For beginners and younger children, half-day to full-day camps
lasting a week or two are often best, program organizers say.
For older kids, particularly those with a higher level of
experience, sleepaway music camps _ many of which require an
audition tape—can be transformational. The value of these camps,
music educators say, is as much about the chance for students to
bond with other kids passionate about music as it is about the
intensive teaching and performance opportunities.
``Our major summer program is quite intensive and is really a
sampling of all that our undergraduate program has to offer.
It's five weeks long and is not at all a `dip your toe in the
water' sort of a summer camp,'' explains Oisin McAuley, director
of summer programs at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
``These are kids who are extremely serious about music and are
already preparing for careers in music,'' he says. ``At $9,000
(for tuition and housing), it's a very expensive program, but
the level of confidence they gain is extraordinary. They quickly
find they are among their own tribe, and they leave here knowing
that they have performed with some of the best musicians in the
world and can hold their own at that level.''
While Berklee does not require an audition tape, many advanced
summer music camps do. For priority selection, audition tapes
are generally expected by February or early March deadlines,
``although if we receive an application from a great double bass
player after that and we have room, we won't turn them away,''
says Janet Morris of Interlochen summer camps in
Interlochen Center for the Arts offers camps for kids who have
completed third grade through 12th grade, and all the camps are
sleepaway. Campers stay in cabins on two large lakes. That
rustic atmosphere is as much an attraction as the music
training, Morris says.
Interlochen camp ``majors'' include music, creative writing,
theatre, dance, motion picture arts and visual arts.
For younger kids and those who aren't as advanced or committed,
shorter music day camps ``can be a great chance to learn and to
improve,'' says McAuley, ``and also to get a better feel for how
interested you are about an instrument.''
``But if you're trying a music camp for the first time and have
any hesitation whatsoever, a shorter, less intensive music
summer camp may be a better choice,'' he says.
While Berklee's focus is on contemporary music genres, other
music summer camps specialize in classical, jazz, rock or folk,
and many offer a range of arts classes in addition to music.
``We offer four summer camps for kids of different ages. Three
are multidisciplinary arts camps, and there's also Fiddle Camp,
for 7- through 12-year-olds with experience on the fiddle,''
says Alicia Manson of Old Town School of Folk Music in
Chicago. All are day camps, and most are divided into two-week
sessions, she says.
``Every year around this time, parents ask about which music
camp is a better fit for their kids. It's a good thing to
consider, and an important conversation to have, because fiddle
camps, for example, are pretty intensive, and even if your child
has the necessary prerequisites under their belt, they may not
be ready or happy about that level of intensity,'' she said.
Area summer camps include: Toledo Symphony School of Music
Community College (Tri-C)
KATHERINE ROTH, Associated Press, contributed.