Survey: Choral Camps & Workshops

SBO Staff • ChoralMarch 2014 • March 19, 2014

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In addition to travel, family vacations, outdoor adventures, rest, relaxation, and all manner of other activities that can be hard to coordinate during the school year, summer also presents numerous opportunities for enhanced musical study at vocal camps and workshops. Summer music camps come in all shapes and sizes, and workshops also offer great variety in subject matter, number of attendees, and intensity. While options might not be equally plentiful in every corner of the country, for those considering attending one, it’s still important to do some basic research into the amenities offered by each type of camp or workshop, as well as its potential pros and cons.

In this recent reader survey, vocal music educators weighed in on the factors most important to them and their students on the topic of choral camps and workshops.

What proportion of your choral students attends summer vocal camps and workshops?


Which opportunities at camps and workshops are most beneficial to attending students?


“These are all great reasons. I also believe that students need to meet other students from different parts of the country and/or world where they can share ideas, customs, and ideals.”

Andy Descoteaux
Lowell High School
Lowell, Mass.

“I would really like more students to take advantage of this amazing learning experience, however the unemployment rate in my county is still around 10 or 11 percent. The cost of any camp for a lot of students is prohibitive. Still, those that can attend get the opportunity to meet and socialize with students of different backgrounds. That is very important in today’s society.”

Bob Chilton
Mount Airy Middle School
Mount Airy, N.C.

Which style of music camps do you recommend for your students?


“The main emphasis is to keep them engaged during the summer so that they continue their musical growth. I find complete submersion is most beneficial in the long run. It is truly important to find out what each and every one of your students want to accomplish, not just during the summer but further down the road, whether it be musical and/or a career in the arts.”

Daniel Gregerman
Niles North High School
Skokie, Ill.

“Pedagogy must be appropriate for the student. Broadway music-type camps, although fun for the children, too often result in vocal fatigue and even damage. I recommend students study classical music – art songs – and sing in choral groups.”

Wilma Messenger
Todd Elementary School
Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

Does your school music program have an affiliation with a summer choral camp or workshop?


Have you worked at a choral camp or workshop?


If yes, what are the primary benefits for you working there?


What are the most important criteria to consider when students are looking at a vocal music camp or workshop?

“The most important factor for me is the faculty of the camp. The skills the clinicians have directly affects the learning of my students. Also, just because a camp is expensive doesn’t mean the camp is automatically a quality camp. Look at who the instructors are.”

Susan Durham
Durant High School
Plant City, Fla.

“Educators, parents, and students considering camps should beware of teachers who try to push techniques for which the students are not physically ready.”

Carolyn Dwyer
Peek’s Chapel Elementary School
Conyers, Ga.

“The quality of instruction and getting the most from the opportunities available. Look into the camp’s reputation among your colleagues and look at the quality of its music faculty.”

Thomas Blue
Rochester Adams High School
Rochester Hills, Mich.

Additional thoughts?

Be sure the pedagogy taught in the summer is in agreement with yours, especially regarding vocal production. I worry a bit about young voices being injured if not handled correctly.”

Eileen Benedict
Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts
Coram, N.Y.

“Summer camps enrich a student’s musical experiences. Students can learn more about the musical industries they are interested in and how they could possibly fit in. In some cases, this could be a reality check about their abilities and preparedness for the professional musicians’ world.”

Liz Beiersdorfer
Independent Music Specialist
Sunman, Ind.

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