Students chosen to attend the summer piano camp at Hardin-Simmons University have to work hard to get chosen for the camp, and then have to work even harder once they get to campus.
A total of 18 students ranging from 8th through 12th grade have been selected to attend the camp, which starts Sunday, June 23, 2013, in HSU’s Hemphill Music Complex, 2426 Cedar. Camp curriculum includes a technique class, piano ensemble and sight-reading, composition, theory and ear training, supervised practice, and recreational time. Students may remain in residence on the campus throughout the week or commute to campus.
“When students apply, they are required to submit a recording of a performance and a letter of recommendation from their piano teacher,” says associate professor of piano, Lauren Puckett. She, and husband, Dr. Mark Puckett, professor of piano, both on the faculty in the HSU College of Fine Arts, started the camp 10 years ago. “We want serious piano students to experience a week of intensive study and enjoy the company of others who share their love of music,” says Puckett.
A favorite activity at the camp is composing a piece of music under the guidance of Dr. Bernard Scherr, professor of music theory and composition. Students in the composition lab work on their piece at a computer terminal and then see how it sounds by taking a seat at one of many nearby keyboards, slipping on a pair of headphones, and playing it without disturbing the other composers. Students perform their compositions and vote on their favorite the final night of the camp.
During the Wednesday evening dress rehearsal, students cheer and applaud their fellow campers’ performances of repertoire they practiced during the week. Students also practice a deep, sweeping bow to their audience as part of the performance skills they are learning at the camp.
Shirley Anderson, a long-time church pianist and part of the camp faculty, says one of the things they usually discuss during the week is performance anxiety. “Musicians do some of the same things to conquer fear that athletes do in sports.” Anderson continues, “We talk about putting your performance in perspective, recognizing this is just one of many performances. We also talk about foods you should avoid, like caffeine and sugar, which hype you up.”
Another favorite activity during the camp is ensemble, where students play their pianos as a group while sight-reading piano music.
Puckett says, “Several of the students who have attended past camps have since come to HSU for their degrees in piano performance, theory and composition, and music education. It’s a wonderful way for students to experience HSU and get to know some of the music faculty.”
The end recital is free and open to anyone who would like to give support to the efforts of students whose summer break is dedication to their love of music. The recital will be on Thursday, June 27, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in Woodwar -Dellis Recital Hall. A reception will follow for students, teachers, families, and friends on the third floor of Caldwell Hall Music Building.
The camp begins Sunday, June 23, 2013, and continues through Thursday, June 27.