Choose Your Minor

Central Camp Minors
Blue Lake offers the following minors for Central Camp Students. Please specify your choice on your application. Acceptance in minors is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and enrollment is limited. The vast majority of students enroll in a minor course. Students who are not in a minor use that time for individual practice or personal rest time at the cabin. All campers, regardless of schedule, have additional time for rest, relaxation, and recreation in the late afternoon. Fees for Central Camp minors are listed on the application and range from $60 to $100 for ten class sessions.

Camp Bernstein Minors
Blue Lake offers six minors for Camp Bernstein Students: Nature Studies, Art, Theater, Choir, Jazz, Around-The-World-In-Music. Please specify your choice on the application. All Bernstein campers are required to take a minor with no additional fee for the course.

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

Campers participating in the Team Sports minor 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, 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.

Students 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.

The nature studies minor allows students to experience the natural resources of the beautiful Manistee National Forest. Students 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 trails provide students with a perfect outdoor classroom for extensive exploration.

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

Through group instruction and practice with scores and recordings, students learn to conduct basic beat patterns, preparations and cutoffs, cues, fermati, tempo changes, and dynamics. Other activities 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. A conducting baton is provided.

The Music Theory minor introduces beginning and intermediate students to the fundamentals of music theory. A solid foundation in music theory is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding and playing music accurately. The Music Theory minor helps student musicians learn more about the mechanics within the written language of music. An initial placement test assists instructors in assessing students’ individual abilities, and all students will be challenged at a level appropriate for their understanding and development. Piano and Harp majors receive theory as a part of their instructional day and are therefore not eligible for this minor. 

Students enrolled in the Introduction to Score Study minor gain key skills necessary to read a full score, such as interpreting score mechanics, musical terminology, score order, instrument names in foreign languages, and transposition of various instruments. Through listening and analysis, students also learn how to synthesize sight and sound, dissect components of the music, follow a motif by looking for melodic and rhythmic patterns, as well as review a range of interpretations of famous pieces. Students also discover different types of musical forms used within orchestra, band, choir, jazz band, opera, and musical theater genres.

The Jazz History minor, designed for both musicians and non-musicians, includes 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 focus on recorded musical examples to study the musicians, performance practices, and musical elements that define jazz.

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 course culminates with a short performance for other campers. This minor is not available for jazz majors.

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 course culminates with a short performance for other campers.

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.

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.

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. Art minors are not available for art majors. 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.

Metal Arts will include introduction to a variety of techniques such as sawing, stamping, hammering, and cold joining.

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!

The Dance Techniques minor is structured in two levels: Beginning offers students an introduction to basic dance techniques, and Intermediate provides trained dancers a challenging experience. In these energizing classes, students experience a variety of dance styles that may include ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, and other dance genres. Dance Techniques minors will have the opportunity to perform at an informal showing for fellow campers at the conclusion of the session. Please specify in your online application: Beginning Dance Techniques (no dance experience) or Intermediate Dance Techniques (at least 2 years dance experience recommended). This minor is not available for Dance majors.

The Acting minor offers 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.

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 course culminates with a short performance for other campers.

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 teaching artist. This course culminates with a short performance for other campers.

The Harp minor is an exciting opportunity for campers with no prior experience to try the harp for the first time. In this popular minor, campers spend an hour each day in the harp studio and receive instruction as a class. Campers learn beginning harp technique and study elementary harp repertoire. In order to be successful in the harp minor, campers are expected to already read the treble and bass clefs. Each camper is provided with a Lyon and Healy Troubadour lever harp for their use during class time. On the final Saturday of the session, minor campers give an informal performance as an ensemble. This minor is not available to Harp majors.

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 study and analyze through viewing and listening to legendary performances of some of the more famous operas. Discussions 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.

Through full ensemble rehearsals, the Choir minor introduces 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 course culminates with a short performance for other campers.

The Vocal Jazz minor provides 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 culminates with a short performance for other campers. The Vocal Jazz minor provides all students an opportunity to develop their musical skills.

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 doing introductions, announcements, and station identification

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 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.

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 learn the fundamentals of conditioning through techniques such as Pilates and core conditioning exercises which promote personal strength, concentration and body awareness. Discussions address topics such as healthful diet, time management, exercise, mindfulness, and how it all ties together to help young artists excel.

The Around-The-World-In-Music minor provides students with an overview of various musical genres and styles throughout history, as well as important influences from indigenous and cultural regions from around the world. Students will explore recorded examples, including the evolution of classical music, as well as non-Western classical, folk, and tribal music, all while learning about relevant historical events and background influencing specific styles and genres. Students have the opportunity to visit Blue Lake’s instrument museum as a part of the class.

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 publish one of their writing pieces in a class magazine that they may take home.