Saturday, July 15, 2006

Getting Ready for Camp

All sorts of thoughts are going through my head as I anticipate the upcoming week of music “camp” at Chautauqua. At least I know what to expect having done this last year.

When I called ahead to register, I signed up for 4 hours of practice time a day. This year I will be in practice hut #14. It is outfitted with a piano and is big enough to hold at least Deborah and her bass and Bill, our coach. That will probably just about do it.

On Monday we will gather at 10 AM in the Music School to see who showed up and to form little groups of chamber players for the week. Then there is the issue of figuring out what each group is going to learn and play in the “recital” at the end of week. This is the absolutely scariest part for me. I have to be absolutely certain that I don’t get committed to playing something that is beyond my ability to learn in just 5 days. That’s not a lot of time, even at 4 hours a day.

We will then start to practice as a group and in between on our own. We will be coached by really great musicians, who probably secretly roll their eyes before sitting down to a session with us amateurs. But I think they actually give us a lot of credit for leaving our non-music jobs behind and working intensively as musicians for a week. It gives us just a small taste of what it would be like to do this as a profession.

It can be a test of your nerves as you get used to 3 or 4 new personalities and have to figure out how to work together. It’s a case where a bad apple sticks out immediately. There’s only so much any other player can do to compensate for someone who can’t pull his or her weight. God, I hope that’s not ME!

These are my thoughts as I sit here throwing things in my suitcase, trying to remember what I forgot to bring last year. Oh yeah, I remember now. Last year was the scorcher, where it was above 95 degrees every day and no one had air conditioning. Let’s hope that’s not the case this year. Extra shorts and tank tops just in case.

In addition to music, I hope to take some yoga classes and do morning meditation, maybe down by the lake. There will definitely be time to spend with my husband and with my 4 other housemates, including Deborah and her husband. We’ll have chilled white wine and (store-bought) appetizers on the porch of our house in the late afternoon before dinner. Dinner will be whatever we can make in 20 minutes or less. This is not a week for heavy-duty cooking.

I remind myself that Chautauqua is that magical place where there is no bad news, where the ice cream is the best in the world, and where the symphony concerts in the amphitheater by the lake are like being in heaven.

Although it sounds like I am trading my government job for another sort of demanding job, it is actually a welcome change. In just a week I will already be mourning the fact that summer camp is over and looking ahead to next year, when once again I will luxuriate in a week of making music with other people.


Blogger Kristin said...

People - coaches, friends and family, alike - should give you a lot of credit for leaving [your] non-music jobs behind and working intensively as musicians for a week." It shows an amazing amount of dedication and it sounds like a fantastic experience. I look forward to hearing more about it.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Sounds wonderful, especially the meditation and yoga by the lake. Will your husband join you for that? Imagine having wine at camp!! All we had as kids was a tuck shop where we could buy candy every 2nd night!! Red licorice!!!
Have a super time and make some good music!

10:31 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

You are blessed to have the talent to play an instrument. Music is the voice of the soul.

12:51 PM  

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