A few days ago I stumbled across an old manuscript book hidden in my piano music. Inside I found my very first pieces. I sketched these notes during an orchestration class at Walden, it was my first summer (1976). My young teacher thoughtfully introduced each instrument through live demonstrations by expert faculty or by recordings while sharing the notation for the various sounds each instrument could make. At the end of our first week, to my surprise, she gave us an assignment to write a melody for violin. 40 years later, a PhD in composition with more than 75 international performances (including Carnegie Hall), I spend each day creating my own NASA award winning overnight camp - a place and community which strives to mimic many of the best parts of Walden - the perfect combination of Innovation as inspiration, excellent food, plenty of hikes, swimming and the opportunity to build life-long friends. Walden's amazing legacy reveals itself in the experience of my students as well as its own students.
Review from Guidestar
I attended the Walden School for 2 years while in my teens, returned later as a faculty member, then for a few years on the Board of Directors, and finally, recently as an adult, I returned once more to attend the first year's session of the Creative Musicians Retreat. I can say without any doubt that Walden has and remains a positive force in my growth, outlook and world. At Walden, students routinely have life-changing creative experiences, make enduring friendships and participate in unforgettable summers. I consider many of the faculty some of the most accomplished and gifted teachers and musicians I've ever come into contact with. The dedication and intensity of learning at Walden is something one rarely if ever encounters. Over the years the world eventually discovered the school, and it is now a renowned institution. I hope that Walden will continue to change lives the way it changed mine.
I have watched the Walden School change the lives of countless young adults and teachers alike. It's an amazing experience.
I wish I had spent more time at the Walden School. I attended the Walden School for one year as a 17 year-old, and instantly wished I had discovered the program earlier. Walden offers an innovative, challenging curriculum, while also providing a unique, comfortable atmosphere for kids to be themselves. I made some of my very best friends in one summer - we're still quite close to this day. Although my work with Walden has since been limited, I have never forgotten my summer spent in New Hampshire, nor the inspiration to pursue creativity every day that I discovered there.
I have worked at The Walden School for three years, and every summer has filled me with inspiration. While many other music camps involve competing for orchestra seats or winning awards, Walden is about opening your eyes to what music is and can be about. Students applaud each other's first compositions, sing rounds on the top of mountains, dress up in costumes to demonstrate musicianship drills in an entertaining way, share original songs, and learn how to listen to the sounds in their environment. They collaborate in chorus, play and sing each other's music, and turn everything into musical instruments. There is no other place like it!
This is a truly great organization offering wonderful opportunities and programs to creative musicians both young and old.
I became a volunteer for The Walden School after my sister’s many year of participation. Though I am far from a musician myself, I was inspired by the atmosphere and educational methods. I watched my sister grow from a thirteen year old plunking out her own creations on our piano to a grown adult graduating with a degree in Music Composition from New England Conservatory of Music. Each summer my sister would return home filled with excitement, enthusiasm and a backpack of staff paper.
Volunteering has allowed me to see the organization in action. I have seen the care and detail put into each summer and the top-notch staff make it happen. Each event is full of wonderful musicians, inspiring attitudes and a impressive alumni network. The Walden School fosters creativity, corporation, and, most importantly, a community students will use the rest of their lives.
I have been a donor of this organization for over five years. The Walden School is an amazing and unique organization - allowing students to live and breath 'creativity'. It is inspiring to watch the young students thrive as the program allows cultivation of creativity while simultaneously urging participants to explore their own creativity.
If I were to list the most formative, impactful activities of my youth, my years at the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) in the mid- and late 1960s would be right up at the top. When its foundress, Grace Newsom Cushman, died in 1971, I feared that her unique approach to music pedagogy, emphasizing creativity based on a solid theoretical foundation, along with that summer Shangri-La would soon be lost to the world. Fortunately, three of her protégés – Pamela Quist, David Hogan, and Lynn Hebden – decided to continue the tradition as the Walden School, so that not a summer lapsed. Despite the change in management, name, and location, the philosophy and spirit are the same, and many of the JCC traditions live on. JCC and Walden have produced countless award-winning young composers and have deeply enriched the lives of every student who passes through. The enthusiastic attendance at the periodic alumni reunions testifies to the great impact that this summer experience had, and continues to have, on the lives of young people. Places like Walden are the antidote to much that ails our society. I am thrilled to be closely connected to it and to support it with both time and money.
I have been a donor and parent of a child and later a faculty member at the Walden School since 1999. The Walden School 's unique program takes children from all backgrounds and brings their understanding and music composition skills to fruition. This program is one of the best non-profits out there!
