Opie just finished up a week of band camp. It’s a short little camp, 1.5 hrs a day for 5 days, with a performance this afternoon.
It’s been absolutely great.
I have been trying to put together all the benefits I have seen:
- 1.5 hours +* of oboe playing a day, no fuss or complaint.
- *Sometimes more – some practicing before band sessions of tricky bits, also a lesson in the middle of the week.
- On-her-own problem solving: her high D isn’t reliable. She’s working on it, but in the meantime, she decided she would use that note to breathe (instead of freaking out that she can’t do something).
- Working with a group with different ages, instruments, skill levels.
- Listening closely to her band director and understanding what he is asking, whether it is which measure to start on or working on rhythm.
- Playing pieces at the correct rhythm so you can play in time with everyone else.
- Playing pieces that change tempo significantly during the playing, speeding up and slowing down.
- Hearing what happens if you don’t play pieces at the correct rhythm.
- Learning 6 new pieces in a week.
- A real stretch for her oboe playing. Teacher looked at her band music and thought that some of the phrases are quite long for oboe. He suggested places to rest (if ok with band director), but instead she has chosen just to play through, and seems to be doing ok with it.
- Another opportunity for a low-key performance.
- Seeing that it’s not the end of the world if a mistake is made during a performance, and just rolling with it.
- An opportunity to work on music with another adult.
- Exposure to other genres of music – camp music included Bach, Tchaikovsky, Bartok, blues, even a Klezmer piece.
Finally, from tonight’s performance, I loved seeing how engaged she was for the entire show.
And then of course there are all the great annoying boy stories.
How does a flute boy clean his flute? He shakes it around in the air, little droplets everywhere.
How does a trumpet boy clean his trumpet? He pours it out. But then flute boy gets upset – “oh man, that’s gross, it will get on everything!”