5Maine Fiddle Camp is about playing music and learning tunes, and being able to play and enjoy those tunes with other people whatever your level of experience or ability. Before camp, each camper receives access to the year’s collection of tunes that are posted on Tunes page on our Web site. The collection includes a variety of tunes chosen by MFC staff members and played by them in the audio files (downloadable mp3 format). Also included are sheet music of the tunes in pdf format. Learning some or all of these tunes is a great way for campers to expand their repertoire. It also assures that when we arrive at camp there will be at least some tunes that we will know in common.
The emphasis at camp is on learning tunes the traditional way—by ear. So campers are encouraged to listen to the tunes on line and, if they wish, to download them into a computer or portable music player, to learn the tunes that way, using the sheet music only as an aid, if necessary. This is to warm you up for camp and, as it says above, and to make sure there are some tunes we will know in common for jam sessions if we want. In general, the tunes you learn in classes at camp will be additional tunes, not part of the Web site collection.
Campers are grouped by the ability they indicate on their registration form into classes, each named for a bird. Each group has a home “nest” and during June weekend camp different instructors rotate through the nests.. At the June and August week camps, each class has a primary teacher that they meet with for one workshop each day plus a review period in the afternoon, while different instructors rotate through the nests during second period of the morning. At both camps there is time in the schedule for specialty workshops that campers may choose independently.
Maine Fiddle Camp is an outdoor Maine summer camp experience. Campers stay in basic rustic cabins without electricity or in their own tents. Youths stay in cabins but may stay in tents with their families if they wish. We have separate, centrally located, men’s and women’s bath houses with hot water showers, multiple wash basins and flush toilets as well as convenient “potra-potties” throughout camp. Eating is outdoors under a tent, and classes are mostly outdoors under canopies. Summer days in Maine can be hot or cool, and nights might be hot but are more generally cool or sometimes even cold. Come prepared for anything. And yes – there are mosquitoes. But there are loons, too, and when we’re lucky they make their own beautiful music at night.
Good music and good food are elegantly combined at camp, with meals and snacks planned and prepared by our head chef, Tim Johnson, and a cadre of volunteers who take time out from music to help in the kitchen. Fiddle Camp is like that – many things happen because someone pitches in and helps out.