University of Arkansas Summer Music Camps

If staying on a university campus with your closest friends, playing music in a large group and many small ensembles, watching performances by professional musicians, going to a Drum Corps International competition, and performing in a full concert sounds fun, then the University of Arkansas Summer Music Camp is the camp for you.

Camp Auditions

The music camp auditions are the perfect way to get a head start on your all region material. If you live in the state of Arkansas, the camp audition pieces are the same for moth Jr. High and Senior High All Region. As you check in at your dorm room, the floor counselors will schedule you for an audition time. Do Not Be Late. Remember, “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is death”. There are two or three rooms for each instrument; a prepared room, a scales room, and a sight reading room. There will me room and hall monitors to help you so that you stay in the correct order and make it to all of the rooms on time.


Rehearsals are very important. You have less than one week to prepare a full concert. That is 9 rehearsals. Each band prepares about 4 challenging pieces of music. This music comes from all different levels, time periods, styles, and composers. This is a great way for you to expand your repertoire and make music with students from different states. After auditions, you will be placed into one of the 5 Sr. High Bands or 10 Jr. High Bands. Each band has a different set of music, different rehearsal locations, and different rehearsal times.

Master Classes

Master Classes are my favorite part of everyday at camp. This is your opportunity to connect with your section and most importantly, the professors at the University of Arkansas. High School juniors and seniors should spend this time thinking about majoring in music. If you are even remotely interested in attending the University of Arkansas as a music major or a band member, use this time to ask your questions. Additionally, campers can take private lessons by professors through out the week to get some one on one time .

Guest Performances

Over the last few years, the University of Arkansas has brought in many guest performers such as Axiom Brass Quintet and Jim Walker. In the 2018 camp the guest artist will be the Viridian Saxophone Quintet.  In the past, the guest performers have put on concerts, taught master classes, talked about their careers, and even taught some private lessons. This is a great opportunity for campers to see a real world example of musical careers and get a chance to ask them any career or music related questions they would have.

Drum Corps International

Each year the Senior High Summer Music Camp has the opportunity to watch the Drum Corps International Competition in Bentonville. This is my all time favorite night at camp. In the cast I have seen the Blue Devils, Carolina Crown, Blue Stars, Colts, Genesis, Spirit of Atlanta, and The Academy. Drum Corps International is by far the most entertaining and exciting night at camp. It is the perfect event to kick off marching season for students in high school marching bands. Each show is unique with its own these and powerful sound. This performance actually shakes the stands and blows you away.

Ensemble Night

Each of the five Senior High Band Camp bands puts together a Jazz Band, a Woodwind, Ensemble, and a Percussion Ensemble. Through out the week, they will have rehearsal times in their schedule. In their small ensembles, they will prepare a short program of songs to perform them in front of the camp on Thursday night. Ensemble performances are held at the Fayetteville High School Performing Arts Center and is open to parents. These ensembles are the best time for campers to really get to know the people in their sections.

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Final Concert

At the end of the week, each band performs a full concert that they learned. These concerts are held at the Fayetteville High School from 8 in the morning starting with Junior High Orchestra and ending early afternoon with the first.

Overall, the University of Arkansas Summer Music Camps are the perfect way for students to get more involved in band over summer, learn good challenging music, learn about music careers, and get individual help on their instrument. If you want more information about this program check out my previous post on Band Camps.

Belmont Summer Winds

Last Summer I was not satisfied with the quality of band camp I attended thus I began the search for a new camp.  I decided the best idea to narrow my search was to look for summer programs at the different colleges I was interested in. That’s when I found Belmont Summer Winds.

I had been looking into Belmont University for a while because of its reputation as a good Christian Private Liberal arts school with a music therapy program, a great clarinet professor, and its gorgeous campus. Everything was exactly as I had hoped it would be.

Belmont Summer Winds

Belmont Summer Winds is a band camp hosted at the Belmont University campus in Nashville, TN run by Belmont’s Director of Bands, Barry Kraus. During this one week session, students participate in master classes, jazz ensembles. woodwind ensembles, brass ensembles, private lessons, and Wind Ensemble rehearsals led by Belmont staff and alumni. After each full day of music, students enjoy fun activities on campus to get to know each other and have a little fun (Not that rehearsals aren’t fun but…..)


Auditioning for Belmont’s Summer Winds Camp was actually my favorite audition I’ve ever done. Not because I played my best, but because I got to pick from my own repetition what I was going to play. The last band camp I went to required me to spend all summer learning and preparing my All Region and All State material in hopes that I would make first band. But this summer I got to play one of the solos I had been preparing in my lessons at home and with only one band total I was only competing for a chair. This was a lot less stressful and a lot more convenient as students who attended the camp came from all different states. Learning both Arkansas and Tennessee All Region Material in one summer would have been a challenge.

Master Class

The clarinet Master Class was led by Belmont’s Clarinet Professor, Dr. Daniel Lochrie (pronounced like Loch in Lochness Monster). Throughout the week, master classes were the time we got to get feed back on our playing from a professional clarinetist. Dr. Lochrie plays with  the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony and is co-founder of The Eastwood Ensemble. Through out the week he gave us classes on the basics: tone, scales, fingering, embouchure, tonguing, articulation, voicing, hand position, sight-reading, piece preparation, and nerves. (man we got a lot done). I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more productive master class. In one week we covered everything clarinet that I can think of. Hopefully soon I can write a blog post about each of the aspects of clarinet and share some of Dr. Lochrie’s insight and teaching methods.

Private Lessons

I treated my week at camp as a Belmont crash course. Belmont was one of my top two colleges that I was considering to join next fall (more on that later) so one of my main priorities while I was there was to get some private lessons from Dr. Lochrie to get to know him better, introduce myself as an interested future student, and play for him. I think this was the best thing I did while I was at Belmont. During my lesson Dr. Lorchie and I talked about Belmont’s audition process, its scholarship opportunities, and even the idea of getting to play with Vanderbilt’s Marching Band because Belmont does not have one of its own. Most of what I learned about the school of music at Belmont including their performance, education, and therapy programs I learned during my two hours of lessons with Dr. Lochrie.


Sectionals are always so fun. How often do you get to play a piece with only woodwind parts during high school band? Unless you go to a school who focuses on small ensembles, this never happens. The band camp I attended last summer was very brass focused which was great…. for the brass players. But this camp had equal focus on brass, woodwinds, and percussion due to the quality of time and attention we received in our respective sectional classes everyday.

Chamber Music

I believe that the two best thing you can do for your music career is 1: take private lessons and 2: play in chamber groups. By playing one on a part in a small ensemble, you have to be responsible not only for your part, but for fitting yourself in the groups sound. At Belmont’s camp I had the opportunity to play in a woodwind quintet. I have playing in duets and trios, but I have never played in a woodwind quintet before. It was so fun to be playing music focusing on woodwinds.

Wind Ensemble

Led by Dr. Kraus, the Wind Ensemble spent two classes a day in group band rehearsals preparing music to perform in one week. My band only plays one concert a year and we get months to prepare, but one full concert with a large wind ensemble, a jazz, ensemble, woodwind quintets, brass quintets, and other instrumented ensembles is a lot to learn and prepare in one week. But we did it!!! Performing such a long, challenging program and doing it well was a huge accomplishment for everyone who participated.

Out of the two band camps I have attended, Belmont was by far my favorite. I highly recommend looking into it even if Belmont is not a school you are looking into for college. I traveled 8 hours from Arkansas to Tennessee, but one guy at camp traveled all the way from California to attend camp at Belmont . No matter where you are or who you are, look into Belmont Summer Winds Camp for next summer.