What’s All This Noise?

A music-making program is any club, elective or activity that enables campers to learn and play musical instruments together.

Music programming is a natural extension of the summer camp experience.

It can be organized and taught by staff; informal and put together by campers; educational and taught by a hired professional; or a combination of these.

Although the program may evolve from year to year, the important thing is to implement one.

Among the benefits:

For campers

• Serves as an outlet for creativity

• Relieves stress

• Builds confidence

• Forms relationships

• Increases aptitude for learning

• FUN.

For directors

• Adds diversity to the activities offered

• Can be used in marketing materials

• Adds to camp culture and creates spirit

• Fills the need for an educational group activity

• Captivates the teen-camper population

• Provides an outlet for campers to creatively express themselves

• Provides an activity to curb boredom, which leads to fewer disciplinary problems.

An Ideal Environment For Creativity

Since children at camp tend to be less guarded emotionally than they are in school, they are also more likely to take risks and try new things.

With a diminished fear of being judged, campers can learn how to play an instrument as well as participate in a non-competitive, creative activity.

The Culture And Spirit Of Your Camp

Last summer, while I was an artist-in-residence at Liberty Lake Day Camp in New Jersey, the camp’s owner and director–Andy Pritikin–wrote a theme song for the camp.

These drums are just waiting to be played!

The campers went wild for the song, which is now a part of the camp culture. It creates spirit and unity, and encourages campers to sing along. Best of all is that many campers seek out the staff to teach them how to play the song on the guitar.

What is unique about the culture of your camp? Take advantage of the opportunity to communicate your assets through music.

Get Started

When creating a music program, start simply, as you would with any other new activity or program.

Do present staff members have any musical talent? When hiring new staff members, be sure to consider whether they have any qualifications or experience that may be an asset to your music program.

Hire Staff From Music Colleges

Good news for camp directors: More young adults are attending colleges with excellent music programs. Just as you might hire a college student studying physical education to teach in the athletic program, hiring a counselor studying music is a resourceful way to start a program.

These students–eventually “graduates”–are a wonderful resource to establish a credible program and curriculum.

Mentoring Program

Have older campers buddy up with younger campers, and teach them how to play an instrument. The nature of learning music is one that is passed on, and the culture of summer camp lends itself perfectly to this.

Set up a meeting between campers and their mentor, and allow them time to merely sit and play together.

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