Days One and Two of Summer Camp

Hello A Street Music Education blog readers! We are not too far from the end of summer, and there are tons of things to report. While we seemed to keep a steady and large amount of students in the summer months, we are excited to enroll new students during the coming school year. We’ve been playing around Quincy and around Boston (in fact, you can find us at the Quincy Farmers Market almost every Friday. But for me, the most interesting thing has been preparing for and directing musical summer camps. I directed the music portion of “Summer Jam,” part of the First Baptist Church of Jamaica Plain’s summer kids program. We are currently preparing for Day 3 of our summer camp at the YMCA here in Quincy.

Music camp at the YMCA is called a “Creative Arts” camp. We learn music in the large space where the “ART” installation is (pictured), and we build instruments in the art studio. Chad Gray, an A Street bass, guitar, and composition teacher, is pictured to the right. We built a scraper this morning to make sure we could best direct the campers.

In the first two days of camp, we’ve had the campers build and decorate claves and scrapers, using hand tools, thick wooden dowels, and all of the art supplies one could dream of (we do build in an art studio). In addition, we’ve had great success exploring dynamics (loud and soft in music), rhythm, beat, and tempo. We’ve also started exploring the idea of scales in music, partially by using numbers to represent notes. I was extremely impressed with how quickly the six to eight year old campers were able to begin exploring these fundamental musical concepts. The below photo exhibits one of those explorations using numbers to represent notes of the scale. The seemingly nonsensical words below the numbers are the lyrics to the “Navajo Song of Happiness,” a simple song easily applied to teaching situations.

I’ll be back soon to the blog with more photos from camp, and a bigger reflection on what the campers learned. But before I go, I’ll share one more photo of a student enjoying his newly made and decorated scraper!

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About Justin Stanley, Teaching-Artist
I'm a musician and educator based in Boston, MA.

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