I teach at a number of places in the summer, all of which have different flavors, but all of which I can recommend highly. Some are remarkably cheap due to great donors and grants. And for those seeking some adventure, the festivals in Alaska are a great place to do it – and cheaper (even including the plane fare) than you would pay for doing similar festivals in the Lower 48.
Butler University Bass Camp – aka “Bad Boyz of Bass Camp” – 5 days in mid-June in Indianapolis. This camp is hosted by David Murray on the Butler University campus. The Bad Boyz of Bass are David Murray (Butler), Volkan Orhon (U of Iowa), Anthony Stoops (OU), and myself (UNCSA). Costs are extremely low (~$500 including room and board), but the rewards are very high! It is open to very young campers (12 years old) through adults. Each camper is placed in an ensemble (usually a bass quartet), gets four private lessons, participates in a daily physical warm-up session, masterclasses (if desired), technique classes, and improvisation and orchestra rep classes. No audition needed, but do sign up early – this camp often fills up! The camp concludes with a mass bass orchestra and each bass quartet performing.
SummerStrings@UNCSA – late June into July in Winston-Salem, NC. This is a chamber music program that culminates in an orchestra week at the end in July. Students will meet with me daily for warm-ups, stretching, and technique class. Students come from all over the world to study with our fine string faculty on our beautiful campus.
Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival – last two weeks in July in Fairbanks, AK. I have done this festival for 20 years. It is unique in the United States. Musicians come from all over the world in this festival that celebrates all of the arts – roots music, native wood carving, African dancing, wellness, folk music, jazz, and of course classical music. Many of my students have come here to enjoy the great beauty of Alaska and its people and have great opportunities that are hard to find elsewhere. Up to two double bassists each year are given the opportunity to perform a concerto movement with the faculty orchestra. Excellent young conductors participate in the conducting seminar in the first week, conducting a chamber orchestra made of students and faculty. Each musician is enrolled in chamber music, if desired, and coached almost daily. There are many opportunities to perform for very friendly audiences throughout the community – a perfect place to finally conquer any performance anxiety issues! The weather is usually gorgeous; 70-85 degree days are not uncommon in the interior of Alaska. Finally, it is remarkably inexpensive – just over $500 for two weeks of instruction. Room and board are extra, but it is also cheaply obtained through the university. Most people rent basses from the university, and that works out quite well. If you are interested, please let me know! I do love to take time before or after the festival to show people my home state. I have take dozens of bassists to Denali National Park for wildlife viewing and hiking, hiking in the White mountains, soaking in the Chena Hot Spring, and much more. No one has ever left disappointed. Finally, if you shop carefully, plane fares to Alaska can be found in the $500-800 range from Minneapolis, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, and more. From NC I usually expect to pay $650-700.
Orfeo Music Festival – three weeks in July in Vipiteno/Sterzing, Italy. It has been a few years since I have done this festival. However, it is an amazing place in the Italian Alps – I think perhaps the most beautiful place to visit in all of Europe. It tends to conflict with Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival…but not always. If there is no conflict, I’d love to take several students with me. Please let me know if you are interested.
Anchorage Chamber Music Festival and Chamber Music Intensive – the first or second week of August in Anchorage, AK. This is an incredible festival, with incredibly low costs in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Registrants in the Chamber Music Intensive only pay $200, thanks to generous grants from several Alaska businesses and donors. Students from out of town are put up in home-stays. Yet, a student receives a very intense chamber music experience from some of the most gifted young professionals in the United States and abroad. Please look at the roster of artists and read their remarkable bios. We are passionate about chamber music, and perform at least every other night throughout the festival. Students in the Intensive will receive multiple coachings per day, two lessons, technique classes, opportunities to study Alexander Technique, and great camaraderie with the other registrants. And yes, the pictures on the website are normal, everyday views in Anchorage. Bass students often do the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and tag this on at the end. I always budget time at the end to take my students hiking (Crow Pass, Wolverine Peak, Flat Top) and sight-seeing (Kenai Fjords Cruise, 26-Glacier Cruise out of Whittier, and more). You will never see Alaska cheaper, and learn as much about the bass at the same time! Fares to Anchorage are about $100 cheaper than to Fairbanks from the lower-48.