88 Creative Keys in Denver: Should We Do It Again?

carter 2 Since I've already offered plenty of posts about the 88 Creative Keys Camp at 88PianoKeys.me, I'll limit this to two points:

First, I can't resist listing at least 8 (88-80) highlights at the Denver 2014 camp

1) Seeing a kiddo's eyes light up when he became privy to the secret of the pentatonic scale. While some of the other topics we covered were tricky for him, this 10-year-old was "all in" once he realized that a nickels-worth of notes were worth their weight in gold.

2) Meeting and befriending the campers of all three tracks. Everyone had such interesting backgrounds and diverse reasons for attending our camp. I made so many friends for life and look forward to reconnecting.

3) Listing the home states of the attendees was humbling. Campers came from:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington


4) Seeing the enthusiasm for the apps Bradley and I used during the camp--you know I have a special place in my heart for them all.

5) Enjoying the presence of Charlene Shelzi at the camp and observing her in action at Schmitt Music Denver. Her showcase and TCW Resources/Kjos products are like none other and man, did she groove at the camp!

6) Observing the teamwork exhibited over and over again by all the attendees when they were given the challenge to go beyond the page and make a tune come to life.

7) Witnessing my colleague, good friend and business partner, Bradley Sowash give 150% effort into the entire two weeks that we were "on" each day of the Denver camp tracks. I'm quite sure there is no one better equipped and wired to teach creativity beyond the page. I may be biased, but...

8) Watching my son, Carter at the adult student camp. He knocked my socks off with his confidence on the improvisation playing field. Couldn't have been more pleased. And to think, we parted ways at the bench long ago because we frequently fought. Confession, I wasn't always at my best with him--an example of a parent not making the best teacher. I'm so pleased that Carter rose above our past and continues to shine as a more-than-capable and CREATIVE musician.

Second, the questions Bradley Sowash and I are facing

SHOULD we do it again? I never like to "SHOULD" on myself  but the answer to this question is an unequivocal YES. Although it seems we are forging ahead on a pathway yet unknown, our gut instinct says we SHOULD. In addition, the feedback seems to confirm our future plans to continue--see below.

SHOULD we take this camp to a new location? We have various reasons for keeping the camp here in Denver but, Bradley and I are considering our options for next year.

The video below culminates only some of our favorite moments. I hope you take the time to watch it and realize that this is something to not only consider but SHOULD be marked on your calendar especially if we go on the road close to your home! I don't like to "SHOULD" on others either but this is an exception.


By the way, want to see more videos of the camp? Make sure to LIKE us on Facebook.


Some testimonials from 88 CKC campers

"Thanks you for creating an environment in which I felt I belong and my soul felt at home.

EVERYTHING was applicable to my studio.

I loved watching the teamwork between Bradley and Leila.  You balance each other perfectly.  I thought the pace of the class was perfect - just the right amount on and off the bench.  I appreciated their creative ideas and the clarity that things were explained.  I loved the visual PDFs, keyboard, and hearing Bradley jam.  Wow!

Comfortable atmosphere for trying new things.

I had a ball and learned a lot. Will be interesting to see where I am in 6 or 12 months.

I've been to a big band camp and a combo camp. I was very excited to find one for piano only.  This one was definitely worth my time and expense.

Personalities of both presenters welcoming, helpful, and engaging - no intimidation!"

Clavier Ad Jan 2014