Camp Gives Kids Exposure to Chamber Music

Posted on June 10, 2012

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KALA BRADFORD

Music is often called “the universal language.” No matter how far one travels music can be a welcome
comfort.

For students participating in the University of South Carolina’s “Beyond the Notes” chamber music
workshop, truer words were never spoken.

If you walk through the University of South Carolina’s School of Music, you will see talented young
musicians and hear their unique chamber sound resonating throughout the hallways.

“I started this program at the University of Virginia in 2003,” “Beyond the Notes” founder Dr.
Constance Gee said “The first year I began ‘Beyond the Notes’” in Columbia was in 2008.”

“Beyond the Notes” is a five-day intensive chamber music workshop held in South Carolina. Students
around the nation are given the opportunity to broaden their musical capacity by practicing and
perfecting their musicianship in chamber music.

“I wanted to make a chamber music workshop so kids would have the chance to work in small groups
instead of just in an orchestra,” Gee said “I wanted to focus more on musicianship skills, not too much
on the technicalities of chamber performance. You can do a lot in terms of building musicianship
skills.”

Chamber music is a form of classical music specifically written for a small group of instruments.
Students who perform and participate in the program learn how to communicate musically with
their classmates within a chamber group. This in turn helped create a successful and talented musical
production.

“I grew up with a very strong music program and music background,” Gee said. “I’ve played my whole
life and was very lucky to have a world famous violin teacher by the name of Emanuel Zetlin, the
student of Leopold Auer, a famous teacher in Russia.”

Music has always held importance within the Columbia, South Carolina community. In the past,
students didn’t have the musical opportunities that they hold now.

“They didn’t have a summer music program when I got here. We didn’t have programs that bridged
the gap between the string project kids, which are generally at beginner levels, to college level
players.” Gee said.

Many students who have attended “Beyond the Notes” experience a life change within the program.
Some decide to pursue music more seriously, with some going as far as choosing to be a chamber
musician professionally.

“Some of my former students have gone on to UVA, Cleveland, Julliard, and Oberlin. Those very
students started out doing their baby chamber music activities.”

Dr. Gee said one student attended the program last year and started private lessons soon after. This
year, the student returned to the program a drastically improved musician.

Dr. Gee said stories like these are the greatest moments for her.

“The best part for me is seeing how much the kids improve over a short term,” Gee said. “You build a
relationship with them, and when I see them throughout the years, I see how much they grow. When

I’m gone, I hope this program will continue on that same path.”

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Posted in: National