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Summer Camps

  • Lisa Preston: Piping Up in Normal, Illinois

    Mike Lawson | October 9, 2009

    Normal Community West High School, in Normal, Illinois, has a very well developed music program. There is a competitive marching band, which was named class 4A state champion in 2008, and the top group of the school's four concert bands travels and plays at festivals. There's also a wind ensemble, pep band, musical pit orchestra, color guard, winter guard, and two jazz bands. While countless schools are gasping for funding, this program is flourishing. While none of this is particularly unusual, per se it sounds like any one of many fine programs around the country, right? a chat with the program's director, Lisa Preston, proves that Normal West has quite a scene going on.

    Lisa Preston was tasked with developing the music department when Normal Community West High School first opened its doors 15 years ago, and her goal was a simple one: to provide every student the opportunity to participate in music education. Perhaps this ideal, too, isn't exactly unique saying it is would be a discredit to the plethora of other great music educators but that doesn't make Lisa's mission any less noble. Speaking with her, it becomes clear that she hasn't spent her time just dreaming about some lofty goal; it has taken years of tireless work to create an environment in which music is positively thriving, at every level, in ensembles large and small. Perhaps the music department at Normal West High School isn't the most atypical program around, but it certainly is a great example of what a little vision, a little luck, and an awful lot of hard work can bring about.

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  • Adding Value to Summer Fun

    Mike Lawson | March 23, 2007

    Summer provides students and teachers alike with much-needed time for rest and relaxation, but one way to recharge those musical and creative batteries for the following year is through attending or working at a summer music camp.

    Band and orchestra camps are a great opportunity for student musicians to explore music in the company of motivated and talented peers; for educators, it's a chance to work closely with expert colleagues, explore different teaching techniques, and earn a few extra bucks on the side. SBO recently sent a survey out to our readership asking for your thoughts on the subject of summer music camps.

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  • The Benefits of Music Camp

    Mike Lawson | October 22, 2006


    By Richard Ford

    Summer camps provide students with unique opportunities for social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth. A music camp can provide specific growth in many areas of performance. Thousands of children return to school after summer music camps with improved skills, confidence and an increased awareness of the learning and leadership that they can both offer to and derive from the school music program.

    As an undergraduate music student, I recognized the confidence, musicianship, and savvy regarding a music education among my peers who spent summers at music camp in their high school years. The advantages of the summer relationships, training and performance levels were evident.

    Why is Camp Important to Parents?

    Parents increasingly look to summer camps to enhance and broaden the learning and personal development of their children. Among the familiar reasons parents want children to attend camp are:

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