I was listening to the Vintage Modernists’ recently released CD, Cityscape, the other day. Suddenly it dawned on me that one of most riveting songs, Red Lodge, had the same name as a summer music program on MajoringInMusic.com’s page of Summer Music Camps & Music Programs. It was far from a coincidence — a member of the trio, Erik Miron, had attended the program when he was in high school. And it changed his life.
That’s what happens when high school students attend summer music programs. They transform. There are no distractions to keep them from diving into their music as there are during the school year.
You can look at any of the programs on the Summer Music Camps & Music Programs page and you’ll find faculty with highly impressive training and experience. Free from the demands of the academic and performance year they left behind, they are dedicated to mentoring and bringing the best out of their summer students.
The relaxed atmosphere of summer music camps and programs allows for connections that may be lifelong. The shared experience of what it is like to be serious about music allows for conversations that don’t take place in most high school band rooms or with everyday peers. When it comes time to apply for music schools, as many summer music students will eventually do, the friendships made in summer music camps and music programs will provide a strong support group for surviving the challenges of applying and auditioning. And those connections may end up leading to performance and other career opportunities later on.
Many of the summer music programs are located on breathtaking, wooded properties adjacent to fresh water lakes. Others are housed on college and university campuses to give students the added opportunity to taste what’s to come as well as to explore applying to those schools. Some take place on lush boarding school properties. It is not unheard of, in fact, for students to finish out high school at one of the arts-rich schools where they attended a summer music program. One thing all of the programs have in common is that music is everywhere. You can hear it wafting through the trees, you can see students practicing under a tree or in a corner of any building, you can watch an impromptu jam session most hours of the day.
It’s ideal to start thinking about summer programs by late fall of the year prior to when you want to attend. That gives plenty of time to find out about scholarships, to talk to students who have attended the programs you’re interested in, and to make sure you’re aware of application deadlines. That said, summer music programs don’t fill up as fast as they used to and are all over the map in terms of deadlines for applying. Check those deadlines but don’t stop there — call if something catches your eye and the stated deadline has passed. Ask about scholarships and merit awards if you need them. The opportunity to exponentially expand your musical abilities and worldview will hopefully help you move through all the details to get you where you want and deserve to be.