Ah, the brisk and invigorating chill of winter – what better time to turn our thoughts to what summer has to offer? This recent Choral Director survey asked readers to weigh in on the latest trends in summer camps and workshops for both students and educators.
Unfortunately, 75 percent of responding readers indicate that “few” or “none” of their students attend vocal music camps and workshops. Meanwhile, 82 percent of educators in this poll attend camps and workshops for their own professional and musical development, where they gain exposure to new repertoire, camaraderie among like-minded people, and are able to learn new teaching techniques, among other potential benefits.
Even though only 18 percent of readers see major impact from camps and workshops translated into their school programs, few would deny the potential for growth and inspiration that many of these offerings provide. And yet, economic factors appear to be taking a toll, with a number of respondents pointing noting that a lack of funding is one of the primary reasons more students don’t attend.
Read on for the latest trends in these potentially stimulating, rejuvenating, eye-opening – and fun – summertime learning opportunities.
What proportion of your students attends summer vocal music camps and workshops?
“All members of both mixed and women’s varsity choir are required to attend camp.”
Sunnyvale High School
“[Camps and workshops] are prohibitive for most of my students because of cost. In our district, we do have an organization that provides scholarships to students who wish to attend a summer camp – there just isn’t enough money to go around.”
Susan F. Durham
Durant High School
Plant City, Fla.
“My students are so involved in other activities like church and sports that those tend to eat up their summer time.”
Vestavia Hills High School
Does your music program have an affiliation with a particular summer vocal music program?
What impact do summer choral music camps have on your school vocal ensembles?
“My students who attend the college music camp really sharpen their skills and therefore gain confidence and often become great leaders in our school choirs. The students who attend our own camp also gain skills and confidence, and they, too, become leaders. Both camps are definitely improving the quality of our school choirs and their numbers.”
Nancy M Kennedy
Warwick Veterans Memorial High School
“Camps are useful for students who come from school districts without a strong program, but they do not usually provide what the most accelerated student needs.”
Michael K. Lisi
Learwood Middle School
Avon Lake, Ohio
“The students who attend camps bring back an enthusiasm (not to mention improved skills and knowledge) that is infectious. This alone makes others want to attend the next year.”
Have you noticed any developing trends in summer vocal music camps over the past few years?
“There are fewer camps available, and we have to work harder to get students to come to a camp.”
Mount Airy Middle School
Mount Airy, N.C.
“They are getting shorter and more expensive. However, a lot of school districts in our area are hosting camps for their own kids, which takes down the population of the camps at universities.”
Normal Community High School
“They seem to be going more toward show or jazz choir camps.”
Central High School
Grand Junction, Colo.
“I have seen the typical movement toward pop culture and the idea that anyone can have a successful vocal music career without the requisite work and innate talent.”
Arts and Communication Magnet Academy
Do you typically attend vocal music workshops for your own professional development?
“As many as I can!”
Campbellsville High School
“Because they have some of the top choral clinicians, there is so much to learn from them.”
Marshall Butler, Jr.
Jesse O. Sanderson High School
What areas are benefitted most by these workshops?
“All of the above!”
Silver Lake Regional High School
“Incorporating applications of technology into the choral program.”
Prior Lake High School
“I thoroughly enjoy participating in vocal music camps. I become a student again and it helps me relate to what my students feel in the classroom. It stretches me as vocalist and allows me to engage in musical performance. I experience the challenge of learning choreography and the thrill of live performance.”
Eastern Wayne Middle School
Have you noticed any developing trends in summer workshops for educators?
“There are more reading sessions than just workshops for teachers to learn. They seem to be driven more and more by music publishers.”
Bixby High School
“Bring in big name conductors to model techniques and rep. Sometimes this is helpful and inspirational, depending on their experiences.”
Manchester High School West
“I have noticed that attendance is down which is unfortunate. I go every summer because I believe in clinics. We need to encourage more teachers to attend.”
Brenda Sue Holcombe
Carrollton High School
“There seems to be more of a variety of sessions given, although I wish there were more in the state of Virginia.”
Jones Magnet Middle School