Community Outreach, Education, Inspirational Stories, Pedagogy

String Camps…On the Road!


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By Beth Bultman

Just last week my husband, Kyle, and I packed up our Rochester, NY life – our house, office, and camp supplies (and our cat, too) – and took off in our motorhome. We are starting out on Scor! Tour 2016, heading to 12 Scor! Camps around the country. We drove to our first event of the season – Carolina Scor! Camp in Raleigh, NC. It was a fantastic camp, filled with music, learning, and fun. It was rewarding to see the participants’ smiles and hear the music after our 6 months of planning and preparation.

Great Lakes Scor! chamber group.
Great Lakes Scor! chamber group

What is Scor!?

Scor! is a String Camp for Adults (violin, viola, cello, bass). It’s a nurturing environment where adult string players can learn, grow, and have fun. Too many times, participants are terrified to attend or to make a mistake on their instrument, or are traumatized by past negative musical experiences. That’s why we like to say we’re all in the same boat – the mistake boat! (We’re all going to make a mistake, after all!) We love providing a non-judgmental atmosphere for musical and personal transformation.

What happens at Scor!?

A Scor! Camp is an immersion experience of sorts. We have multiple playing levels at each camp, and provide different ensembles to meet the needs of the different levels. Our camps include ensembles – daily orchestra and chamber groups, as well as technique sessions, musical skills sessions, a fiddling exploration, and a faculty recital.

Chesapeake Scor! orchestra.
Chesapeake Scor! Orchestra

This year our theme is musical teamwork. I’m excited to work with the participants to help them recognize a musical ensemble as a team of individuals with different roles. We talk about how to fulfill the different roles in an ensemble, and try to find effective ways to communicate, both verbally and musically, to produce a unified musical expression.

How did Scor! start?

Kyle and I founded Scor! after having directed the New Horizons Orchestra as part of the Eastman Community Music School. They wanted a summer learning experience, and pointed out that although opportunities for kids abound, adults don’t have as many choices. So we said, “Let’s start a camp!”. After a few years, our Rochester Scor! Camp had grown, and we kept inviting people from further away to come to Rochester for Scor! Camp each summer. But we found that most people are not able to make a long trip like that. So, in order to offer the Scor! experience to many more people around the country, we had to bring Scor! to them. That’s why we climbed in a motorhome and started 12 Scor! locations nationwide.

“Scor!” originally was an acronym for String Camp of Rochester, with the double meaning of a musical ‘score’. The exclamation point is reflective of the excitement, energy, and approach to life and learning that we encourage at Scor!. Because we now offer programs around the nation, we’ve dropped the historical “String Camp of Rochester” slogan, and replaced it with “String Camp On the Road”. Apropos!

Where is Scor!?

Scor! is… well… all over the place! Many traditional music camps for youth aspire to growing large and becoming a wonderful establishment in a particular locale, where folks from all around the nation travel to attend. Due to the spread-out nature of adult amateur players, however, this is not particularly sustainable. So, our approach is to bring transformational experiences to adult string players closer to where they live, while maintaining an efficient and effective mobile headquarters.

We put on 12 Scor! Camps a season (March – August), traveling around the country with our motorhome and cargo trailer (the Scor!-Mobile).  We have expanded our geographical reach in recent years to include 2 camps in California, plus we hold several camps in the southeast, northeast, and in Florida, Texas, Michigan, and Iowa.

The Scor!-Mobile.
The Scor!-Mobile

Kyle and I travel to all the locations and run each event. We’re also on the string faculty at each location. We don’t go back home to Rochester in between because we already have our home (our motorhome – it’s just a home on wheels) with us. We go from location to location, finding time in between to keep up with the office and administrative work of running a non-profit organization that puts on 12 events a year with only 2 staff members.

Why did you start Scor!?

We love being able to combine our passions and fill the needs of others at the same time. Our passions include music, string instruments, education and learning, personal growth and transformation, travel, and Kyle really has a thing for the fineries of rigs – specifically motorhomes ( I don’t mind living in one but I don’t know how to fix it!). In any case, we are also able to meet the needs of those adult string players out there who may feel isolated, discouraged, or just need more instruction and playing experience. We can teach, encourage, and inspire adult string players at each event. How cool!

How can I find out about Scor!?

Check out our website at www.StringCamp.com and sign up for our E-Newsletters, where you’ll get free string-playing tips, as well as news of upcoming events. Ask to join our Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/111014369198/?ref=bookmarks and check out recent photos of events.

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