Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Past and present students share memories from SAIL Music Camp

SAIL Camp is in its 27th year of introducing music to Lincoln students, and students new and old want to keep coming back. The week of July 25th was first session, while the second session is coming to a close this week of August 1-5th. Jessica Dussault first attended SAIL the summer before she entered fourth grade, the next two summers she came back to play in the second session and in the honors orchestra. “I had a blast every year,” she said. She also says that SAIL gave her a huge head start on learning the cello. What normally takes months to learn, with SAIL camp, “the process is compressed into just one week.”
Dussault was later a recipient of a generous scholarship from SAIL Camp as she headed to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln to study music. She said that this demonstrates “yet another way that the organization is dedicated to encouraging students to continue playing throughout their lives.” This year, she filled the role of “lieutenant” or teacher for the first time. She’s come full circle, “I was a bit nervous to be a teacher this year, starting kids on the cello alongside the same local musicians who once taught me how to play, but it has been a really great experience.” By the end of the week, you know that “everything the fourth graders know is something that they've been taught by you.” With the fifth graders who are at all different levels, Dussault said she “spent a lot of time talking about the audition process for YES (the Youth Ensemble of Strings), famous cellists, and playing musical games in order to keep everyone excited about camp, even though they were all at different levels of playing ability.

Deanna Steward already knew that SAIL was a great experience since her son had attended a few years ago, and this year, her daughter, Kara, was excited to attend for the first time. Kara, who was learning cello, loved the games, gym, and Mozart Money. When asked what she thought of SAIL, Kara excitedly said: “It was awesome!” and she can’t wait to go back next year. Kara was also excited that although she had simply been learning how to pluck the strings, but by the end of the week, she had learned bow-hold and “didn’t even have to look at my strings anymore.” She thought that playing the pieces was really exciting because she felt like she knew them so well by the end of camp.

Deanna liked the experience “very much,” and she likes that SAIL is “motivating for kids to see other kids doing this same thing and working together to create really cool music...she gets a little boost seeing other people doing the same thing.” With a smile, she said “I wish I could have done that when I was her age!”

Much like Kara’s first experience, Dussault remembers her first year at SAIL: “I can clearly remember two specific memories from when I was a fourth grader starting out on cello. I recall being extremely frustrated in class trying to put my fingers down on the strings AND move the bow in the right direction AND play on the correct string without overlapping others, but by the end of the camp suddenly it wasn't so hard after all! I also remember saving my Mozart Money and Copland Cash up so I could buy all sorts of dolphin key chains and fun things. I still have a toy lizard that I bought ten years ago hanging out in a potted plant.”

Whether or not the students choose to go on in music, they have learned important skills for life through SAIL with the focus needed to learn their instrument and learn to work together to make music! This is an experience that lasts through their life.

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