August 10-13 will be my last choir camp of the summer. We host it in Detroit. If interested, please sign up. We’d love to see you there!
Last Thursday, I completed my second of three choir camps. It went well. The kids enjoyed their time and learned much. We held a little reception afterwards, which provided a great opportunity for kids and parents to mingle and say their goodbyes.
I am giving you in this post a brief snapshot into our choir camp day. Before we begin, I want to thank my coworker from Vandalia Christian School, Marla Young, for the trial and error that made this schedule actually work. Those early choir camps were good times.
It’s not camp if you don’t have camp songs. We always start the week with My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean (a classic).
We also play a game with this song. Singing and playing are important.
Mystery Show and Tell
We always give some mystery to the kids need to solve overnight. Since my theme is music around the world, the kids try to find the mystery country based on clues I give them. They earn bonus points if they bring in some fact or object to tell the group.
You can’t have camp without games! We play several over the week.
The kids learn more difficult songs than the silly camp songs they sang at the beginning. These choir songs are meant to teach them how to sing, work together, and hold their own part. This can be tricky. You need
- Songs the singers can learn and perform well in four days.
- A good assortment of songs-variety in melodies, major and minor tonalities, etc.
- Variety in tempo and energy.
This year, we sang songs from Australia, Brazil, Germany, and Israel. Some are happy, fast songs. One is a lullaby. I usually sneak at least one classical piece into the mix. Too often, people try to sell classical music to kids. Just teach the music, and let them decide if they like it or not. If you refrain from telling kids they shouldn’t like classical music, they might actually like it!
The singers work hard, so they need a break. This is non-directed, and allows the children to play and form friendships with other kids.
I’ve already written a post about this here.
This is a second, shorter rehearsal.
I take a little time to teach them music-reading skills. We go over some basic rhythms and solfege. They get points if they practice before the next day.
The kids’ brains are about fried anyway. Finish the day with games!
The kids go back into the rehearsal room. We talk about what is due the next day and any other announcements that need to be made.
This is my schedule for most choir camp days. I found that it works, and works well. Others have their own schedules. You’ll discover that not every schedule works for every person, just like not every teaching style works for every teacher. Take what works for you, and fill in the blanks.