Opportunities in Boston for Young Musicians
Students who do well in private lessons often move ahead of their peers and need a more challenging atmosphere in order to thrive. There are several excellent opportunities as detailed below. This being said, I feel it is very important to stay in the school music program as well. Even if you are one of the strongest players, you can still learn a lot from playing in the school band and receiving the support of your teachers and peers. Support music in our schools with your presence. Brass players also benefit from frequent playing to keep the lips strong and learn leadership skills from remaining in the band.
Conservatory of Music, Preparatory Division
Offers excellent wind ensemble programs including:
1) Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble (MYWE) for grades 10 - 12, and Jr. MYWE for grades 7 - 9. Rehearses late Friday afternoons. Both are excellent groups.
2) Brass Ensembles. Students audition at the start of the school year to be placed in compatable groups. Playing in a brass ensemble is a great morale builder, and students learn chamber music skills such as intonation, ensemble blend, and phrasing. In the small group situation, each player gets lots of feedback from the instructor and other students.
3) Orchestras include the NEC Youth Philharmonic, Symphony, and Repertory Orchestras. Brass players in an orchestra play less, and count a lot of rests, but the parts you do play are fantastic. In the orchestra, brass parts are generally not doubled, so each player has a unique and important part. The orchestras tend to attract the most advanced and experienced players, and it is more competitive to earn a spot. For the top two orchestras, trombonists should know tenor and alto clefs, and trumpeters should read C trumpet, and other transposed parts.
The benefits in taking part are immense and many students thrive here
as they are surrounded by talented and enthousiastic peers and
instructors. The financial and time commitments are substantial, but I
strongly recommend that any of my students who are doing well in
lessons call for a brochure. Auditions for large ensembles are held in
the Spring, with additional auditions in the fall for any spots left
Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (617) 353-3348
- Also has an excellent orchestra program, meeting on Sundays
- New, starting 2012-2013. Should be a high intensity program that will attract ultra high level players up through age 21. No tuition fees for those who make it in. Rehearses Saturday afternoons.
Has good classes and programs including:
- Chamber Music Program - scholarship brass ensemble (trumpet, trombone, french horn and tuba) and scholarship woodwind quintet (french horn).
- Jazz Program - bands and small combos
- Orchestra - has been doing great things under the leadership of Director, Christopher Memoli.
- Groups forming now and throughout the fall. Contact the Music School at 781-235-6840 for additional information and to set up an evaluation.
Camp Jobey has good summer sessions, and now evening sessions in the school year.
Junior and Senior District Festivals and All-State
- Junior District is for strong Intermediate level players grades 6-9. Auditions are held in December. Those who make it participate in the Festival over a weekend later in the school year.
- Senior District audtions are held in November for Advanced players grades 9-12. The top players from the district are invited to Audition in January for the All-State Festival.
For dates and audition information:
- Massachusetts Music Educators' Association - (All-State)
- Eastern Massachusetts District
- Northeastern Massachusetts District
- Southeastern Massachusetts District
- Central Massachusetts District
Summer music camps are the ideal way to deepen your involvement in music. Below is information on a variety of camps I would recommend. They include day programs, two-week camps, and longer camps. Many find that after a summer at music camp, they have improved a whole year's worth, besides having a great time and making great friends!
- Summer Trombone Choir in Concord. A fantastic energizing and nurturing opportunity for low brass players ages 11 and up. Meets evenings for two weeks in the latter part of summer. Ably run by my friend and esteemed colleague, Alexei Doohovskoy.
- University of New Hampshire SYMS: Short session, excellent faculty. Highly recommended for High School and Middle School players just starting to get serious about music.
- New England Music Camp: Strong musical instruction in a nice Maine camp setting.
- Camp Encore/Coda: Nurturing and able musical instruction in a highly enjoyable Maine camp setting.
- Boston University Tanglewood Institute: Very high quality program in the Berkshires including sessions for individual instruments, Wind Ensemble or Orchestra programs are available. The two week Trombone Workshop with be superb for advanced students.
- Interlochen Arts Camp: In my opinion, the ultimate music camp! You can find alumni in just about every major orchestra and music school. Well worth the trip to this beautiful spot in Michigan.
- Luzerne Music Center: A very nice program.
- South Shore Conservatory Summer Music Festival: Middle School and High School levels. Good day only program in Hingham. Phone 781-749-7565
- Camp Jobey is going strong and has good summer sessions, and now evening sessions in the school year.
- Bar Harbor Brass Week: A very strong program in a beautiful setting.
- Kinhaven Music School. I received a tip on this camp from the parent of a high school student who had a wonderful time in this all classical program in Vermont. He did two concerts a week during the six week session including orchestra, brass, and wind ensemble programs. He found the level of the other players and instruction to be challenging and stimulating, and inspiring. There is also a shorter Junior session.
- Signature Music Camp, In Ithaca New York - on the campus of a strong music school - looks like a very nice, supportive environment, especially for younger players, with a one camp for middle school, and a two week Camp for high school.
- Eastern U.S. Music Camp has a strong reputation.
- Brass quintets, such as Atlantic Brass offer renowned brass ensemble seminars, which should be very valuable.
- Music Institute at Rhode Island College. One week camp at an attractive rate. For wind and percussion entering 9th through graduating seniors.
- BSO Days in the Arts (DARTS). One week camp of arts immersion at Tanglewood in the Berkshires for 5th, 6th, and 7th graders.
- Skidmore Jazz Institute. Very well regarded two week program for high school and adult students who are serious about improving their jazz skills. Big time faculty!
- More camps are listed on Diane Muffit's Band Notes webpage.
- The Harvard Musical Association awards several scholarships, up to $2,000 to Grade 9-12 students who play classical music. Apply in March.