If your child enjoys music, you may be thinking about enrolling them in a music summer camp. This is a great way for them to get more exposure to music, to take lessons, and perhaps to play or sing with other young musicians. However, not all music camps are right for every child. Here are four tiers of interest and ability and the type of summer camp that goes with each one.
If your child has just started playing an instrument or singing, don't rush out to enroll them in a conservatory camp just yet (see below). Since your child isn't used to hours of playing at a time, it's probably best to select a camp where music is one of many sessions throughout the day. Music activities might include:
If your kid has been musically inclined for a few years now, the next level of summer music camp is probably appropriate. This is a camp where there are some music classes (group or private) and ensembles to play in but not a lot of pressure--the emphasis is still on music as strictly fun.
Music should be one of a number of different activities, including sports, and enrollment to this type of camp should be open. Instructors may be professional music teachers or advanced high school and college students.
Has your child demonstrated a serious commitment to music for at least the last four or five years? Do they play in multiple ensembles at school, take private lessons, and go on special music field trips? Perhaps they participate in statewide competitions or play in the city's youth symphony.
This is the child who is ready for a more rigorous summer music camp experience. Camp at this level should dedicate at least half the day to classes and rehearsals, with some time in the afternoon for recreation. Enrollment at this tier is often by audition only, which makes the experience more enriching to the student. Faculty members at this type of camp are usually professional music teachers, with youth counselors governing non-music activities.
Finally, for the child who is clearly an elite-level musician and who has aspirations of working as a professional in the field, the highest level of summer music camp is a must. Also filled by audition only, this top tier provides a conservatory-like atmosphere and may be affiliated with a year-round music academy, college, or symphony orchestra.
Instructors at this level should be collegiate faculty or professional performers in order to help your child reach their peak potential. Summer music camps at this strata should also afford students premium performance venues, like concert halls or bowls, with plenty of opportunities to play for the public. Your child's day should be almost exclusively devoted to music, but at this level, your child will probably be thrilled to put their focus on their favorite activity, soon hopefully, to become their vocation!
When I was diagnosed with a serious anxiety disorder, my therapist mentioned that music might be a great way to unwind for the day. She told me to pick some nice, soft, relaxing music and listen to it at night before I went to sleep. I was a little apprehensive to take her up on the advice, but after a few weeks I could tell that it was really working. I was able to calm down at the end of the day instead of letting my thoughts get the better of me. I have come a long way in my treatment, which is why I wanted to share my struggles with other people. Read here to learn how music might be able to help you.