Hopefully we have already established that the best way to get that All State music learned is to attend a summer camp where you can immerse yourself in it for several days. Camp is also a great way to get to know other singers and to explore a college campus, if that’s where the camp is held.
If you haven’t signed up for one yet, there’s still time! Virtually every week of the summer there is a camp somewhere in the state of Texas. I’ve listed every camp I can find on my studio website HERE. So go sign up!
Here are my tips to make that camp experience fruitful, healthy, and fun.
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Prepare Your Voice….. So many students come back from camp hoarse and exhausted. Sometimes they even tell me they went the last day or two at camp with no voice and couldn’t rehearse at all — what’s the good in that?
If you’ve taken a break from singing this summer it’s time to get back into shape. Sing a little bit each day and then a little bit more as camp approaches. Don’t expect to go from sitting on the couch to singing 8 hours a day for four days straight without consequences!
If you can swing it, start getting to know the music before you go. At the very least, listen to the music a lot. You may be bored at times if the rehearsal is moving slowly and you know your stuff, but believe me, it’s better than being completely lost!
ZZzzzzz……You’ll likely be sleeping in a strange bed and may be sharing a room with a stranger. Camps tend to jam-pack the schedule and give you only a few hours for sleep. On top of that, you’ll be energized by the excitement of the day and surrounded by fun people who tempt you to stay up late to socialize. Resist temptation, and bring what you need to sleep well to make those few winks count: a special pillow or blanket, an eye mask, travel humidifier, noise-canceling headphones, etc.
It gets sweaty…… and honestly, sometimes there’s a cute baritone across the room (#Barihunk) so you may not want to look like that chap stick tube you accidentally left in the car on a hot day. Dress in comfortable, breathable clothing. Maybe don’t wear your shortest shorts or skirt (lots of walking + sticking to chairs + chub rub….yuck) but don’t wear long, thick jeans either. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to carry some travel-sized deodorant in your bag. For everyone’s sake. 😉
Take care of those feet…….College campuses are a LOT bigger than your high school. You’ll be walking, a lot, everywhere, quickly and standing a lot in rehearsals. So it’s best to pack some tennis shoes or sturdy sandals like Birkenstocks. Personally, if my feet hurt, I’m not a nice person to be around and getting a blister on the first day of camp is a major bummer! Also, it won’t hurt to bring slippers for the cold dorm-room floor and cheap flip-flops for those icky communal showers.
Be kind to your body….. Dorm buffets can either be a treasure trove or a major disappointment. Either way, there will be options, so choose foods that with nourish you. Protein and veggies should take the center of your plate. If you feel like pigging out, do that for your last meal of the day. Pizza, cookies, and soda for breakfast, lunch, and dinner will have you nodding off in rehearsal.
Bring some of your own snacks and pack them in your rehearsal bag. Don’t forget your vitamins, neti-pot, and a really, really big water bottle as well!
During rehearsal it’s important to use your voice wisely. You are NOT obligated to sing every note of every rehearsal all day long. Once you understand what’s going on, there is no need to repeat it ad nauseum, so sit out the last few repetitions. Sit up and breathe well, because unsupported singing can tire out your voice. If you’re feeling vocally exhausted, be smart and rest your voice. You will learn plenty by listening and jotting down notes.
*Also, if you are rehearsing and think that you might be in the wrong section (if it all feels too high or too low), get up and go to the other room! Any camp will be happy to accommodate you so that you can learn the correct notes at camp.
Happy camping, everyone!