Last week I had the immense pleasure of working at Music for All, a fantastic organization that organizes a week-long Summer Symposium at Ball State University. The Symposium hosted 1600 kids (I'm pretty sure that's the number-- there were A LOT of students!) from across disciplines. Obviously I worked with the Orchestra division, but there was also band, marching band, drum line, and all kinds of other divisions I don't even know about. There's even a Director's Track, which is sort of a conference for high school music directors to learn from masters in the field.
In the orchestra, we had ten high-school violists. Most were from Indiana, but one was from Georgia and one from Ohio. Every single one of them was dedicated and hard-working and eager to learn and get better. We had daily coachings (which was the eleven of us standing around in a circle and playing viola together, with me teaching), as well as orchestra rehearsals. I sat amongst the students and played with them in orchestra, which was a lot of fun. The students participated in Leadership sessions and, as far as I understand, had a really good time at the camp.
It was also lots of fun spending time with the other coaches. I got to know people I've "bumped into" throughout my last years in Muncie, and because of the Symposium developed a stronger relationship with them. That's one of the best things about camp-- not only working with the students, but also getting to know other faculty. Here's a picture of the string faculty:
One of the best days of the camp for me (as well as the students, I imagine) was Thursday, when Time for Three worked with the students, and then the orchestra performed with them on two songs at the packed evening concert!! They're such exquisite musicians, and simply nice men too. I am more and more fond of the group every time I work with them.
More impressive than Time for Three, however, was the remarkable dedication of these young musicians I had the pleasure of working with all week. The Summer Symposium keeps the students incredibly busy, yet at every meeting, they were attentive, worked hard, gave it their all, and really, truly improved. The first day or two we trouble-shot passages and talked about playing the right notes and rhythms (they were given the music on the first day of camp, so there was no way to come prepared). By the end of the week, were were talking about bow strokes, articulation, matching sounds, style, and many more in-depth musical ideas, and the students soaked it all in!
It was an incredibly rewarding week, and I'm so honored to have been a part of it. Now I'm looking forward to teaching at the Benefic Chamber Music Camp, which takes place at the end of the month. Stay tuned!