Even though it’s still snowing in some parts of the country, summer is truly just around the corner. For musicians and music students, that often means summer music festivals. Are your students planning to attend any music camps or festivals? Are you participating in any as a teacher?
This article addresses some of the factors which may influence a student’s choice of music festival. As the music teacher, you play a large role in helping your students decide which music festival is right for them.
What does your student want out of a summer experience?
Music Camp as Summer Camp
What kind of setting are your students looking for in a summer experience? Are they interested in going to a city where a program like NYU’s Summer Strings will allow them to be around all sorts of cultural offerings? Or are they more interested in a true summer camp experience with cabins and a lake and bonfires? If they prefer the more traditional rural setting, Interlochen’s Summer Arts Camp might be just the thing.
Solo Versus Ensemble Focus
Do you have a student who loves solo performing? Someone who is preparing for a specific competition or audition? Or does your student want to play with her peers and play in a big orchestra? This is another question that will help filter the summer music festival options. A program like the Philadelphia Music Festival’s Solo Performance Preparation Program might be what your soloist is looking for. In contrast, many universities and community orchestras will offer summer ensemble workshops. The Vivace Family Music Camp is an example of one of these orchestra programs that are perfect for students who want an orchestra experience in a friendly setting.
How old are your students? The age range of a particular program is also a consideration. Some programs are focused exclusively on teenagers or younger children, while other programs extend their accepted ages through college or beyond. If creating friendships with other kids their own age who are also interested in music is important to your student, be sure to check the program’s age range. For example, even though the Aspen Music Festival accepts teenagers to its summer programs, it is best suited to older music students.
Consider the Faculty
The summer music festival is often a place where students gather to learn from new teachers and get different feedback on their playing. For this reason, the specific teachers who are at each festival are often a draw for particular students. Considering the faculty is especially important if your student hopes to continue studying music in college. At advanced levels, university and conservatory professors often develop relationships with future students at summer programs, then hand picking or giving advantages to those students at university auditions. If there is a particular teacher you want your student to study with, encourage them to attend that teacher’s summer festival.
Summer music festivals can build life-long friends, provide leaps and bounds of progress on their instruments and expose them to new practices ideas and repertoire. But knowing what factors to consider ahead of time will make your student’s summer experience as rewarding as it can be.