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Thread: mandolin camp

  1. #1

    Default mandolin camp

    Hey everyone,

    I'm looking into attending my first mandolin or general fiddle camp next year somewhere in the west.

    I'm probably an advanced beginner or low intermediate level player right now, presumably getting a little better by next spring/summer.

    Right now I'm mostly playing bluegrass, folk, traditional and celtic. I'm not a singer or dancer and I can't read music so it's either tab or memory. I'd like to get better at improv and leading.

    I don't mind camping but wouldn't mind a shared room either. I live well north of Salt Lake City. If I don't fly I need to carpool, rent a car or take the bus. My family would probably prefer I don't extend the trip with an associated music festival before or after but one extra day might be okay.

    For my first camp I don't want to drop a ton of money so I created a spreadsheet to roughly add up tuition, lodging, food, and transportation. These five are in the $500-1000 range:
    • Weiser Music Camp (Boise) - cheapest by $400 (can take the bus easily)
    • Bluegrass Music Camp (Grass Valley) - bluegrass only
    • Montana Fiddle Camp (Great Falls) - 2 days longer than others
    • River of West Mandolin Camp (Portland) - mandolin only
    • Walker Music Camp (San Francisco)


    I considered Targhee but it's close to $1350.

    1. Anything I might be missing that hasn't been announced yet or is more eastward?
    2. How many days is optimal for a first camp?
    3. Any experiences with these camps in particular?
    4. Mandolin only vs. Mixed group?
    5. Level of proficiency that is optimal for a camp to get the most out of it? Skill set at that level?
    6. Other thoughts?

    Thanks for your insights!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    The Great Northwest
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: mandolin camp

    Bluegrass Camp at Menucha in the Columbia Gorge. You need to pull the trigger fast, it usually fills quickly.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: mandolin camp

    Quote Originally Posted by mandokismet View Post
    Hey everyone,

    I'm looking into attending my first mandolin or general fiddle camp next year somewhere in the west.

    I'm probably an advanced beginner or low intermediate level player right now, presumably getting a little better by next spring/summer.

    Right now I'm mostly playing bluegrass, folk, traditional and celtic. I'm not a singer or dancer and I can't read music so it's either tab or memory. I'd like to get better at improv and leading.

    I don't mind camping but wouldn't mind a shared room either. I live well north of Salt Lake City. If I don't fly I need to carpool, rent a car or take the bus. My family would probably prefer I don't extend the trip with an associated music festival before or after but one extra day might be okay.

    For my first camp I don't want to drop a ton of money so I created a spreadsheet to roughly add up tuition, lodging, food, and transportation. These five are in the $500-1000 range:
    • Weiser Music Camp (Boise) - cheapest by $400 (can take the bus easily)
    • Bluegrass Music Camp (Grass Valley) - bluegrass only
    • Montana Fiddle Camp (Great Falls) - 2 days longer than others
    • River of West Mandolin Camp (Portland) - mandolin only
    • Walker Music Camp (San Francisco)


    I considered Targhee but it's close to $1350.

    1. Anything I might be missing that hasn't been announced yet or is more eastward?
    2. How many days is optimal for a first camp?
    3. Any experiences with these camps in particular?
    4. Mandolin only vs. Mixed group?
    5. Level of proficiency that is optimal for a camp to get the most out of it? Skill set at that level?
    6. Other thoughts?

    Thanks for your insights!
    https://www.mandoberlin.com/river-west-camp.php

    I've attended ROW for the last 10 years. The camp covers a variety of mandolin genres: classical, bluegrass, jazz/swing, and old-time. All skill levels are welcome, although a first-timer should have a few lessons beforehand. Classes run from Thursday afternoon to Saturday evening, with a student concert on Sunday morning. Each class is about 1 1/2 hours long, Time is also set aside for practicing with your concert group. There is plenty of time in between formal sessions for jamming. Instruction is geared to the mandolin, but other instruments may be welcome during the informal jams, so if you play another instrument, you should bring it.

    Camp attendance is limited to approximately 50, and fills up quickly. I think registration may open up before the new year.

  4. #4

    Default Re: mandolin camp

    A bit out of your way but the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Camp is great and about the best value going. It is the middle of July and in Moses Lake, WA (about 1 15min from Spokane). You arrive Sunday anytime and classes are Monday - Thursday 9-11:30 and 1-3:30 and Friday 9-11:30. There is dancing in the evening, a band competition and scramble, instructors concert Thursday night and jamming. There is beginning, intermediate and advance mandolin. There have been between 300-350 students and probably 10% mandolins. Overall the instructors are great and the atmosphere is really great (lots of kids and lots of energy). You can camp for free or find other accommodations. The tuition is $175 for adults and $75 for kids, truly a bargain.


    I have attended the ROW camp once, my only other camp. It is held in a retreat above the Columbia River. It has simply stunning views and the facility is really great. Lodging is so so but depending on location but is fine and the food is terrific. The instructors are top notch as well. I think this camp should be on everyone's short list at least once.

  5. #5

    Default Re: mandolin camp

    Thanks for everyone's thoughts...

  6. #6

    Default Re: mandolin camp

    Iíve been to a couple of the camps you list here are my thoughts.

    Montana Fiddle Camp is held in a remote area, itís best if you Camp on site. There are hotels in Monarch and Neihart but they are small and services are limited. The nearest city is Great Falls but itís about 40-50 minutes away. There was a lot of downtime during the day, the nightly instructor concerts were great.

    ROW Mandolin Camp - Iíve been several times, the accommodations are sparse with shared rooms and bath but the camp itself is great. Instructors are top notch and food is very good. Itís small as only about 50 people go but itís what makes it a really good camp.

    I find 3-5 days is about right for a camp as there is just so much you can absorb. Most camps expect you to have at least a working knowledge of the mando and I really like that the ROW Camp is mandocentric.
    Northfield NF5M #268

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