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#3104163 04/09/21 12:04 PM
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Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum but have turned to it for insights and information in the past. I'm an adult who has returned to playing piano more regularly after studying in my youth. I've wanted to participate in a summer "piano retreat" for a couple of years, but of course in-person options were impossible last summer and are very limited this year. Unfortunately, I don't think I'd benefit much from a virtual option, what with a young family and rowdy dog at home.

I had really set my sights on Summerkeys (thanks in no small part to some of the reviews I read on this forum), but they are not doing their in-person sessions this summer. It appears that Rocky Ridge Music Camp in Colorado is planning to hold their adult piano program, however, so I wanted to see whether anyone had recently participated and might provide some guidance. I'm fully vaccinated and am comfortable with any in-person program that adheres to recommended safety protocols. My major questions are:

1. Is Rocky Ridge really good for pianists of all levels? (By way of reference, I would characterize myself as squarely intermediate.)
2. The campus seems nice (maybe not quite as lovely as coastal Maine, but that's just my taste). Is the overall experience enjoyable, and is there sufficient time to enjoy the surroundings?
3. Is the instruction supportive, especially for someone who hasn't taken a lesson in many years and is prone to nerves?

Any thoughts on those questions, plus any additional information or insights you may have would be greatly appreciated!

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I attended Rocky Ridge one summer a few years ago. Yes, they are very supportive of all levels of pianists; when I attended, there was at least one camper that had been playing less than two years.
The surroundings are lovely; campers stay in cabins which are fairly primitive. Even in the summer, prepare for cold. Meals are communal —excellent food.

You make your own schedule. You sign up for practice time and individual type cabins that are nestled in the woods. So you can reduce your practice time if you like to spend more time hiking. Check on the number of private lessons; I don’t believe it was everyday.

I couldn’t complain but I have found a camp where there is a one hour lesson daily and evening piano where you play fir each other. Including practice, all day is piano one way of the other. It was more what I wanted— exhausting piano.... but then I’ve been playing for many years

Hope this helps. You cans send me a PM with any questions.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Thank you so much! This is really helpful and gives me more to think about.

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Hi

I can't comment on the course itself, but if you're thinking of the Estes Park summer camp, it gets my highest recommendation for the location alone. I stayed in Estes Park in 2012 when I was on holiday in the US. You are only a couple of miles from some of the best scenery I've ever seen. The drive along the Trail Ridge Road is fabulous.

Combine that with a great music course and I honestly don't think you can go wrong.

Cheers


Simon

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I’ll be at Rocky Ridge in August! First time. I go annually to the Sonata in Bennington VT. I’m squarely intermediate as well. Truly, and probably the only one at the Vermont camp who never had lessons as a child. So maybe I’ll see you at Rocky Ridge! An idea of my level... I’ll probably work on Bach inventions 1 and 2 and Water Wagtails by Cyril Scott there.

Last edited by AlphaTerminus; 04/26/21 11:15 PM.

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I think you’ll really enjoy Rocky Ridge! I hope you will post a review in the ABF when you come back— since questions about adult music camps come up frequently


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Unfortunately I won't be able to make it to Rocky Ridge because of some scheduling conflicts that came up since I started this thread. I'm jealous of those of you who are going and please do let us know how it went!

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i will be there is Aug as well. Never have attended a piano camp.


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We’ll hi Marcia. (Jim from piano camp. Sweating the recital tonight 🤣)


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I hope you guys are enjoying the camp—- please report back when you can!
And don’t sweat the recital, it is a supportive audience 😊


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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It was a great experience. I sh#t the bed on the recital because I have severe stage fright and the piece is fast out of the gate. My previous parlaying at the Vermont camp went much better but I had chosen pieces that start slower at the beginning.

That was a learning experience for me.

The faculty is top notch and the food was excellent. That was the case in Vermont as well.

The level of talent among students was amazing.

I started learning piano as an adult and have had lessons only the last 2 years. Thus I don’t have a good ear for classical music. Therefore when playing a Bach invention for a Juliard trained professor I’m about crapping my pants.

Overall I am well out of my league here. I don’t know if I’ll be back but that’s is a reflection on me and not the camp. Also I just failed really hard at the recital, like a scale of 11/10. I was so mentally blank that I played an incoherent first 1/3 of the piece and improvised an ending because I hadn’t even got to the more difficult part.
That’s on me.

The first year I went to Vermont camp I hadn’t yet started real lessons and also felt intimidated (though I played the recital well.). So it took me 3 months to decide that I would come back.

Overal I felt more comfortable being a beginner at Bennington, though both camps have supportive and non judgmental students and faculty. Also the Vermont camp is monthly and this is just once a year. I don’t want to take a spot from someone more advanced than me that would benefit from this experience.

One thing this camp has clarified… I am not and will never be, a classics pianist. I don’t enjoy playing most classical pieces and growing up my brain was wired on pop, jazz, and country. From here on out I will choose good arrangements of music that I like. It’s neurological I think.

BTW Marcia is a super cool person!

Last edited by AlphaTerminus; 08/11/21 01:44 PM.

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I really enjoyed the camp. I am a low advanced pianist, having studied as an adult for 9 years and hardly anything as a child. I quit as soon as I could!

Yes, I was very outclassed by almost all the campers, but still felt very welcome and learned so much. Unlike Jim, I think any ability would be welcome. Teachers were excellent and I learned so much from the master classes. I plan to go back in the future. All of the people were wonderful, staff and campers alike. Accommodations are basic but adequate. Food was first rate and I gather better than some other years. Wonderful new cook

Jim I do hope you will consider coming back as we all enjoyed you. You do need to be prepared for various weather and the altitude. Not terribly easy to get to without a car, however there is an Estes Park shuttle from the airport that will drop you at the camp and pick you up.


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Originally Posted by MarciajsR
I really enjoyed the camp. I am a low advanced pianist, having studied as an adult for 9 years and hardly anything as a child. I quit as soon as I could!

Yes, I was very outclassed by almost all the campers, but still felt very welcome and learned so much. Unlike Jim, I think any ability would be welcome. Teachers were excellent and I learned so much from the master classes. I plan to go back in the future. All of the people were wonderful, staff and campers alike. Accommodations are basic but adequate. Food was first rate and I gather better than some other years. Wonderful new cook

Jim I do hope you will consider coming back as we all enjoyed you. You do need to be prepared for various weather and the altitude. Not terribly easy to get to without a car, however there is an Estes Park shuttle from the airport that will drop you at the camp and pick you up.


When I attended Rocky Ridge, there was one beginning pianist who had been studying less than one year and another that has been studying around two. They both felt welcomed and supported. I do not believe a non-classical player would feel like he/she was in the right group— there wouldn’t be ostracism but it wouldn’t feel like a good fit.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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