I've been involved with the Walden School for the past six years, first as a participant in its Teacher Training Institute, learning Walden's unique approach to musicianship and music pedagogy. Since then, I have completed all three levels of the Teacher Training course; worked on the staff for the Teacher Training Institute, the Creative Musicians Retreat, and the flagship Young Musicians Program; taught at the Young Musicians Program for four summers; and donated to the student scholarship fund. Walden provides an amazing opportunity for students to not only expand and deepen their understanding of music fundamentals, but also to create their own music in a variety of styles and have it performed by professional musicians and their peers. One of my favorite parts of Walden is that students and faculty live in a very close-knit community, allowing a great exchange of ideas and a chance for students to learn how to work and live together as young adults. I think Walden works hard to maintain a sense of community throughout the year, hosting multiple events for alumni to get together, socialize, and hear each others' music.
I have taught at The Walden School Young Musicians Program every summer since 2010. Additionally, I attended Walden's Teacher Training Institute in 2009 and the Creative Musicians Retreat in 2011. The Walden School has helped me find my artistic voice, discover new musical materials, and meet outstanding colleagues, mentors, and friends. Walden has given me composing, teaching, and professional development opportunities that have engendered further success in my career. I have a deep and personal love for both the people of the Walden community and its mission, philosophy, and pedagogical methods. Walden provides its students (and faculty and staff) with a top-notch educational and residential experience and I donate because I want Walden to be able to offer more financial aid so that students of all socioeconomic levels can experience this life-changing organization.
The Walden School is an amazing place -- a place where creative people thrive, where musicians connect, where composers are encouraged and supported, where new music is made at every turn, where personal growth is a given, where community is built and lifelong friendships are formed. For students in the Young Musicians Program and adult students at the Creative Musicians Retreat, the rewards reaped from a season of creative music making are great indeed.
The five weeks I spent at the Walden School in 1974 stand out as one of the most important influences in my life. For the first time, I realized that there were people who were just as excited about creating and performing music as I was, and were willing to help each other to achieve our goals. I also appreciated the power of having friends whom I could rely on for sharing personal secrets and encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Besides being highly knowledgeable, the staff consisted of energetic teachers and mentors. One fellow was such a major factor in helping me to overcome my natural shyness that I continue to visit him even though he lives in Paris.
When I reflect on my greatest influences in life, The Walden School ranks at the top. There are few places that offer such an intensive education and, beyond this, transformative experience than Walden.
I was a student at Walden for 6 years, and in the nearly 20 years since my student years, continue to view Walden as one of the outstanding experiences of life. I have never encountered an institution that combines such rigorous education with a supportive, inclusive environment. Walden teaches not only music theory and composition at an advanced level, but inspires a love for the field that, in so many other settings has been lost or tarnished.
I joined the board of Walden and have been actively involved in helping, but I'm learning what an amazing organization it is. I've been working with non-profits professionally for 30 years, and I can say with certainty that Walden delivers a great program, is fiscally healthy and also is very prudent in its budget and expenses. The leadership shown by staff, board and faculty is at the very highest level.
The Walden School manages to create a quality of community every summer that is quite simply unparalleled. As a donor and member of that community for over ten years, I cannot recommend support of this organization enough. In a world that feels increasingly disconnected, It is wonderous to know that islands of authentic, supportive community such as the Walden School still exist. Additionally, I can personally attest to the quality of the musical education offered. As a student at both the Walden School Young Musicians Program and the Walden School Teacher Training Institute, I gained truly valuable knowledge in numerous areas of instruction covering a broad array of core musical skills that have proved invaluable. As an appreciator and creator of music, I thank the excellent teachers of the Walden School for imparting an essential framework of fundamental musical concepts that I feel blessed to possess today.
The Walden School is an American musical treasure. I attended this summer camp for young composers in the New Hampshire woods in the late 1980s. I showed up with no previous composition experience and wrote a piece in my first summer that won a California state composition competition and was a runner up in a national competition. Other summers produced more prize-winning competitions, but the best thing about Walden was the people and the experience. Friends I made there as an awkward teenager remain some of the best friends of my life. It's a wonderful family of diverse music lovers. I've been back to visit in recent years and it's gotten even better. I never became a serious musician, but I'd love to go back to another summer at Walden.
i attended this music camp for six years and it was a profoundly transformative experience. i'm grateful every day for the hard work adn dedication of the teaachers and that i got to learn at a young age what it feels like to live in a world where art, creativity, innovation and experimentation are encouraged and nurtured.