I’ve spent a lot of my last few posts thinking back on my experiences about Camp MMW 2009, but this morning I woke up thinking about the experiences that are yet to come.
We are now at 5 weeks and 5 days until I get to leave my day job and New York City in my rear view and set my eyes upon the beauty of the Catskill Mountains. To be honest, one of the things I look forward to the most is the food. With almost 6 full days of catered meals by a brilliant chef using all local, natural and organic ingredients, how can you not look forward to the meals? It’s so satisfying when you wake up in the morning and don’t have to brew your own local organic coffee nor do you have to set your own table when it’s time to eat. You simply enjoy your food, energize your body, focus your mind and get ready to get down to some musical business. I mean, I eat some wonderful food in New York and my girlfriend and I are fantastic cooks, but there is something about having the food ready for you at specific times everyday. The fact that someone else puts the time and energy into preparing these delicious meals allows us, the students, the ability to enjoy them so much more and keep our focus on the musical curriculum rather than having to worry about where your next meal is coming from, you know it’s gonna be delicious!
Then there is the family who runs the whole place. I don’t know their names but they have a young daughter and a younger son who are super cool and just a blast to have around. One night when we were having a concert in the barn, I saw their young boy pedaling his bike with training wheels through the driveway while wearing a tuxedo.
“Why are you wearing a tuxedo?” I asked him.
He looked at me like I was an idiot and said “Because I’m goin to a party silly!”
I laughed my ass off as he went on his merry way to the party.
Now I can talk food, and the great people that run the place all I want, but the real reasons we should all be going is twofold: music and relationships. The music we get to play and experience while at camp is truly priceless. While there, you learn so much about who you are as a musician and you get in an depth look as to what makes each individual member of MMW such superior musicians. You get to tap into a side of the band that nobody gets to see from just seeing them perform. As they talk about trying to “outdo” one another by bringing in new and inspirational music while on tour back in the day, you get a sense for the amount of playing and listening they have done throughout the course of their life and how lucky you are to have these veteran musicians teaching you their theories about not only music but life as well. The vibe at camp is not at all competitive but completely supportive. Not just from the members of MMW but from all the other campers as well. It doesn’t matter if you have played for decades or if you just started playing your instrument, the amount that you learn at camp will not differ. From the moment you arrive at camp there is no doubt that everyone WILL get better at playing music simply because everyone there WANTS you to get better.
That brings me to relationships. If the tuition to attend camp pays for your room and food then the classes and music you get to experience are priceless. Furthermore, the relationships that you establish with like-minded people for are truly incomparable. My Camp MMW experiences have established a whole new group of friends in my life that seems to expand every year. Everyone I have met, either directly or indirectly through my experiences at camp, are genuinely and good people. I would not trade my friendships from camp for any amount of money you could offer and I don’t think any of these friends would either.
I woke up this morning looking forward to a week of great food, music and education and a lifetime of memories and friendships yet to come. That’s what you get when you attend Camp MMW. The hardest part is containing your excitement until the day comes when it’s finally time to leave.
So, until then, it’s time for me to go practice!