Rappahannock Summer Music Camp

Join us for our 15th Season!

Class Descriptions

Class Choice Form will be open in May, 2020.

Click here for the online Class Choices Form.

Possible Elective Choices for 2020 (subject to change):

Elective classes - Instructions
 List one
 List two
 Students will attend two choice classes - one from list one, and another from list two.
 Barbershop Workshop
 Musical Theater
 When filling out the class choice form, students will indicate their 1st and 2nd
 Beginning Piano
 Jazz Improv
 choice of classes from each list. In the case that their 1st preferred class is already full, 
 Jazz History
 Ear Training
 the student will be put into their 2nd preferred class. Sign up as early as possible
 Mini Marching Band
 for the best chance at getting your most preferred class.
 Art Class
 Instrument Repair

Elective Class Descriptions (Performance Program):

Art Class

Instructor: Rebecca Russell

Art classes will offer interaction with a variety of materials. Activities will be open-ended, allowing students to make selections and express him\herself freely with the art medium being presented each day. Examples of activities include marble painting, collage, relief art, scratch art and painting on a canvas panel.

Barbershop Workshop
Instructor: Alex Charles

Who can take this class: Anyone! Boys AND Girls!

This course is designed to give interested individuals an introduction into the world of the barbershop style of a cappella singing. Students will gain experience in both ensemble and individual singing while learning the basics of the barbershop style, tag-singing, and the Polecats, the standard repertoire of the genre that all other barbershop music is based on. Students will also learn useful skills involving management and development in chamber music settings.
Note: While barbershop harmony is most commonly regarded as a male dominated hobby, it is by no means exclusive to men's voices. 

Beginning Piano Skills
Instructor: Ben Brosche

Who can take this class: students with little or no background in piano
This class introduces students with little or no previous experience in piano to the techniques and skills used by pianists. The ability to play piano and read in both Treble and Bass Clefs at the same time with ease is a skill needed and utilized by all professional musicians regardless of primary instrument. Beginning Piano is taught as a group class. Students will play various pieces, scales, chords, and more!

Instructor: Erika Batalla

Who can take this class: students of ALL instruments
This class is an introduction to basic conducting skills with an emphasis on the art and study of conducting, baton technique, left hand technique, non-verbal communication, leadership, conducting terminology, and score reading. Batons will be provided.

Ear Training


Who can take this class: students of ALL instruments SHOULD take this class!

Ear Training, or Aural Skills, is a required class in every single music program in colleges across the country. Students learn to listen and identify and notate notes, rhythms, chords, etc. 

Instrument Repair
Instructor: various

Who can take this class: students of ALL instruments
Students will learn the inner workings of string, woodwind, and brass instruments, and learn how to fix the basic problems associated with them. Students will become comfortable with such processes as changing strings, restringing rotors, assembling and disassembling brass instruments, and fixing woodwind keys, corks, and springs, among others.

Jazz Improv
Instructor: Aaron Noe

Who can take this class: students of ALL instruments
Students will learn the basics of improvising in jazz music (swing, rock, latin styles). Students will learn how to apply scales to chord changes, and how to interpret the chord symbols. Although students of ALL instruments (including strings) can take this class, Jazz Ensemble is restricted to traditional instrumentation (sax, tbone, trumpet, rhythm section). String students interested in a Jazz/Rock Ensemble can take Rock for Strings instead.

Jazz History
Instructor: Michael Huffman
Who can take this class: students of ALL instruments
This class is an overview of the history of jazz music, how it originated and developed. Students will develop a broader understanding of the historical jazz icons and jazz genres. 

Mini Marching Band
Instructor: Sara Speer

Who can take this class: students of ALL instruments (INCLUDING strings and double reeds)

Students will be instructed on how to hold themselves and their instruments, how to respond to marching commands, and how to play on the move without it sounding like the musician is walking. By the end of the week, students will have memorized a short piece of music and be able to move in combination with each other to add the visual aspect to their sound. 

Musical Theater

Instructor: Amber French
Who can take this class: students of ALL instruments who like to sing and act!
Student will learn and prepare a song with choreography. If enough progress is made throughout the week, a performance on Friday or Saturday is possible. 

Other Classes:

Think of Workshop as a Masterclass, Rep Class, or group lesson class. Each masterclass is specific to one instrument, and is taught by a professional on that instrument. Topics will vary by teacher but may include technique, breathing, embouchure, tone quality, reeds, performance practice, literature, and others. 

Chamber Music
Chamber Music is a chance for students to perform duets, trios, quartets, or in a small ensemble. Specific ensembles include Flute Choir, Clarinet Choir, Saxophone Ensemble, Double Reed Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Piano Duet, and String Ensembles. 

Music Theory

All students are required to take Music Theory. An assessment quiz will be given to all students on Registration Day. The Music Theory class will teach the basic rudiments of music and notation, including clefs, key signatures, intervals, triads, 7th chords, scales, the circle of 5ths, relative and parallel scale relationships, time signatures, simple and complex rhythms, Roman numerals, figured bass, and 4-part writing. 

Junior Instrumental Classes

Classes include Brass Class, Woodwind Class, Percussion Class, and String Class. Junior students will get plenty of hands-on time with every instrument in each instrumental group. Students will learn how to hold the instrument, form an embouchure, correct finger placement, and other introductory things to get started playing that instrument. 

Recreation Time

Every student has time built in to their schedule for recreation. The Recreation Coordinator will plan different activities each day, including board games, card games, and outdoor recreation (weather permitting). Students may also choose to practice during Rec Time, or take a private lesson.



Students will audition into one of the different levels of band. Instrumentation includes all wind and percussion instruments. Students in band will perform at the final concert on Saturday.

Students will audition into one of the different levels of orchestra. Instrumentation includes all stringed instruments. Students in orchestra will perform at the final concert on Saturday. 

Advanced Choir 

This choral ensemble is for students who are interested in performing higher-level literature in a more advanced vocal atmosphere. Students must audition for this ensemble. The Advanced Choir will perform at the final concert on Saturday.


Students interested in the jazz band must audition for consideration into the ensemble. Instrumentation for the jazz band is traditional (saxes, tbones, trumpets, and rhythm section). Students in jazz band will perform at the final concert on Saturday.

RSMC Chorus

All students will participate in this camp chorus. The Chorus will perform at the final concert on Saturday. 

The purpose of an all-camp chorus is to bring the entire camp together for one hour of the day. Instrumentalists benefit from choral exposure in many ways:

  • improves sight-reading
  • improves ear training
  • improves breathing
  • encourages acute listening
  • improves intonation
  • application of music theory concepts (score reading, different clefs, harmonization, 4-part writing, etc.)

The idea of a unified chorus for all music students is not new or unique to RSMC. Just about every quality music camp in the U.S., as well as every college or university music program requires chorus for instrumental students. Some students love to sing, some do not. Some have never tried it before. All students are encouraged to keep an open mind when trying something new, understanding that there are benefits and applications to other musical parts of their lives.