Choose Your Minor

Central Camp
Blue Lake offers the following 27 minors for Central Camp students. Please specify your choice for a Minor on your application. Acceptance in minors is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and enrollment is limited. The majority of students enroll in a minor course. However, students who are not in a minor use that time for individual practice or rest time. Fees for Central Camp Minors range from $25-$85.

Camp Bernstein
Blue Lake offers 6 Minors for Camp Bernstein students (Art, Theater, Choir, Jazz Studies, Music History, Nature Studies). Please specify your choice on your application. All Bernstein campers are required to take a Minor, and there is no additional fee for the course.

Select from the list of minors below to jump to a  course description.

1. Team Sports 15. Contemporary Dance
2. Campfire Guitar 16. Acting
3. Nature Studies 17. Shakespeare
4. Try a New Instrument 18. Musical Theater
5. Conducting 19. Harp
6. Music Theory 20. Intro to Opera
7. History of Music 21. Choir
8. All That Jazz 22. Vocal Jazz
9. Jazz Band 23. Radio Broadcasting
10. Fiddling 24. Yoga
11. Piano (beginner) 25. Health and Fitness
12. Piano (intermediate-advanced) 26. World Music
13. Art
27. Creative Writing
14. Camp Crafts  

1. Team Sports
Campers participating in the Team Sports minor will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of team-oriented sports such as basketball, flag football, soccer, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee. Additional group activities include non-traditional team-building exercises and games aimed at fostering cooperation, team-building, sportsmanship, and friendly competition, all while having great fun and a few laughs. Daily activities will vary throughout the session and team placement will be based upon enrollment. (Back to Top)

2. Campfire Guitar
Through ten casual sessions, students will have fun learning, writing, and exchanging “chord” style songs associated with the tradition of American camping. These songs are best enjoyed while hanging out on a starry summer night with friends around a warm campfire. All levels of ability welcome. Blue Lake does not provide instruments; campers must bring their own guitar. (Back to Top)

3. Nature Studies
The nature studies Minor allows students to experience the natural resources of the beautiful Manistee National Forest. Through ten classes, students will learn about the variety of plants and animals that make Blue Lake their home, as well as what they can do to help preserve our natural wonders. Blue Lake’s nature trails, platted by the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, provide students with a perfect outdoor classroom for extensive exploration. (Back to Top)

4. Try A New Instrument
Students will receive group and individual instruction on a new instrument in one of three areas: Woodwind (flute, clarinet, and alto saxophone), Brass (trumpet, F horn, trombone), and String (violin and cello). Students will have an opportunity to work with all instruments within the selected area. Open only to campers majoring in Instrumental Music Programs (Band, Orchestra, Jazz, Piano, Harp). Support for these classes is provided by Meyer Music Company, school music specialists located in Grand Rapids, Holland, and Muskegon. Visit for more information. (Back to Top)

5. Conducting
Through group instruction and practice with scores and recordings, students will learn to conduct basic beat patterns, preparations and cutoffs, cues, fermati, tempo changes, and dynamics. Other activities will include observation of staff or festival ensemble rehearsals. Ability to read treble and bass clefs recommended. This minor is open only to students majoring in music programs. (Back to Top)

6. Music Theory
Through ten classes, the Music Theory Minor introduces beginning and intermediate students to the fundamentals of music theory. An initial placement test will assist instructors in assessing students’ individual abilities. Piano majors receive theory as a part of their instructional day and are therefore not eligible for this minor.
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7. History of Music
Through ten classes, the music appreciation Minor will provide students with a brief survey of various musical styles throughout history including Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Twentieth-Century, and Jazz music. Students will focus on recorded examples and be exposed to relevant historical background influencing the specific styles. (Back to Top)

8. All That Jazz
The Jazz History Minor, designed for both musicians and non-musicians, will include an overview of the history of jazz and its many styles including the roots of jazz (African music, blues, ragtime), traditional New Orleans jazz, swing/big band, bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, free jazz, fusion, and other contemporary trends. Students will focus on recorded musical examples to study the musicians, performance practices, and musical elements that define jazz. (Back to Top)

9. Jazz Band
The Jazz Band Minor provides students an opportunity to experience traditional big band music. This ensemble emphasizes the development of rhythmic and articulation concepts unique to jazz, as well as the fundamentals of improvisation. Enrollment is limited to instrumentation requirements for a standard big-band (alto, tenor, and bari saxes, trumpets, trombones, piano, bass, and drums), and students should have at least two years of musical experience. Jazz percussionists are required to bring their own snare drum & stand, sticks, and brushes. This 10-day course will culminate with a short performance for other campers. This minor is not available for jazz majors.(Back to Top)

10. Fiddling
Open to all string majors of all ability levels, a variety of alternative styles in string performance practice will be explored. Students will be exposed to basic concepts involved in performing jazz, American folk music, blues, and other styles from around the world. This 10-day course will culminate with a short performance for other campers.(Back to Top)

11. Piano (beginner)
The Beginning Piano Minor offers group classes for the student who has had no previous experience with the keyboard. Ten classes are divided into group instruction and individual practice time. (Back to Top)

12. Piano (intermediate - advanced)
The Intermediate-Advanced Piano Minor offers students who are currently studying piano at home ten sessions, including two master classes, four private lessons, supervised practice, and an opportunity to perform for other piano minor students on the final Saturday of the session. Students should have at least two years of private study prior to camp, and must bring a piece of classical music ready to play for their teacher at the first meeting. Students should also plan to bring other current repertoire to camp. This minor is not available for Piano majors. (Back to Top)

