Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer Music Camps

Summer for the Laughlin's tends to revolve around music
festivals and camps. This year is no exception, but we
will be leaning less toward the festivals (watching and
listening to music) and more to the camps (learning and
teaching music). Here's what's on our agenda for this

In July we're going to Sweetsmill outside of Fresno,
California. The camp has been going since the 60's but
this will be the first time for Pam and me. We have
heard so much about it, yet we really don't know what
to expect. So we'll report back from it.

More familiar to us is Lark Camp in the Mendocino
Woodlands of Northern California. This will be our
seventh (?) year of teaching and learning there. The
staff consists of experts in Celtic, Balkan, Americana,
swing jazz, and just about every type of ethnic music
you can imagine. Classes run all day for seven days,
and at any given hour of the day you have a choice of
about 20 different classes you can take. Total
beginners are welcomed and encouraged.

This year I will repeat my gypsy jazz guitar class and
my duties as piano accompanyist for the swing vocal
class. But I'm putting together a new piano class that
I'm pretty excited about. It's called "Piano
Accompaniment for Vocalists."

Wife Pam will be giving her workshop in elementary
jamming. When the classes are not in session, there are
dances and monster jam sessions. Tons of fun. Last I
heard there were still some openings which is very
unusual for this late in the year. More info at

Finally in September another new one for us. Again in a
beautiful spot in Northern California, this time by the
Russian River. Brazil Camp. We'll be participating in
samba, bossa nova, chorinho, dance, language and
culture classes. It goes for two weeks, but we'll just
be there for the first one, this time as students only,
not as teachers.

So we've picked up a couple new events, but then again
have had to let some others go. Not enought time to do
it all. But it just goes to show the richness,
abundance, and diversity of music instruction. And of
course none of that would happen without demand.

I know it's tough for music in many public school
districts right now. That's really too bad, and I don't
know what to do about that. But over all I would say
that demand and supply of music information is alive
and well.

Now here's a request. If you know of similar kinds of
opportunities for music instructional camps in other
parts of the country, leave a comment here so that
others can be made aware of them. And then I'd like to
see some feedback on these places if you have any first
hand knowledge of them.

And if you happen to be at one of the camps where we
are, please say hi.


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