February 2020


Dear Fellow Music Parents,

Summer vacation. Students look forward to it all year but for parents of musicians it can be a
challenging time. You may be wondering how to keep your child engaged and motivated to practice
during the long summer months. Attending a camp like Rocky Ridge can fill the summer gap.
When my son was in middle school, his cello teacher suggested he attend Rocky Ridge as his first
summer music camp. I remember thinking, “What could my son possibly learn from a sleepaway
experience that he couldn’t get from taking lessons and practicing at home over the summer?” It turns
out that it was more than we could imagine.

Rocky Ridge is a special place. Set in the tall pines at the base of Longs Peak, the central historic
lodge is the heart of the camp and is where campers and faculty gather to eat and perform. The camp
is cozy with a ratio of 1 faculty member/counselor to each 3 campers and feels like a large musical
family. Scattered among the trees are numerous practice cabins where campers practice without
distractions like cell phones or wifi. It isn’t unusual for campers to practice perched on a boulder or on a
chair outside of their cabin because the natural setting is truly inspiring.

Practicing on his own was a new experience for my son. As a music mom, I had always been an
integral part of his music lessons and practice. At Rocky Ridge, he learned to be responsible for
making sure he practiced effectively, with faculty readily available to support him if needed. Learning to
be independent and self directed was an important skill that my son carried with him when he returned
home, not just in his musical life but in his academic pursuits as well.

Rocky Ridge offers its campers many opportunities to step out of their musical comfort zones. During
my son’s first summer in the Junior Music Program, he participated in choir and loved it! The
experience gave him the confidence to try something new and taught him how to bring more of a voice
to his instrument. The entire camp also wrote a music composition using sounds in innovative ways,
from the strumming of the actual piano strings to the ringing of the iconic camp bell. The Rocky Ridge
faculty are passionate about teaching and create a comfortable and supportive environment for
campers to learn and grow as musicians.

Daily life at Rocky Ridge means that faculty and campers create a unique musical community. Campers
work with each other in small chamber groups in addition to participating in the camp orchestra. They
also work with different faculty members and learn to communicate about music outside of their own
instrument and individual teacher. Many of the faculty return year after year and serve as mentors as
the campers strive to reach their music goals. For my son, Rocky Ridge became his musical home for
six summers and he regularly keeps in touch with campers and faculty he worked with there.
Rocky Ridge and its accomplished and nurturing faculty played an essential part in making my son into
the musician and person he is today. He will always carry the spirit of Rocky Ridge with him.

Kristen Penny, camp mom and board member of Rocky Ridge Music Center