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The things you should bring to a summer music camp really depend on what instrument you play and/or if it’s a camp that provides them for you. For example, a band camp would require you to bring your instrument, but a keyboard focused camp might have the keyboards provided. If you’re a vocalist, of course, you just need to bring yourself. Still there are some other related things that could help make your summer music camp a total success.
You’ve packed your clothes, bed fittings and toiletries, so what else needs to be in your bag if we’re going to be well prepared for summer music camp?
Capture the Moment
We all know how important cellphones are these days. Make sure you bring your charger so that your phone isn’t a paperweight after the first day. Aside from the games and social media apps, phones can be very useful at camp. The voice memo recorder on your phone is an amazing way to capture the moment at summer music camp. Something you might want to remember for later would be a scale alteration or a tonal embellishment.
Your phone’s ability to shoot video is awesome, too. Sometimes just having the ability to revisit the teaching of the instructor can affect your performance later. Then, there’s the memo app that allows you to just take notes. There’s so much information coming at you, it seems impossible to contain it all, so capture what you can for later consumption. If you don’t have a phone or a tablet, you can pick up a digital recorder for pretty cheap these days. Make sure you have a way to record your classroom sessions so long as you adhere to any special policies your camp might have.
Bring A Disposable Instrument
It’s really up to you, but there seems to always be that kid who brings their Grandpa’s vintage Les Paul or Telecaster to a summer music camp. With keyboardist or drummers, this might not be such a big deal, but vintage guitars are hard to replace and some of them are worth thousands of dollars. It’s smarter to bring an instrument along that is easily replaced.
Some kids only have one instrument, which is totally fine. In that case, bring what you’ve got, but be gentle. Horns and guitars are easily dropped and damaged. It happens almost every year that some kid’s strap malfunctions and, next thing you know, the headstock is broken completely in two or the keys of the horn are bent or broken. So if you have a backup or you’re going to a summer music camp, bring a disposable instrument.
Don’t Forget Your Accessories
This one is obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many campers show up without extra guitar strings, a tuner, a cable, reeds, cork grease etc. While there are some things that are ok to borrow, why not have your own supply? Bring at least one extra pack of guitar strings and some tools to change the strings with. You really only need a small pair of wire cutters and a string winder. Guitar players should bring plenty of extra picks, too.
Horn players need extra reeds and cork grease and maybe some kind of oil. Keyboardist, as well as everyone else, should bring a decent set of headphones. Drummers need extra sticks and maybe some Gorilla Snot. Ok, we’ll explain that one for anyone who doesn’t understand. There’s a gooey substance that drummers buy in little squares that tone down and control overtones on, say, a snare drum. Bottom line: you better come prepared. A little tool kit can save your life at a summer music camp.
Tangible Supplies for a Summer Music Camp
Many instructors will supply you with the written material he or she is teaching and some camps may provide you with their curriculum. However, it doesn’t hurt to have some staff music paper and/or blank tablature sheets handy in your backpack. Add to that some good #2 pencils and a ruler or straight edge and you’re ready to write out some serious music notation.
Some things you might learn and print in the class or maybe you have free time and just want to write out some musical parts you and your buddies arrange. Either way, having the ability to score what you’re hearing on the spot is an advantage. Other tangible supplies might include earplugs or a musical pocket-size dictionary. If the earplugs aren’t enough, some headache medicine may help. You might also want to bring a snack or favorite gum that helps you through a jam session.
Good Attitude and Ethics
This is an intangible accessory that all students should bring to whichever camp they end up at. For some reason, a few musicians out there have a tendency to be arrogant and overconfident. Really talented players don’t need an attitude as a crutch and it’s pretty offensive if you come across as a know-it-all who thinks they are more important than others.
Be kind and humble. Defer to another player when you can and your time will come. Put all your passion into each note and enjoy the music, but always be gracious and say thanks if someone compliments you. Something as simple as rolling up a guitar cable and making the station clean for the next guy says you are not just there to be served. Helping the next player get his or her tone or set up so they aren’t stressed is a kind gesture, too.
Always applaud the next player and don’t be that camper who sits and doodles during someone else’s performance or while the instructors talking. If you want applause and sincere appreciation, you must also demonstrate applause and sincere appreciation. The key here is to be sincere.
Bands and lifelong friendships are formed at summer camps. Be yourself, and make the best of your time!
Camp Electric is a great summer music camp for kids learning how to better use their skills. We have knowledgeable instructors from a variety of popular bands that are eager to help students become better musicians. Click on the link below to find out how your child can attend our next star-studded camp.