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#2299129 - 07/06/14 10:23 AM Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible?
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1714
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I had a great time at Summerkeys last year and look forward to another visit in a month or so. I know there are also other excellent summer piano programs for adult learners.

One advantage of the "camp" approach is the availability of social, ensemble, and performance events. Another -- the specific focus of this post -- is spending a week taking several lessons from a good teacher and spending lots of time on focused practice.

As to the second aspect -- multiple lessons and intensive practice -- I wonder how feasible it would be to design one's own personal piano camp experience, either at the venue of one's choice (Seattle, Manhattan, Vancouver, Santa Fe, Vienna, you name it) or even as a "staycation."

The lessons part, I think, would require lining up a good teacher -- possibly a piano performance professor at a conservatory in the area.

The intensive practice part would require access to a decent practice piano, preferably at the conservatory where lessons would be taken.

My suspicion is that both parts (say, three one-hour lessons in a week, and access to a practice piano for three hours a day) might be feasible, at least at some conservatories, and especially during the summer or between semesters (or quarters). For a staycation variant, one only needs to find the teacher and have a decent piano at home. (And to be disciplined enough to stick with the plan, etc.)

Again, I know this approach wouldn't provide the social, ensemble, and recital opportunities of a great camp like Summerkeys, but as a way to do deep immersion in instruction and intensive, coached practice, it may present some positives.

Your thoughts on the idea generally? Have you ever tried something similar?

More specifically, if one of us were to contact you and ask whether a top teacher in your area might do, say, three lessons in a week for his/her standard teaching fees (perhaps with a premium for the unusual arrangement), could you recommend a teacher who you think would be likely to do it? (I'm not asking for names... yet.) If so, do you think practice time on a good piano would be available, either for free or for a fee, at the teacher's conservatory or at a nearby venue?

Any and all comments are welcome.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2299217 - 07/06/14 06:06 PM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: ClsscLib]
Sam S Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1406
Loc: Georgia, USA
I'm at Summerkeys this week. And I travel all the way from Georgia to Maine to do it. So, yes, I wish there were an adult summer piano music camp in the southeast US - but there isn't one that I know of.

I don't think it would be the same if I were alone, at home, taking lessons. the things that make the summer music camp concept attractive to me are:

1- the lessons with someone other than my usual teacher.
2- the performance class, where I play for other people and the teacher.
3- the "recital", where I perform for other people.
4- playing on lots of different pianos.

So I wouldn't get 2-4 if I were alone somewhere or on a staycation.

I think there is a market for more of these types of music vacations around the US. If I knew how I would start one in the southeast. Someplace like the John Campbell Folk School would be an excellent venue, and they already have all the infrastructure in place, except for pianos to play on. Also the Brevard Music Center, which already has summer camps for kids on all instruments, should add on weeks for adults.

But I'm not ambitious enough to start something, and lack the business know-how to make it work!

Sam

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#2299230 - 07/06/14 06:52 PM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: Sam S]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1714
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Sam S
I'm at Summerkeys this week. And I travel all the way from Georgia to Maine to do it. So, yes, I wish there were an adult summer piano music camp in the southeast US - but there isn't one that I know of.

I don't think it would be the same if I were alone, at home, taking lessons. the things that make the summer music camp concept attractive to me are:

1- the lessons with someone other than my usual teacher.
2- the performance class, where I play for other people and the teacher.
3- the "recital", where I perform for other people.
4- playing on lots of different pianos.

So I wouldn't get 2-4 if I were alone somewhere or on a staycation.

I think there is a market for more of these types of music vacations around the US. If I knew how I would start one in the southeast. Someplace like the John Campbell Folk School would be an excellent venue, and they already have all the infrastructure in place, except for pianos to play on. Also the Brevard Music Center, which already has summer camps for kids on all instruments, should add on weeks for adults.

But I'm not ambitious enough to start something, and lack the business know-how to make it work!

