The WSMA High School Honors Music Project Camp experience is one of the finest in the nation. It is highly rewarding for students but is also very intense. Students that attend the High School Honors camps are all skilled and talented musicians. This can be a little overwhelming at first but ultimately, the performance with his/her Honors ensemble will be extraordinarily rewarding.
The following tips for parents are offered to assist in making the camp experience the best that it can be for the student.
Preparing for camp…
- Homesickness for some campers is common. Involve your student as much as possible with the camp preparations. Make sure to work together with the camp details to give a sense of comfort knowing that he/she is responsible for the decision to attend camp.
- Read all of the literature together so that the student knows what to expect in the camp experience. Talk with the school music teacher about camp and if possible connect with a student that has attended the camp previously.
- Before camp, avoid comments that may cause anxiety. While these types of comments are meant with the best intentions, it can add to a stress level about being away from home. Even something as simple as “I hope you will be okay” can add to an anxiety level.
- This is a very intense camp. Students will be in rehearsals every day for several hours. Please be sure your child gets enough sleep before camp. If your child is coming to us from another camp, make sure he/she is ready with enough sleep for the High School Honors camp.
- Arrange ahead of time when you and your child will call and talk. We ask that students do not use electronic devices during rehearsals. The best times to call are in the morning before 8:30 am, around the noon hour or during the supper hour. These are times when students are accessible.
- We have found that the worst time to talk with a student is at night after the final rehearsal and before bed check. This tends to be the time when he/she is tired and anxiety levels can be very high. The section coaches and Honors staff is experienced in dealing with students at camp and working through any anxiety a student might have or even cases of homesickness. Please call or email Victoria Donahue if you are concerned with your child’s camp experience.
- If your child is prescribed medication, please plan to continue that medication during camp especially if it relates to attention or behavior. All medication must be listed on the health form.
During camp/If the student is homesick:
- Please avoid repeated calls to see how how your son/daughter is doing. This only makes the homesickness worse and does not allow him/her to get into the camp routine. Avoid the idea of picking the student up if he/she asks. Once the routine is in place and he/she gets to know people at camp it is amazing how homesickness goes away.
- If your son/daughter is asking to be picked up from camp, please communicate with High School Honors Coordinator Victoria Donahue prior to making arrangements. Homesickness and other issues often can be addressed by WSMA State Honors Staff, comprised of certified and experienced educators. Students who successfully complete camp leave with a sense of pride and empowerment. Students who leave am p early relinquish their participation in WSMA State Honors Music Project.
- Sometimes no news is good news. When students have an opportunity to get into the routine, meet other students and get into the music it will amaze him/her how fast the camp will fly by and how much fun it is to be at camp.
- Ask your child to be open about feelings with the camp coaches and staff. We are all there to help as teachers and counselors. All staff members are experienced teachers and most are parents. If a child holds feelings in, it makes it a much larger problem.
- Students may feel that he/she is not as good of a musician as others at camp or that perhaps even better than the student sitting next to him/her. Seating placement puts strong students throughout the section and not just at the “top” of the section. Remember, every student invited is an excellent musician and all seating decisions are based on what will strengthen the ensemble.
- When talking to students during camp, try to remain as upbeat and positive as possible. Avoid statements that can add to anxiety.
- Because students at Honors Camps are high school age, please encourage friends to also provide support to the camper while he/she is at camp.
Ultimately, only you know your child and what works best for him/her. This list is meant as suggestions that can assist in attending the High School Honors camp as a way to make the most out of this prestigious experience. Please remember that camp staff are a phone call away and are on site to assist in providing the best camp experience possible. Please feel free to call or email Victoria Donahue, High School Honors Coordinator, at anytime day or night with questions or concerns.
WSMA derives its primary support from school memberships and fees directly related to activities for students. However, as participation by students, costs, and demand for new services has been on the rise, and school budget increases are capped in Wisconsin, student participation is often limited by schools to reduce costs. The Wisconsin Foundation for School Music actively seeks your support to ensure the future of quality music opportunities for Wisconsin students. All gifts are tax-deductible. There are numerous donation opportunities. If you are interested in helping, please visit us at: www.foundation4schoolmusic.org