Two cellists practice a duet at Interlochen Arts Camp.
If you’ve never attended an arts camp, you might feel a bit of skepticism: Can you really learn much in just a few weeks? Is it worth the investment?
We believe the answer to both questions is “absolutely!” Students who attend summer arts programs routinely give rave reviews of their experiences describing how much they learned, how many friends they made, and how inspired they are to continue in their craft.
But beyond the course curricula, arts camps teach so much more: discipline, independence, and self-confidence, just to name a few.
Here are seven things you’ll learn at a summer arts camp—both expected and unexpected:
1. Artistic skills. What do you learn at an arts camp? Well, arts, of course! Depending on the camp program, the length, depth, and breadth of your study will vary. Some programs emphasize exploration, providing introductory instruction in a variety of arts and media to help you discover your talents. Other programs offer advanced study of one artform and may focus on one particular aspect, such as auditioning, portfolio development, or playwriting. Do some research before you apply to ensure that your chosen camp matches your interests, goals, and skill level.
2. Discipline. Whether you’re rehearsing your college audition piece or picking up a paintbrush for the first time, studying the arts will teach you discipline and dedication. No matter how much you love your art or how advanced your practice, there will always be pieces, stages, or exercises that are challenging. Pushing through those tough moments helps you grow not only as an artist, but as a person.
3. Independence. If you choose a sleep-away arts camp, independence is one of the key skills you’ll develop. For many students, camp is your first time away from home for an extended period of time. Even though you’ll have plenty of supervision in the form of counselors and teachers, you’ll still walk yourself to class, select your own meals in the cafeteria, and decide how to spend your free time.
4. Self-confidence. Putting yourself out there—on stage, on screen, on paper, or on a canvas—is one of the most difficult things you can do. At arts camp, you’ll have regular opportunities to perform for others or showcase your work in a safe, supportive environment. As you share your ideas and receive positive feedback, you’ll gain the confidence you need to take your craft to the next level.
5. Career guidance. Whether you’re interested in agriculture, engineering, or art, camps are a great way to get a preview of your prospective career. They’re also a fantastic opportunity to network within the industry and meet potential mentors. Many arts camps hire faculty from top university programs, which means your time at camp could very well be an extended audition for the college or conservatory of your dreams.
6. New perspectives. Arts camps attract students from across the country—and around the world. As you practice, rehearse, and learn, you’ll develop friendships with fellow students from diverse backgrounds and discover new ways to see both your art and the world around you.
7. Life skills. Arts camps are still, well, camps. Your daily routine will probably include a couple of cabin chores (or at least making your bunk). You’ll also learn how to manage your time and budget your money. Trust us: you’ll want to save enough money for one last ice cream with your friends on the final day of camp.
Want to experience the transformational power of an arts camp? Find the perfect program for you at camp.interlochen.org.