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How do I choose the right music camp for my kids

How do I choose the right music camp for my kids?

These days there are literally hundreds of choices for summer camps and usually

several dozen of those are music camps. From Girls Rock Camp, to Intro to Guitar, to

Advanced Chamber Music, how is the parent of a budding young musician to decide?

As the parent of an eager seven-year-old musician and a music teacher myself who

has taught at several different kinds music camps over the years, I know the

decision can be daunting.

Obviously the best place to start is with your child. For most parents I have talked

to this is where the whole idea came from in the first place: Johnny’s friend did

Rock Guitar Camp last year and loved it, Mikayla has always wanted to be in a

Broadway Musical and she heard they are auditioning for the Sound of Music at the

school down the street. Most camps have clear age and ability requirements as well,

add to this scheduling, location and price and it may seem that the decision is

practically made for us.

Or is it?

Surprisingly, the one variable that I rarely hear parents talking about in the pick-up

line at school is the quality of instruction. I understand that the primary goal for

most music camps is to entertain the children while parents are at work, keep them

from killing each other and, maybe, expose them to a little music along the way.

While this may be fine for many open activity, outdoorsy type camps, music study

entails many very refined skills in technique, the development of a good ear and a

knowledge of style. The difference between an excellent teacher and mediocre one

is the difference between a child who is motivated and capable of reaching their

potential and a child that is frustrated, bored or, worse, decides they don’t like

guitar (or piano, or singing or whatever) after all.

Before settling on a choice of music camp I would encourage parents to dig a little

deeper and check to see that the instructors have experience teaching young

children and, preferably, have gone to college to study music pedagogy. Teachers

who are certified by a national organization such as Suzuki teachers, or the Music

Teachers National Association also are more likely to have some music education

training.

Finally, make sure the camp is appropriate for your child’s ability. I remember a

budding young guitarist who, after one summer in which he found that he was so far

below the other musicians in the Chamber Music Camp, that he dropped out of

guitar completely. Consider if a camp that broadens your child’s interest such as a

World Music Camp or Improvisation Camp would be better or if they are ready to

take things to the next level with something more intensely focused on their

instrument.

Above all, try to find friends with first hand experience with the music camp. There

is nothing like a little inside information to cut through all the glossy marketing.

Klondike Steadman is a director at Orpheus Academy of Music in Austin TX.

Orpheus Academy of Music is an after-school music academy offering private

lessons and group classes in Guitar, Piano, Violin and Voice to students of all ages.

For more information please visit www.orpheusacademy.com

Dr. Steadman Owner

Orpheus Academy

Music Lessons in Austin, Texas with Piano, Guitar, Voice and Music Camps
Orpheus Academy 3918 Austin, TX 78731
(512) 231-8999
(512) 354-3922