By Jonathan Roberts
As much as I love the piano, I know it can be a very lonely instrument. Young pianists don’t often have the social opportunities and camaraderie that string, voice, and wind students have with orchestra, chorus, and band class. It is with this in mind, I am so excited to direct South Shore Conservatory’s (SSC) first-ever summer piano camp. The SSC Hingham campus is a wonderful outdoor setting for summer programs, and with many pianos in the building, along with a piano in the outdoor amphitheater in the summer, this is the perfect location for a world-class piano camp.
SSC Piano Camp is open to students of all levels (even very beginning), from ages 5-18. Classes include many diverse age-appropriate activities such as keyboard/rhythm games, masterclasses, piano ensemble (duets and six-hand piano), improvisation, technology, music theory, and more. Each day ends with a fun, casual student recital in the amphitheater, where the students can show off what they have learned. The camp faculty includes some of SSC’s own incredible piano department faculty members, plus five world-class pianist/educators from around the country. Together, they will undoubtedly provide an unforgettable week for the camp students.
Lauren Whittaker, one of our SSC Suzuki piano teachers and a Piano FUNdamentals instructor, has done amazing work with the youngest students of our department, both in her teaching and building community among the students. I am thrilled that Lauren will be a member of our camp faculty.
Co-chair of SSC’s Jazz/Rock/Pop department, Ed Broms has one of the largest and most diverse piano studios at the Conservatory, and I am very excited that he will be teaching at our first piano camp. Ed will be sharing his talents through improvisation, songwriting, ear training, and more over the course of the camp week.
Julie Knerr is co-author of the new, incredibly popular Piano Safari piano method. Her extensive work in the development of musicianship and proper piano technique in young piano students has had a major impact on a generation of piano teachers.
A leader in music learning theory, Marilyn Lowe is the creator of the Music Moves for Piano series, which helps the youngest piano students learn music in the same manner they learn language.
Irina Gorin is one of the most established pedagogues for children in the United States and beyond. In addition, Irina contributes to the enrichment of piano teachers, regularly conducting workshops and masterclasses. In fact, she will be conducting a teacher workshop at SSC the weekend following piano camp! Irina is the creator of the “Tales of a Musical Journey” series, which is the culmination of her vast education and teaching experience.
Mario Ajero is professor of piano at Stephen F. Austin State University, and is internationally recognized as an authority in music technology in piano pedagogy and music education. Dr. Ajero has a YouTube channel with over 16,000 followers and hosts “The Piano Podcast with Mario Ajero.”
World-class pianist Zsolt Bognár has traveled as recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. In addition, he is the host of the growing online film series, “Living the Classical Life,” highlighting the world, work and process of today’s most famous performers and musical personalities.
I have always believed that to provide an extraordinary educational experience in music, one must find the most extraordinary musicians and educators. I am confident and excited that the first SSC Piano Camp will be just that – a world-class, fun-filled experience for the South Shore and beyond.
SSC Piano Camp runs August 14-18 at South Shore Conservatory, One Conservatory Drive in Hingham. Students may register online at http://sscmusic.org/piano-camp.html, or at 781-749-7565, ext. 10.
Jonathan Roberts is the chair of South Shore Conservatory’s piano department.