Summer is still many months off, but now is the time for serious (and even not-so-serious) double bass students to think about some summer study. One can learn more in a one-week music camp than in an entire year of study. this is the case even with an excellent bass teacher. There is something about being pulled out of your comfort zone and put into an unfamiliar enviroment that really develops your musicianship. I have a list of summer festivals I recommend that my students check out on my links page. Some are extremely difficult to get into, and some admit everybody.
It is a really good idea to go to as many different summer festivals as possible. Everytime you enter a new musical environment, you surround yourself with new teachers, new fellow students, new conductors, and all the new music-making ideas that these people have. Every time I came back from a summer festival I felt like I was a completely different player, and I know that many of my students have felt the same way.
Choosing whether to stay local or go far away can be a tough decision. For younger students I would recommend camps such as Birch Creek, MYA, Blue Lake, and Pine Mountain. These camps are all close to home. For the late high school student I would recommend Sewanee, Brevard, the National High School Music Institute, or Interlochen. These are for older students and are farther away from Chicago. Aspen, Tanglewood, NRO, NOI, and PMF are all for very advanced college-age students.
Lastly, there are several bass-only camps that I highly recommend. The Bradetich Master Classes and Karr Kamp will give you an unbelievable amount of knowledge and really help your playing. These are camps mostly for high school and beyond, and I’d encourage anyone with a serious interest in the double bass to check them out.