Sam



Thanks for your comments, Sam. I'm very sympathetic to a couple of your observations, as noted in my original post. There is something magical about being among so many wonderful music lovers in such a beautiful setting.

On your specific points, as to #1, I imagine one could accomplish the same thing in a staycation, assuming there are high-level piano teachers in the area. I'm fortunate that there are plenty near where I live, though lining one up might be a challenge.

For 2 and 3, there are other ways to get performance and recital experience, at least in areas with a lot of pianists. That said, I grant that I'm really looking forward to the performance class and recital at Summerkeys next month. I chickened out of both during my first visit last year, and I won't make that mistake again.

4 isn't something I care about now, since I got the chance to play on many of the Summerkeys pianos last year. They were fine, and the variety was interesting, but I'd be just as happy spending the practice time playing my piano at home.

I'm sure this is a manageable idea as a staycation. I'm not sure, though, that I could make it work as a destination trip.

My better half often travels to art and craft seminars, and the next time she chooses one and thus picks a destination, I may try to run an experiment!
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2299240 - 07/06/14 07:58 PM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: ClsscLib]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 1977
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Even though I know I won't do it this summer. I have rather stumbled upon this.
That is: I have a great System to learn with.
The Co-writer of the System is very accessible. She is the actual piano teacher of the System.
She is setting up a format for online lessons. For me it would be only when I have a problem, or need understanding. Otherwise the System explains tons of understanding.
Here is where you come in: She is open to my visiting her for lessons in person. This would be a kind of Summer Keys camp for a week or two. She always tells me that I don't have it until one of her (two) Grands in her living room tell us I have it.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2299425 - 07/07/14 08:17 AM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: ClsscLib]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think there is something valuable in leaving your normal environment and being away from the routine of home. You are in an unfamiliar place and so that naturally binds you more to other people at the camp and to piano, whereas home there are family members and other things to consider.

I think many conservatories have practice pianos available for students taking lessons, so you could go to an area of the country if you'd like, rent a hotel room with a kitchen, and take lessons for a few times a week with a teacher, finish it off with a recital. But you still miss out on the sense of camaraderie that comes with these camps.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2299427 - 07/07/14 08:19 AM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: ClsscLib]
WiseBuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 797
Loc: Brighton Colorado
After Summerkeys last summer, a great week, I thought it would be great to have one in the Rocky Mountains. Aspen has a music festival but it's not a week for intense performance.
_________________________



Love to learn

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#2299458 - 07/07/14 10:18 AM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: ClsscLib]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1893
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Karen, I do believe there is a summer camp in Colorado. There is a guy who is in Arizona.. Cannot remember his forum name now. He participated in tchaikovsky recital and played in the church or something lovely like that. He mentioned to me via IM that there is Colorado version as an alternative to Summerkeys. Rocky mountain something.

Clssclib, I only have one suggestion to you. You may have better chance of making the event successful to hire people with doctorate who don't have college jobs. Full time faculty members are well paid and not hungry enough to pursue the venture unless they are single without kids. But I know a bunch of DMA's who are adjunct faculty members who are glad to do this.

As for me, I am completely satisfied with Arizona music scenes and do not need any Summer camp. When I signed up for Summmerkeys, I did not know about the local opportunities. Using Sam's list, if I add my response, it will be like this:

1- the lessons with someone other than my usual teacher - We have annual master class through the local Piano club
2- the performance class, where I play for other people and the teacher - the college performance class is weekly where I play in front of other students (=people?). the local piano club meeting also provide the same opportunity where I play in front of accomplished pianists + piano teachers.
3- the "recital", where I perform for other people - 4 formal performances in the performance center within campus (auditorium with nice stage with concert grand)
4- playing on lots of different pianos - in college, we have Steinway concert grand, Yamaha and Kawai grands and we soon have a brand new schimmel grand
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#2299465 - 07/07/14 10:39 AM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: ClsscLib]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5444
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Since you said "Santa Fe" smile

I think it's a cool idea, and a great vacation plan. I know of two teachers around here who are pretty respected, tho since I don't take lessons or play classical I can't say from personal experience or from comparisons. There are several possibilities in jazz/pop - there are a lot of pro piano players in Santa Fe whose music I like.

