Summer Camps Bring Talented Musicians to Baylor

band camp
An instructor conducts a group of violinists participating in a Baylor summer music camp.
July 5, 2017

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (July 5, 2017) – Each summer, talented musicians from middle schools and high schools around the country travel to Baylor University to try out life as a music major for one week.

So far, more than 700 students have attended Baylor’s summer music camps this year. The band and orchestra camps and the summer piano and organ institutes occurred in June, and the music school is now preparing for its final session, the all-state choral music camp on July 11-15.

During their week at camp, participants stay in one of Baylor’s residence halls and eat at on-campus dining halls. They receive one-on-one instruction from accomplished musicians, including Baylor’s School of Music faculty.

Brian Marks, D.M.A., associate professor of piano and director of keyboard studies, has taught classes at Baylor’s summer piano institute since 1992. He’s now the director of the institute and said that the week he gets to teach these gifted musicians is a highlight of his year.

“It’s fun to work with someone that age who is curious and intelligent and already passionate about what they do. Combine that with their youthful optimism and fearlessness, and it’s very inspiring and energizing for me,” Marks said.

This year, Marks said the summer piano institute welcomed its first group of international students, a group of five from Krakow, Poland.

The summer piano institute accepts only 40 students a year, and those willing to attend the camp must submit a recording. The band and orchestra camps also require an audition.

In their private lessons, attendees work on improving songs already in their repertoire. Instructors focus on teaching their students how to break bad habits, how to practice at home and how to interpret their music in new ways.

When they’re not fine-tuning their music, participants in the summer music camps have recreational time to explore Baylor’s campus. They can swim and play sports in the Student Life Center, visit the nearby coffee shop Common Grounds or attend an evening social event to get to know each other.

Marks said he thinks connecting young people with a shared passion for music is a crucial goal of Baylor’s summer music camps.

“There aren’t a lot of kids that pursue classical music. It makes them a bit of an outsider,” Marks said. “Here, they get to be around other students who are also passionate about this. They see that what they do is something of real value and they needn’t be afraid of being passionate about it.”

Camp activities are chaperoned by Baylor School of Music students who act as camp counselors and ensure that the campers are safe and on schedule.

Sophomore Megan Green was a camp counselor for the middle school band and orchestra camp. A music education major, she said that being able to observe the master classes helped her learn more effective methods of teaching music.

“After spending the week with these kids, I’ve learned that I really like teaching this age group. Being able to talk with them and see them experience music in a different way has been really good for me. I’m finding my voice and learning how I teach,” Green said.

At the end of each camp session, the musicians show off what they’ve learned in a final performance which is open to the public.

by Kassidy Woytek , student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MUSIC

The Baylor University School of Music provides transformational experiences that prepare students for careers in music. Our students thrive in a Christian environment characterized by a nurturing resident faculty, an unwavering pursuit of musical excellence, a global perspective, dedication to service, and devotion to faith. They investigate the rich musical and cultural heritage of the past, develop superior musical skills and knowledge in the present, and explore and create new modes of musical expression for the future. While preparing for future leadership roles, the students join with School of Music faculty in enhancing the quality of community life, enriching the larger culture, and making Baylor a place in which heart, mind and soul coalesce. The School of Music of Baylor University is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music and the Texas Association of Music Schools. Degree programs leading to the bachelor of music education degree conform to certification requirements of the Texas Education Agency.

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