Planning, preparing and executing a piano camp takes time but with careful planning it turns out to be a satisfying endeavor for the teacher and an exciting experience for the students!
Beginning in January, I polled the parents to find out the interest level and available dates. Shortly after I began browsing the many resources available. The model for piano camp has traditionally been group games, crafts, worksheets and rhythm play. I decided to follow a different path in order to challenge myself and inspire the students. The two major changes I made, were:
- Piano Camp for a wide range of ages.
- Put on a Show!
Offering a piano camp for ages 5-11 seems like a disaster. However, by mixing the age groups and musicianship levels, I did not have to worry about having enough children enrolled in various groups. My goal was to have 12 children participate in the piano camp. Why did I stop at age eleven? Two reasons. The 12-year-old students that I know would probably not have enrolled in the same class as the 5-year-old students, so I went ahead and offered a different camp for them.
Usually at the end of the week the students would go home with crafts and worksheets completed with a little verbal summary from me. Sometimes each student would perform solos or we would prepare a piece to play as a group. But I took a risk and instead prepared them to perform an “operetta” . Students had to sing, dance, act out the story and make music together. By the end of the week they had experienced music in a whole different way, worked as a group and shared their talents and skills with an audience.
How does an operetta become a piano camp? Each day the twelve students shared six keyboards and learned different parts of the songs. Students were of all different levels and it was great to see how they helped each and worked together. However, during the performance only two students played the piano while the others had different parts to play on stage.
Interested in doing this next summer? I ordered my operetta here. Jack and the Beanstalk became “Jackie”, the Con Man became the Con Lady, the Giant was not tall at all – adaptations we made to fit our group and add to the fun.
Did you have a piano camp last summer? What new things did you do?