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

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.

University of Arkansas Clarinet Day 2016

This past Monday, Nophachai Cholthitchanta from the University of Arkansas hosted a Clarinet Day for young clarinetists to have the opportunity to take master classes and watch recitals from world-class players. Over 100 students from junior high to college levels came to participate in the event. This years guests  were Andrew Simon’s, the Principle Clarinetist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Wolfgang Lohf from Lohff & Pfeiffer USA.

Opening Concert

The event began with an opening concert performed by Nophachai’s Clarinet Studio and… well me. For our performance we played Percy Grainger’s Molly on the Shore and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Video is coming soon.

History of Clarinet Lecture

After the studio performance, Nophachai gave a lecture on the history of clarinets. I could write an entire post on his lecture and his collection of over 400 clarinets but to sum it up, we leaned to determine the difference between German, French, and English clarinet models and listened to him play Sonata No. 1 for Clarinet and bass on a 6 key boxwood clarinet:

Andrew Simon’s Recital #1

Andrew Simon blew me away in both of his performances, but I was particularly excited for his first recital because he was playing the International Clarinet Associations clarinet competition repertoire(indicated with an *). He and his pianist, Tomaoko Kashiwagi played:

Cantilene for Clarinet and Piano by Louis Cahuzac

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Camile Saint-Saens

I. Allegretto

II. Allegro animato

III. Lento

IV. Molto allegro- Allegretto

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Francis Poulenc

I. Allegro tristamente

II. Romanza*

III. Allegro con fuoco

Suit for “Carmen” trans. Richard Stolzman by George Bizet

Sequidilla

Gypsy Dance

Each piece was a unique and amazing experience. I am so grateful for the opportunity to listen to him play classical french clarinet repertoire.

Master Classes

After Nophachai’s performance and lecture, everyone divided up to participate in their master classes. Their were master classes for Junior High Students, High School Students, All State Qualifiers, and a master class on customized clarinets led by Wolfgang Lohf. I participated in the All State Qualifiers Master Class led by Nophachai.

In the All State Master Class, we worked on applying different rhythms to better practice our c minor thirds and played our etude. Their were about 25 people in the master class from across Arkansas and each of us played one life of the etude and were given tips on how to better execute the piece. A lot of us got comments on air. With out strong air, you wont sound confident or have a good tone. Confidence and tone are key to a perfect audition.

Andrew Simon’s Master Class

After our lunch break, Andrew Simon gave a series of master classes to University clarinetist from the University of Arkansas, the University of Central Arkansas, and Arkansas Tech University.

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Andrew Simon and Madison Smith

While watching these master classes I learned a lot about breathing, phrasing, and throat tones. Andrew Simon made lots of comments on the importance of understanding breath marks in reference to rhythms and phrasing. If you breath at the wrong time you can be changing rhythms and breaking up a phrase. I had never really thought about how taking breaths in music can actually change the way it sounds, but through listening to him play the same phrase 3 times and breathing at different spots, I was amazed to hear that ir really did change the feel and phrasing of the excerpt. Throat tones are just another beast all together. I find that no matter what I do, my throat tones never sound they way I want them to. Andrew Simon addressed several things in reference to throat tones. One was to be sure to not over blow the notes in an attempt to correct them because it will have the opposite effect and make the notes sound even worse. He also noted to be sure that you aren’t covering the F key with your left thumb while playing B Flat with the register key because it will affect the pitch. To avoid this, he suggested to exaggerate your fingerings and or get your key rings adjusted. But I think the most important thing he stressed in his master classes was playing your etudes and pieces all the way through at the end of each of your practice sessions. This allows you to find the parts that are still tripping you up so that you know what to practice next time, and makes sure that the first time you play the piece all the way through isn’t the day you are performing it on stage or in the audition room.

Andrew Simon’s Recital #2

At the end of the day, Andrew Simon performed a second recital including:

Introduction, Theme and Variations bu Gioachino Rossini

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Malcolm Arnold

A Set for Clarinet by Donald Martino

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in Eflat by Johannes Brahms

I. Allegro con brio

II. Andantino

III. Furioso

Diversions on a Familiar Theme by Joseph Horovitz

Andrew Simon never ceased to impress me. But m favorite pieces he played were not in the program. I loved his two encore pieces. He played some classic New  York Jazz music for his encore that blew me away. Luckily for you I have uploaded his entire second recital you YouTube that you can watch here  or on my videos page.

Overall I had an amazing time performing with the clarinet studio, taking master classes, meeting Andrew Simon, and of course getting out of school.  I highly recommend that you look into finding events near you that are free and go learn and have fun. If you are interested in attending Clarinet Day next year, check out the University of Arkansas web page here.