why summer camps are important to musicians

I know my families can zone out when I start talking about how wonderful summer camps and institutes are, mostly due to my inability to articulate the insane benefits. BUT THEY ARE IMPORTANT. To clear up any fogginess, here is are more succinct explanations:

Why Music Summer Camps are Vital to Student Growth:

  1. All students have FUN. Even the shy ones. Even the ones that think they aren’t good enough to hang with everyone in the ensemble, they all have fun.
  2. Your confidence will never be boosted until you find your little spot of the world in a music community. Rocking out in your room on the cello until 3am each morning can only go so far – if you have a fear of not measuring up to others the only way is to enroll in something like this and see you CAN HANG WITH EVERYONE. I don’t care if you started at 3 or 33, you fit in at a camp and bring something special to the table. (And to be honest, everyone is so much more concerned with how they sound/what they are doing no one has time to compare themselves to you. So calm down.)
  3. Your private cello teacher is amazing – I’m sure of it. But sometimes you need another teacher to say it in a different way and that one technique thing you have been working on for months FINALLY STICKS. This teacher is no better or worse than your teacher, you just needed it said from a fresh perspective.
  4. Teachers at camps are ridiculously fun. We pull out all the stops for these camps, and even I love to sit in on other teacher’s putting on the most elaborate song and dance for their classes.
  5. You hear amazing sounds being created, and that inspires you to try them as well. HUGE motivator.
  6. Private lessons are essential, but they need to be supported by group class. Having your student in a fun tech/rep class with other cellists having the time of their lives shows them they are a part of a community that values exactly what they do, and they are not the only 5 year-old cellists that thinks Happy Farmer is tricky (because they all think that until they get it.)
  7. Parents use this time to talk to other parents and exchange inspirational and hilarious tips! Other parents have been in your shoes – use them to your advantage as they truly want to help.
  8. OCMI has a teacher vs. student dodgeball tournament. ‘Nuf said.
  9. Students get to play music they would never otherwise see! OCMI 2015 is filled with video game music, so if you can’t respect using the theme of Zelda to get kids excited to practice, then I don’t know if we can be friends.
  10. Because your teacher knows you and what you need to grow, so do what your teacher says.

Me at campSo…go! You know it is worth it. Most camps have financial aid. And kids remember this family time you gave them, so reason #46: do it to look like a Super Parent!

Here is a photo of me in between classes at a camp last year. Those eyes are 60% camp adrenaline and 40% coffee. If you want to attend a camp that I teach at, visit OCMI 2015 at the Omaha Conservatory of Music in July!


memorable ocmi words

Teaching at the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s Institute is always one of the most magical weeks of the year. You can accomplish almost anything with enough hard work and passion, and you SEE the results within 7 days!

Dodgeball 2014

Of course it is massively fun too, and I thought I would share a few facts that I now know to be true from this week:

  • song of the Wind sounds like Baa Baa Blacksheep
  • don’t put frog (the animal) stickers on a bow – it is confusing
  • violinists have a LOT of viola joke
  • 6 year-olds talk a lot of smack about dodgeball, even after they get hit in the face
  • it is more likely that mom may let you have a chocolate cupcake if you refer to it only as a chocolate muffin
  • teaching masterclasses in a monotone voice to prove a point is really hard
  • you can alter a colleague’s reputation forever by referring to him as Dr. Banana once
  • some students realized that even if they are ok with boring playing I will never be
  • shock and awe works
  • 4 year old cellists can learn the beginnings of thumb position well

filling my brain

Institutes are informational and inspiring! Each day is is filled with such passionate students and off-the-wall (in a fantastic way) teachers that will try anything to get students to play with life and devotedly good tone.

I wish I had the time to post each day what I have experienced, and I do plan to share with you the highlights once my schedule calms down before I return to Omaha. I will leave you with my favorite moment of yesterday (a teacher dragging their student across the floor to show how the bow drags for Squire) and a picture of just a few of the goodies I have purchased for my studio to teach my beloved students back home: