Young piano players who are still at an age that requires them to go to school have to juggle quite a lot into their schedule. Long school days with masses of homework take up big chunks of their time, and they often have extra courses and hobbies (sports etc) after school. If they would like to play and practice the piano for longer they often have to be extremely disciplined, well organized and motivated.
The summer break is a wonderful opportunity to tank up on the musical side of their lives. Away from school, kids are generally more relaxed, less stressed and they enjoy spending time doing the things that actually interest them. If the family isn't traveling, the summer is often when the kids spend more time practicing and playing the piano.
One way to boost the musical aspect of a piano student's life is by sending them to a music summer camp. When looking at various camps you will find some camps are tailored for especially highly gifted players, and others are for students who are happy to develop their musicality and take it a step forward. Most music camps require an audition video and musical bio of the applicants.
Going to a camp and meeting like minded people with the same interests is a great and inspiring experience. Some kids feel quite isolated in their interest in music and finding new friends (often from places far away), who are on the same wave length is very rewarding.
The summer camps for students aiming at becoming professional musicians (find one example here) have quite a lot of hours set aside for individual practice and private lessons. The participants perform regularly to one another, get chamber music coaching and attend master classes. Participants from all over the world are chosen and filtered after demanding auditions. This is where the next generation of soloists meets and networks.
Most music summer camps are somewhat more casual. (Here is one example)
Apart from the music making there are other activates and time set aside for socializing. Many camps offer choir singing for the instrumental players as part of the program: singing is an important skill every musician needs, and it is a wonderful community builder, requiring a minimum of equipment.
Students of mine who attended music summer camps came back motivated and inspired and viewed them as positive and enriching experiences.
Not only kids can go to summer music camps. There are also adults who choose to spend part of their holidays together with other piano learners and players, cultivating their hobby and love of music.
When you (or your kid) decide to participate in a summer music camp, it is good to plan it enough time in advance so you can prepare a few pieces. During the camp you will get lessons from teachers who don't know you and who will want to give you musical and technical guidance. You will be freer to receive new musical ideas if you are confident with your pieces.
Concert Pianist Rami Bar Niv runs music camps for adults twice a year in the USA and has given pianoways an interview you can read in the next post in two weeks time.
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