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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 13, No. 6

Lambda: A Comprehensive Approach to the Summer Music Camp

by Graham Lord / March 2, 2008

The word “lambda” may simply represent the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet for most people, but a Montreal-based team of artists and teachers have taken the word as an acronym for their new initiative: Learning, Aesthetics, Mind, Body, Discovery, and Art. Together, they have founded the new Lambda School of Music and Fine Arts in the West Island of Montreal, which aims to provide children ages 6-12 with a wide array of artistic activities this summer (plans are underway for fall programs to commence in September, as well).

A self-described “little university of the arts”, Lambda is a comprehensive and, above all, interdisciplinary summer camp. Its new permanent home will be a 13,000-square-foot facility in Pierrefonds, currently under construction. There, students will be taking part in activities and workshops from July 2nd to August 27th; enrollment is available for periods of two weeks, four weeks, or the complete eight-week session. Through their Outreach program, the school offers a limited number of “pro bono” scholarships for students in financial need.

The program’s workshops cover a wide range of themes: string instrument rudiments (first on violin, then cello), learning about the professional orchestra with Montreal Symphony concertmaster and violinist Richard Roberts, composition using contemporary music software (as part of the school’s Virtual Instrument program), theatre activities with circus artists, a dance workshop with a performer from the Winnipeg Ballet…the list goes on. Other distinguished artists who make up the musical faculty include well-known Montreal pianist Wonny Song and violinist Alexandre Da Costa (who will present a workshop on chamber music entitled What is a musical duo/trio?). There’s even an introduction to conducting with 28-year-old conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay. Every day, students will get to interact with these high-calibre artists through performances, classes and workshops.

What is perhaps most remarkable, however, is the way in which Lambda seeks to make connections between artistic disciplines and their respective contexts in culture, technology, and science; for instance, students will discover the science behind the acoustics and vibrations of strings alongside learning piano and violin rudiments. When comparing the cello and its Chinese counterpart, the erhu, students will learn about and develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of different cultures. “We want to build a musician who is well-rounded for the 21st century,” explains Lambda co-founder and director, pianist Angela Chan. In an effort to present a contemporary approach to artistic learning, Chan says that the interdisciplinary approach is essential, even at such primary stages of development. Above all, she is confident that no matter what career path the students may end up choosing, this kind of comprehensive background in the arts at an early age will benefit the students.n

For more information on the Lambda School of Music and Fine Arts, including a downloadable brochure and registration information, consult www.lambdaarts.ca

(c) La Scena Musicale