Fundamental For the Fall
I hold summer camps every summer and have done so for well over 10 years. We have done improv, composition, rhythm, theory, blues, composers, partriotic themed and more. The possibilities are endless! My summer camps are not optional if a student wants to continue lessons in the Fall. Holding summer camps are the perfect solution to continue the needed income but also get that much needed summer break for teacher and student.
The Problem Solvers
I am in the process of nailing down my lesson plans for my camp in July but so far I have 5 themed classes that focus on problem areas such as note identification, rhythm, etc. I’m not mixing up concepts so the day I teach note identification, that is all I will teach using group movement games, a craft, tactile games, worksheets, and timed flashcards. My goal is to have fun with the children. I don’t have any snazzy names for the classes. They are what they are. Maybe next year I can look into renaming them?
What A Bunch of Animals
This year I am running a camp for 3-4 year olds using Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. This provides all kinds of craft and game ideas. We will move to the music as if we were that animal, and read books and sing songs on that theme. the camp will only be half days from 9am-12:30pm.
Now… For Starters
I held an introduction to music last summer by using “Carnival of the Animals” to demonstrate loud/soft, fast/slow, etc. Each day there was a different theme, and crafts, games, workbook, videos, new instruments to play and snacks were coordinated. I organized it by three age groups and it was well-received, though not as well-attended as I’d hoped. I plan to hold the camp this summer, with an update to the workbook. It was a LOT of work, but much fun!
The Great Outdoors
We took paper and crayons outside and drew what we ‘heard’. The kids had to listen to the sounds of the outdoors and translate that to something on paper. Some drew birds, some cars (we live near a road), some drew rainbows (that was interesting since it was sunny with NO clouds, but I was really impressed with the train of thoughts), a couple refused! Oh, well.
Time For the Olympics
I am not really doing this as a camp, but rather as part of summer lessons. To encourage students to take at least 8 lessons during the summer, I have set up 8 Music Olympic challenges. For each challenge they complete, they get to color in an Olympic ring or a bronze, silver or gold medal. Challenges are things like playing the correct scales for all your pieces, completing an online music theory game, learning a challenge piece (all have to do with the Olympics). Students can complete more than one challenge per week, but it’s designed to keep things fresh over the summer. Students that complete all 8 challenges receive a “gold” medal and a surprise (a gift card to Dairy Queen).
Last year was the first year we tried a piano prep camp for young students. We had a jungle adventure theme, and met one hour daily for a week. We had everyone together for teaching and rhythm activities, split into two groups for table time and keyboard time, and used LOTS of games to get the concepts across. We had such a blast that it inspired me to start quarterly group lessons for everyone in the studio.
Make a Splash!
I have not run a camp, but this summer i plan on buying a kiddie pool and putting ping pong balls or sponge balls with note values writtien on them. then i’ll time students to jump into the pool to find either, a note i’ve announced or copy a rhtyhm that i put infront of them.
Summer With Strauss
Composer study: Study a particular composer. Put on mini recital with themes from that composer, either composed or published. Take group to a concert of that composer.
An Idea Explosion
I haven’t done one yet but I have done some of the following ideas as workshops and group lessons. I hope to merge them into a summer camp this year. My camp would go something like this:
1. This would not necessarily be first but…I live by the beach, so I think using 2 hours of the day for some beach time would be a part of it 🙂 This could be adjusted to any location, you could go to a park, hike a trail, etc. Ask your students which elements in nature could be used to help us imagine musical expression…for example, a crashing wave could be forte, a chirping bird could be staccato, etc.
2. Then back at the studio you can play an expression game (which I got from another idea swap I believe!) in which the students guess the dynamics and touch for each other’s pieces to earn points.
3. Focus on a composer-watch a video, have them fill out a listening guide. Give a live performance of the composer. Arrange music by the composer for each level of student attending to learn. Have the older students help teach the younger ones their piece. Discuss the works and time period of the composer. At the end of the day, have a trivia game to see who remembers the most about the composer.
4. Choose games from 101 Music Games for Children, by Jerry Storms. A few of my student’s favorites are Symphony of Syllables and Tree of Sound.
5. Have each student bring 2 songs to perform-everyone has to give 1 positive comment after each performance.
This year we are doing a Composition Camp. Four people to a class and we are composing a Romantic Era composition using up to 20 measures. Four day camp and on Friday, all 5 classes will meet for a recital of the five songs written.