Summer Tales | Flexibility and Freedom

Thursday, Oct 14, 2021
Juilliard Journal
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This article by Fourth-year MAP saxophonist Law Watford is part of a series about what Juilliard students have been up to this summer. Law answered questions about his summer, which included his first summer camp experience, at French Woods, the performing arts camp in the Catskills. He lives in Brooklyn and is now a freshman at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

A group of teenagers sitting around a campfire in an outdoor setting
Law (second from left) and friends at French Woods

Did anything surprise you about French Woods?
One thing was how fast-paced the music program was. We had six or seven rehearsals before our first concert in front of the whole camp. At first I thought it couldn’t be done, but everything turned out great.

Another thing that surprised me was the amount of freedom I had when choosing what I wanted to do. I could choose from three minors every day and could also choose from another major, leaving me with a lot of time to experience things around the camp.

Lastly, French Woods’ performances really shocked me. So many of the performances I saw were extremely interesting. The plays were great, and dances choreographed well. It was overall a great experience.

Were there any takeaways you’d like to share?
Musically, Mr. Paul Corn worked with me to rebuild my embouchure to produce a better sound. He helped me remove tension and taught me better breathing habits, which all help me produce a fuller sound. Other than that, the camp reinforced the lessons I’ve received from many programs including MAP.

One nonmusical takeaway was realizing how much I really do appreciate forming deeper bonds. I had to make connections with the people in my cabin, and it made my experience so much better. Another takeaway I learned is to be mentally flexible. The French Woods environment is so different from what I’m used to at home, so to get used to the schedule and changes based on weather conditions, I had to be prepared and accept any switches or changes that were announced. Lastly, I realized the value of being willing to try new things. French Woods has so many activities to choose from, some of which I would never have participated in on my own.

What did you do this summer besides camp?
I visited family in Atlanta for a month and later on visited family in Virginia. The thing that was most fun for me this summer was spending time with my cabin and friends at French Woods. We all had common hobbies or interests that led to great games and long conversations bringing us all together.