Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cello camp plans

I have signed up for summer cello camp: The Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School, in August. Abby Newton, one of my favorite cellists, will be teaching. I love her book/CD, Crossing to Scotland, and am working on several pieces in it (Wagonwheel Notch, Crossing to Ireland are my current favorites). I highly recommend it.

I picked this camp because of Abby Newton, and because it is close to home, though still in a remote location (Thompson Island, in Boston Harbor) , and the accommodations look good (single or double rooms, in a dormitory structure). I have camped out before, at Maine Fiddle Camp, but think I want the comfort of an actual bed this time. My only concern is that many of the people in the photos on the Camp's web site look so tired or bored. Maybe it is just incredibly hot.

The camp is sponsored by the Folk Arts Center of New England. Their web site is at

This will be my fourth summer music camp. I have also attended Summerkeys, Maine Fiddle Camp, and Meadowlark music camp, all in Maine. I had high expectations for the first camp, Summerkeys, expecting to learn about a month's worth of music in a week, after just a year of study. I worked on just one piece (Happy Farmer), correcting bowings and timing, memorizing, and making it sound just a little more like music. I played it perfectly once, during a lesson, not at the recital. I was also in a coached ensemble, but the less I say about that the better.

I never learn as much as I want to at camp--I take too many instruments and/or too many classes; I always take work with me; I try to do too much. Still, I find the experience to be valuable, and I always learn something that stays with me. This year, I am hoping the focus will be just right, balancing cello learning, playing with others, under the trees, relaxing, and becoming more familiar with Scottish music. We shall see.

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