Practice piano availability might be more problematic, tho again I have some ideas for rentals, and a teacher would have more. One of them is at the Community College and I know there are practice uprights or dps there, but there's also several churches that host concert series that might work. And one of them is the music director for a dance school (or was the last I heard) and they use pianos for all their classes (again, uprights, not grands). So I think it would be worth checking out.

And of course, for tourism Santa Fe is high on Conde Nast's list laugh But there's also, as I said, lots of good piano music around time town, as well as other kinds of music, close hiking trails, historic parks, Taos, Los Alamos historic sites and museums, and other things to keep you from getting bored. It'd be a great place if the piano camp part worked out.

Cathy


Edited by jotur (07/07/14 10:42 AM)
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#2299478 - 07/07/14 11:33 AM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: ClsscLib]
AZ_Astro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 433
Loc: Tempe, Arizona
I compiled the following listing of summer camps for adults and posted it in another thread, but here it is again. The Rocky Ridge Seminar is in Colorado.


1. Victoria Conservatory of Music Summer Academy (Victoria, Canada)
http://vcm.bc.ca/piano-academy/

2. Rocky Ridge Adult Piano Seminar (Estes Park, Colorado)
https://www.rockyridge.org/seminars/aps.htm

3. Summerkeys (Maine)
http://www.summerkeys.com/

4. Sonata Piano Camp (Vermont):
http://www.sonatina.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=105&Itemid=164

5. Rami's Rhapsody – Adults (Utica, NY)
http://ramisrhapsody.tripod.com/index.html

6. Midsummer Adult Piano Retreat - Adults (Williams College, MA)
http://pianoretreat.wordpress.com/

7. PianoScape Adults (New Hampshire)
http://www.pianoscape.com/

8. Music Institute of Chicago (Evanston, IL) -- Summer Adult Piano Camp
http://www.musicinst.org/adult-piano-camp



***

I did not attend a camp this summer. I ended up taking some lessons with local teachers in the Phoenix area. But I remain very interested in attending a camp and would love to go to the Rocky Ridge seminar.
_________________________
Kawai KG-5. Korg SP-250. Software pianos: Ivory II, Ravenscroft, Galaxy Vintage D, Alicia's Keys, et al.


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#2299497 - 07/07/14 12:33 PM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: ClsscLib]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1314
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Very interesting first post. I think it could be done. A good piano for practice is always a stumbling block, but a piano can often be found if you're willing to pay enough for it. And I think most piano teachers, even well-known ones, would be flattered at your seeking them out and flying in to their community for a couple of lessons with them, combined with sightseeing.

But as others have said, the magic of the retreat experience requires other participants, and preferably a community of piano folks who live together for a week or two. Our program (#6 above) is situated on a bucolic college campus in New England, and next week will be our 9th year. Before that we spent 4 years in a lovely baroque town in the Czech Republic, where we were an appendage to an international workshop for orchestral conductors.

To make a program fly takes highly committed teachers, a good venue with adequate pianos, much detailed organizing, and probably some luck. That said, I wish there were more such adult music retreats scattered about the globe. They are indeed special learning environments.

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#2299513 - 07/07/14 01:18 PM Re: Is "Design Your Own Piano Camp" Feasible? [Re: ClsscLib]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1714
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Thanks, Peter. That's encouraging.

I agree that there is a magic to the group aspects of a retreat. As I wrote, I'm going back to Summerkeys next month. No one needs to sell me on that score.

But I'm also interested in exploring solo deep-dive piano immersion experiences.

I'll try to do one sometime during the next year or so.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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