt to name a few.

February 7, 2019, 4:15 AM · All, thanks for the feedback. I come across a small list on Wikipedia titled "List of summer camp - Arts, Music, and Drama Camps". Then there is a list of Jazz camp and band camp. Here are the links.,_Music,_and_Drama_Camps

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