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Summer Guide


Grade by Grade Guide to Summer Camps

Students who participate in summer enrichment are better solo musicians and can have an easier time playing with new ensembles. Summer enrichment students are known to score higher in competition, and also place higher in honors ensembles. In fact, many states have camps designed as intense training for All-State auditions. Summer music camps are a great place to meet college instructors, directors, and recruiters. It’s a great place to not only grow as a musician, but also potentially meet your college match!

Your audition video on ScholarshipAuditions.com can help you get a camp scholarship that will help pay for an essential musical experience!

Summer after 6th Grade

Look for attending a camp that is near your home, that will probably be held at a college campus. This camp should have master classes for your instrument or voice part. You should have the opportunity to play with a large ensemble. This type of camp usually lasts one week.

Summer after 7th Grade

Look for a camp at the most dominant music school in your state. It should last about two weeks, and this camp should have master classes for your instrument or voice part with the opportunity to perform in a large ensemble. There is usually an additional fee for a private lesson, but it is highly recommended that you take a private lesson from the instructor for your instrument or voice part. Make sure that music theory is a part of the daily instruction.

Summer after 8th Grade

At this point, you want to look for camps that offer the opportunity to participate in two large ensembles, including participation in a chamber ensemble. The camp should offer daily music theory instruction and a music history overview for general music knowledge advancement. Also, private lessons and master classes for your instrument or voice part are necessary for individual advancement. There is usually an additional fee for a private lesson, but private lessons from the instructor of your instrument or voice part can really take your music performing abilities to the next level.

If you are a pianist, make sure this camp lets you experience being an accompanist. You will likely accompany a chamber ensemble.

Summer after 9th Grade

It is highly recommended that you attend two camps this summer. The first camp should be specifically for your instrument or voice. Some camps like this are Bassoon Camp, Percussion Institute, Violin Master Camp, or Vocal Institute. These camps are not always on a college campus and are scattered throughout the United States, so you may have to attend one away from home. You want to pick the camp that has the most well-known instructors in your field. This will typically be a one-week camp focused on your individual instrument or voice.

The second camp of the summer should be a boot camp to prepare for All-State auditions. This camp will usually be held at the most dominant music school in your state. However, if there is no All-State boot camp, attend any two-week camp offered by that music school. Make sure the camp has daily music theory instruction and performance practice for each style period. The camp should give you the opportunity to participate in two large ensembles, and also participate in a chamber ensemble. You should take at least one master class and private lesson for your instrument or voice part.

If you can only attend one camp this summer, choose a camp specifically for your instrument or voice.

Your high school might require marching band camp, concert choir camp, or some other summer camp for your school ensemble. Do not count this as a summer enrichment experience.

Summer after 10th Grade

This is often the most crucial summer for your development as a student musician. Why? You have finally reached the age when many nationally recognized camps begin auditioning for spots in their camp or festival academy. These distinguished camps and festivals are the proving ground for success on a national basis.

The majority of camps, festivals, or institutes we provide on ScholarshipAuditions.com, are for a four to eight-week period. Each of the above requires an audition, usually in February, with most applications due on January 1. The price tag for these experiences can seem hefty but considering the possibilities for national and international training and exposure it can prove to be a great investment.

Many of these experiences are well endowed and scholarships are plentiful if the student demonstrates national performance proficiency potential. Most of the listed experiences require that the student be in at least TWO major performing ensembles and chamber ensembles. In addition, the student will have a private lesson once a week and have the right to purchase additional private lessons per week as well.

A daily practice schedule of usually three-hours of private practice is required, along with music theory classes, stylistic performance practice classes, master classes, and related performance attendance. Usually there is at least one performance every night of the week where student attendance is required. Selection to one of the national camps is highly competitive, and a careful understanding of their admission and audition process should be covered with utmost diligence.

Consider making an application and auditioning for at least FOUR of these summer enrichment experiences. Research reveals that students who attend one of the above listed summer enrichment experiences are in the first rank of recruiting in nationally noted performance degree programs with strong scholarship possibilities.

College music recruiters are also taking advantage of any discovery opportunities available to them and are looking for students who can fill positions in their ensembles!

If you audition to one or several of these camps or festivals and are not selected, or if you choose not to seek out such an intensive experience, the following is another strong option: attend three camps this summer of the colleges/universities you are most interested in. Even if the camp is a two or three-week camp you will often be given the option to attend only one week.

Consider a camp:

  • that is in your state and familiar with your festival and All-State rankings
  • that is within 120 miles from your home
  • that has the private instructor that you are most interested in, even if that instructor is not a part of the camp experience

In all cases, make it a point to take a private lesson as a part of each experience.

Your high school might require that you participate in a marching band camp, concert choir camp, etc., and in no way should this camp experience be considered as a replacement for the camp experiences listed above.

Summer after 11th Grade

This summer, as you close in to the end of high school, consider these four options to get ahead in the race for scholarships.

  1. Look for a spot in one of the nationally recognized camps or festivals outlined in your 10th grade summer. You should attend one of the camps you attended last year, especially if the private instructor is the studio instructor for your college of choice. If the private instructor isn’t from your first-choice college, then apply and audition for several programs, while also choosing the option that has the best private instructor for you.
  2. Choose an international tour or conservatory experience, and make sure your choice includes private instruction. Become a member on ScholarshipAuditions.com to look through the international section of the Summer Camp Directory for some great possibilities. College recruiters take the international tour more seriously when it lasts three weeks or longer. It should include both large and chamber ensemble performance experience.
  3. If you intend to pursue a BA or BS in Instrumental Music Education, or want to be a high school or college/university band director, then consider participation in a Drum Corps. Even if you are a woodwind performer, consider auditioning for a Corps and see if there is a place for you.
  4. Attend two camps this summer at the colleges and universities you are most interested in. This summer you will want to attend all the weeks that these camps list. In both cases, make it a point to take a private lesson as a part of each experience.

Again, your high school might require marching band camp, concert choir camp, or some other summer camp for your school ensemble. Do not count this as a summer enrichment experience.