NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Music camps help students strengthen skills

Choir, orchestra and band camps held at New Mexico State University in June gave students some extra practice with music education professionals.

Middle school students practice playing the flute during the Las Cruces Middle School Band Camp at New Mexico State University in June. (NMSU photo by Margaret Kovar)

The orchestra camp was held June 13-17 for middle school students in the morning and for high school students in the afternoon. Middle schoolers also had the opportunity to attend a choir camp in the afternoons June 6-10 and a band camp June 20-24. First-year band students attended the morning sessions while second- and third-year students attended afternoon sessions.

About 500 students total participated in the three camps, which are held each summer for beginners as well as experienced players. The band camp was started 15 years ago, while the choir and orchestra camps were started about three years ago. The instructors were music educators from the area, including El Paso and Albuquerque.

Elementary students, depending on which camp they attended, learned about beat literacy, singing and other fundamentals. Middle and high school students focused more on technique and musicianship during the camps. Band and orchestra camp participants were able to play together, but they also received the chance to practice in smaller groups with experts in their instruments.

Camp coordinator and Mayfield High School band instructor Neil Swapp said the camps are important for a couple of reasons.

"To improve their playing, students need to play often, which doesn't always happen during the summer months. The camps offer intense practice, and students also receive the opportunity to work with experts in their instruments," he said.

A concert was held for parents and other family members at the end of each camp to showcase what the students learned and how their playing had improved.

"These camps are a great collaborative effort between New Mexico State University, Las Cruces Public Schools and the community," Swapp said. "It is great preparation for the students and helps them consider NMSU as a place to go after high school."