13. Art
The Art Minor offers students of all ability levels a wide variety of class choices. Students focus on their creativity at their own pace. One piece of their artwork will be shown at the Final Sunday Art Show. Select your area of concentration on your Camp Application. Drawing and Painting may include instruction in the use of pencil, charcoal, pastel, tempera, watercolor, acrylic, and collage. Ceramics-Hand Building explores clay pinch, slab, and coil constructions. Fiber Arts offers a variety of techniques to create 2D and 3D art using fibers intermixed with various other materials. Sculpture experiments with subtractive, additive, and assemblage sculpture techniques. Printmaking explores prints using the techniques of linoleum cuts, mono-prints, reduction printing, and etching. Bookmaking may also be included. Art minors are not available for art majors. (Back to Top)

14. Camp Crafts
The Camp Crafts Minor provides students the opportunity to create traditional camp crafts that have been part of the camping experience for generations. Activities might include projects such as braiding, beading, painting, tie-dying, working with natural materials, and other projects, allowing campers to use their individual creativity while making cool stuff at camp! (Back to Top)

15. Contemporary Dance
The Contemporary Dance Minor is structured in two levels to offer beginning students an introduction to basic dance technique while providing more advanced dancers a challenging experience. Classes focus on conditioning, technique, and a variety of dance styles including classical ballet, contemporary, and other dance genres. Contemporary Dance Minors will have the opportunity to perform at an informal showing for fellow campers at the conclusion of the session. Please specify on your application: Contemporary Dance I (no prior dance experience) or Contemporary Dance II (at least 2 years dance experience recommended). This minor is not available for Dance majors. (Back to Top)

16. Acting
The Acting Minor offers ten sessions in a workshop format that includes instruction in basic acting skills such as voice production, movement, improvisation and scene work. This basic course is aimed at students with minimal to moderate experience and will culminate with a short performance for other campers. This minor is not available for Theater majors. (Back to Top)

17. Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Minor offers students an opportunity to hone their approach to Shakespearean text through focused scene work under the guidance of a professional Shakespearean teaching-artist. This 10-day course will culminate with a short performance for other campers. (Back to Top)

18. Musical Theater
The Musical Theater Minor offers more experienced students an opportunity to refine their abilities as actors, singers, and dancers through focused song study under the guidance of a professional teachingartist. This 10-day course will culminate with a short performance for other campers. (Back to Top)

19. Harp
Open to beginning harpists, the Harp Minor teaches students basic technique in a small ensemble format. Lever harps are provided. Students must be able to read the Grand Staff (treble and bass clefs). This 10-day course will culminate with a short performance for others on the last Saturday of the session. This minor is not available to Harp majors. (Back to Top)

20. Intro to Opera
Taught by the professional Opera faculty, the Intro to Opera Minor provides students with an overview of this unique and timeless genre that combines the art forms of Music, Theater, Art, and Dance. Students will study and analyze through viewing and listening to legendary performances of some of the more famous operas. Discussions will include topics such as stories and plots, character study, text and libretto, orchestration, composers and singers, as well as the technical elements of staging, lighting, costumes, and sets. (Back to Top)

21. Choir
Through ten full ensemble rehearsals, the Choir Minor will introduce standard choral literature which may include the following styles: traditional, (sacred and secular), swing, and Broadway show tunes. Instruction in vocal production, diction and interpretation, sight-singing, and musicianship will be emphasized. This course is for students with minimum to moderate vocal experience and is not available to choir majors. This 10-day course will culminate with a short performance for other campers. (Back to Top)

22. Vocal Jazz
The Vocal Jazz Minor provides choir and jazz students an opportunity to further develop their musical skills by exploring concepts unique to vocal jazz. Students will study vocal jazz repertoire, jazz styles, vocal improvisation, and other rhythmic and articulation concepts. This course will culminate with a short performance for other campers. The Vocal Jazz minor is open only to Choir and Jazz Majors. (Back to Top)

23. Radio Broadcasting
Taught by professional broadcasters at Blue Lake Public Radio, this course will introduce students to radio programming, music selection, broadcast equipment, producing and editing programs, and remote recording. Using equipment in one of the broadcast studios, participants will record their own voices. (Back to Top)

24. Yoga
The Yoga Minor introduces students to the benefits of creating balance in the body along with awareness of how the mind and body work together. Young artists will have fun learning yoga poses, postures, and relaxation techniques while developing both strength and flexibility. The yoga minor is taught by our outstanding dance faculty and held in the dance studios. (Back to Top)

25. Health and Fitness
The Health and Fitness Minor introduces young artists to basic concepts of self-maintenance that support a healthful lifestyle and enhance their focus in their chosen arts discipline. Students will learn the fundamentals of conditioning through techniques such as Pilates and core conditioning exercises which promote personal strength, concentration and body awareness. Discussions will address topics such as healthful diet, time management, exercise and how it all ties together to help young artists excel. (Back to Top)

26. World Music
Through ten classes, the World Music Minor will provide students with a brief survey of various musical styles of indigenous music and song from around the world, including non-Western classical, folk, and tribal music. Students will focus on recorded examples and be exposed to relevant background influencing the specific styles. (Back to Top)

27. Creative Writing
The Creative Writing Minor introduces students to techniques for sharpening their short fiction and poetry writing skills. Students will work on short, fun writing assignments in a writing workshop format, receiving feedback on their writing from the instructor as well as their classmates. At the end of the session, all campers will publish one of their writing pieces in a class magazine that they may take home. (Back to Top)