I am finishing up a wonderful week of teaching at the Eastern Music Camp at Eastern Illinois University. In addition to my duties as Assistant Director, I have been working with our middle and high school horn students in sectionals, masterclasses, and private lessons.
Besides having a great time with all the fun activities, the students make a remarkable amount of progress during their time on campus, and I believe part of this progress comes from the immersive environment they enjoy during the week. Perhaps the area that most of us think of when pondering immersive learning is language. There is a mountain of research in this area and many interesting articles can be found all over the web. One excellent example is this article published by the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota. This article discusses the possible benefits and challenges of using immersive learning techniques to study language, but many of these concepts can be correlated to music.
At this music camp I get to see each section of horns for two hours each day, one in the morning for masterclass and one in the afternoon for sectional work. This coupled with their time spent in rehearsals and other musical classes has resulted in some impressive results. In addition to their time spent with an instructor, I see students working with each other to conquer challenging passages, playing their favorite tunes for one another, and swapping their favorite musical YouTube videos, like this one. They are engaging with musical learning nearly all day, even when they do not realize it.
Musicians of all ages and abilities could benefit from an immersive experience like this one.There are hundreds of events designed for many different interest and ability levels, so with a little searching I’m sure you could find an experience that is exactly what you are looking for. Even if it’s only for a day or two, I’m sure it will have a big impact on your playing and your musical outlook in general.
Do some research and find 3-5 camps and/or workshops you might enjoy attending. As I mentioned earlier, there are programs for any amount of time and budget. If you need some ideas to get you started, I’ve listed a few links below directing you to quality camps I know of.
Woodland Chamber Music Workshop - for adult musicians of all levels (and I teach here!)
Scor! - Strings Camp for Adults
Summer Brass Festival and Institute - for more advanced brass players
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