Summer Music Camps: Think Big, Start Early

Susan Mangione, a GRYS parent, has assembled the following advice about participating in summer music camps base on experiences with her daughter.  

Start Early

Begin looking into camps, competitions and scholarship opportunities when school starts, as many deadlines (some requiring CDs or DVDs) are due right after the first of the year. Some competitions have fees.

GRYS Skip Gates Concerto Competition

  • More information is available online here.
  • Auditions are in February
  • Everyone in Classical Orchestra and Youth Symphony is eligible (and it’s free)
  • Prize money is awarded to several competitors
  • Winner gets to perform at the May concert
  • If you win first place, you may not participate again, but all others may audition again

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Scholarships

Interlochen Fine Arts Camp Scholarships

Meadowmount School of Music (For Strings only)

Calvin String Summit (For Strings only)

 Mildred Troske Music Scholarships

  • Click on “Receive”
  • Click the scholarships link
  • Scholarship applications are begin December 2012
  • High school students are eligible but may not be awarded  as much
  • To receive money, you must designate the institution it will go to before you can receive it. If you want to go to Interlochen, for instance, in the summer of 2013, and win the scholarship, but decide instead to go to Blue Lake, you lose the money, as it will only be able to go to where you first stated.

 Friends of the Symphony Young Artists Competition

 Stulberg International String Competition

Doing your own Benefit Concert

Often we learn of opportunities too late to apply for scholarships, or learn whether or not we will receive the scholarship after we have already committed to the program (and its costs). Mr. Varineau offers this solution…a Benefit Concert to raise funds for your camp participation. Here are some tips on doing one.

  • Planning is key to a successful event. Decide where and when you will play.
  • Call local AM radio stations to ask if you may be on their show to tell about your event
  • Besides Facebook invites, look for clearance blank wedding invitations to make your own invites or programs. (Meijer had a box of 25 that was normally $20 marked down to $5, and two weeks later marked down to $2) People are more likely to take paper invitations more seriously than Facebook ones. Here is a sample invite:

You are invited to a free concert by

name/names. He/She/They have been accepted to

Name of Camp/Program

in City, State for # weeks of training.

To help defray the cost, donations will be accepted.

Please join us on



Street Address

City, State


Dessert reception to follow

RSVP to whomever

  • Have a jar or box available for donations
  • Ask your teacher to be the MC for the event
  • Be sure to write, “Thank you” notes to all who give to you