So you’re going to summer harp camp – congratulations! But you (or your parents) are very likely paying $1000 or more for a week of camp. So you need to make sure that you make the most of your opportunity.
Here are 10 things you should do to make your camp experience worth every penny:
Two weeks or more before you leave for camp:
1. Get prepared. Practice any music you will be playing at camp. Review the packing lists from your camp carefully, and make sure you have everything you need. Don’t pack at the last minute – it’s easy to forget something crucial if you’re feeling rushed.
As you leave for camp:
2. Put on the right attitude. What is the right attitude? Basically a spirit of adventure and a friendly smile. These will go a long way to relieving any anxiousness you may be feeling, and toward establishing new friendships.
While you are at camp:
3. Make new friends. Camp friendships can be some of the most long-lasting. And with social media like Facebook to help you stay in touch, you can relive your camp days over and over again.
4. Ask questions. Remember that the new teachers or counselors you will meet are teachers or students at places you might want to consider for your future. They have information about colleges, scholarship possibilities, harp programs, etc. They may not be able to answer your questions at camp, but do ask if you can contact them afterward.
5. Discover. Be open to new repertoire you will learn or hear others play at camp. Make note of a piece or two that you would like to learn to play someday.
6. Listen. As you hear the other campers play and practice, you will find their perspectives and backgrounds may be different from your own. Pay attention to these differences and consider how they might be useful in your own work.
7. Play. You should leave harp camp feeling like you have played a lot. Summer camp is a great chance to put in some practice time that you might not be able to fit in during the school year.
8. Evaluate. As you listen to other harpists play, use your critical skills to discover something that you do well in your own playing. So often, we use our critical listening to discover flaws in others. Use that same power to assess your own strengths instead. You also may get feedback from the teachers or other campers that makes you think about your playing in a new way. You have unique strengths as a harpist; discover them.
9. Aspire. It’s easy to hear the excellence in a good performance. As you listen to a performance you admire, pick out a particular facet of that performance that you would like to model and incorporate into your own playing.
10. Dream. You probably have an idea of what you would like your harp future to look like. Somewhere in your camp experience, you should be able to find something new to add to your plan: a new college option, another teacher to have a coaching with, another idea of how to incorporate the harp into your life.
Review this list before you leave for camp to remind yourself of what you want to learn while you’re there. Then when you come home from camp, go through this list again, and see if you can write down next to each item something specific that you learned. You will find you not only had fun at camp, but you really got your money’s worth!
What was (or are you hoping will be) your biggest benefit from harp camp?