Thursday, September 10, 2009

Letter from Summer Camp

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.

Music Camp was fun. The days went mostly like this.
Wake up...breakfast...take a one-hour class...take
another class...prepare to teach a class...teach the
class...lunch...break...accompany the vocal
class...teach another class...dinner...find people to
jam to bed by 1:30 (hopefully).

Repeat that routine for seven full days.

Notice there was a break in there. That was for a nap
sometimes. The rest of the time it was for playing

After a week of that routine it was total exhaustion
for us, so we rented a little cottage in Mendocino
where we could recuperate for the weekend. So what did
I do on my "day off?" I went and took a 90 minute piano

What is it about musicians? Are we all insane? All that
work, practice, study, rehearsing, learning. For what?
And the weird thing is, this insanity appears to be
universal. One thing that struck me when I was studying
anthropology in college is that all cultures have
music. Primitive, advanced, ancient, modern. Music is
one of the things that actually helps define what it
means to be a human.

And that point was emphasized at this camp inasmuch as
you could find classes in Irish music, Middle Eastern,
South American, Mexican, Balkan, African, Hawaiian,
French, Galician. You could learn to play marimba,
kalimba, hurdy gurdy, oud, bombast, ukulele, slack key
guitar, swing guitar, gypsy jazz guitar, piano,
accordion, fiddle, pandeiro, and every kind of bag pipe
imaginable. Plus you could learn all kinds of dances
from contra and square dance to hula and cajun, to
jitterbug and tango, to English country dances done to
bag pipes at 4 am.

Is that work or is that play? Is that a vacation or is
it professional development? Is it rational or is it
insanity? I don't know. But I'll tell you what it was.

This one was called Lark Camp. But there must be
hundreds of music camps for adults around the country
every summer. You might want to check one out this year
or next.


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