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Attention all string students!

We are excited to announce that the 2020 ESME String Camp has now been redesigned to take place online in a fully virtual setting as the ESME Virtual String Camp 2020!


For the safety and health of our students we have been working hard developing a program that will allow you to have an even more rewarding, fun and enriching music learning experience this summer straight from inside of your own homes!


The ESME Virtual String Camp 2020 extends the original camp schedule to two weeks (Aug 3-15) and introduces exciting, dynamic programs newly designed through the versatile and technologically experienced skillsets of our string faculty.   These programs will guide students through the creation and application of virtual performance while they participate in virtual real-time interactive workshops, masterclasses, theory classes, music appreciation and composition classes, one-on-one lessons and chamber group coachings. 

What is the ESME Virtual String Camp? Who are the faculty and who is the ESME Virtual String Camp for?


The ESME Virtual String Camp is an exciting summer intensive chamber music program for grades 6-12 and college string players (also accepting piano students).  Our world class artistic string faculty includes musicians from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as well as teaching artists from The Manhattan School of Music and the Grand Valley State University faculty.  Individual students will be arranged into chamber groups based on grade/level and work with ESME on both traditional classical and ESME pop chamber arrangements.  Registration deadline is July 10th.  After July 10th students will be accepted on a case-by-case basis and based on availability.

Meet the Artistic Faculty


Blake Hinson joined the New York Philharmonic as assistant principal bass in 2012.  Previously he served as principal bass of the Grand Rapids Symphony for two seasons, played with the New World Symphony as a fellow, and performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra.  A native of West Des Moines, Iowa, Blake was accepted at age 16 to The Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Philadelphia Orchestra principal bass Harold Robinson and Edgar Meyer.  He spent three summers at the Aspen Music Festival and School on fellowship, where he played in the Aspen Festival Orchestra and won the 2006 low strings competition.  Blake won third prize in the International Society of Bassists Double Bass Competition and made his solo debut at Boston's Symphony Hall.  Besides performing with the New York Philharmonic, Blake also teaches bass at Stony Brook University in New York.


Jeremy Crosmer completed multiple graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in cello, composition and theory pedagogy, and received his D.M.A. in 2012 at age 24.  He has served as Assistant Principal Cellist in the Grand Rapids Symphony, and is currently a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  Jeremy has written arrangements for the GRS Music for Health Initiative, which pairs symphonic musicians with music therapists to bring classical music to hospitals, as well as full orchestral compositions programmed for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's 2019-2020 classical concert season.  Jeremy has toured London with the Grand Valley State University Chamber Orchestra and performed as soloist with the GRS.  While still in school, Jeremy was awarded the prestigious Theodore Presser Graduate Music Award to publish, record and perform his Crosmer-Popper duets.  Jeremy has taught music theory, pre-calculus and cello at universities across Michigan.

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Kimberly Ann Kaloyanides Kennedy has served as Associate Concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 2003 and first joined the orchestra at the age of 22.  She began studying violin at the Brevard Music Center and Interlochen Arts Camp and has studied at the Sarasota Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival on Fellowship and as Associate Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra, the Harid Conservatory with Sergiu Schwartz, and at the University of Michigan with Paul Kantor.  She won Grand Prize in the National MTNA competition and 1st prize in the Skokie Valley Concerto Competition, the University of Michigan Concerto Competition, and the Harid Conservatory Concerto Competition and was one of the few Americans invited to the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.  She solos regularly with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and performs chamber music with various groups, including the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.    

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Mike Chen has been a violist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 2018.  He was a member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 2012 to 2018 and a member of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2012.  He received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Northwestern University and has studied violin with Blair Milton and viola with Li-kuo Chang, Michael Strauss, Peter Slowik, Keith Conant and Baird Dodge.  He has performed with the Detroit Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony.  He received a Master’s degree in Conducting at Northwestern University in 1999, and studied conducting with Victor Yampolsky, Mariusz Smolij, Gilbert Varga, David Zinman, and Murry Sidlin.  Mike was a conducting fellow at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen, Colorado and has served as Assistant Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and guest conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Side-by-Side Orchestra.


A native New Yorker, violinist Gene Hahn made his debut at Carnegie Hall as a guest soloist at age 13.  He continued to perform regularly at Carnegie with the New York Youth Symphony.  He has appeared as soloist with the Mannes College of Music Orchestra and was a winner of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Young Musicians' Competition.  Gene studied chamber music at the Manhattan School of Music with The American String Quartet and orchestral performance with members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and The New York Philharmonic.  He participated in the Musicorda and Quartet Program chamber festivals, toured with The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and upon moving to Michigan joined the Grand Rapids Symphony.  He also performs with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and as associate concertmaster of The West Michigan Symphony and is the founding member of ESME.


Gemma Hinson is an active teacher and performer in New York City with Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in violin performance from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Lucie Robert and Grigory Kalinovsky.  She has studied chamber music with members of the Emerson and American string quartets and in master classes by the Shanghai String Quartet and Robert Mann of the Juilliard String Quartet.  She has performed with the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar orchestras, the Salome Chamber Ensemble and as an Orchestra Fellow at the Texas Music Festival.  Ms. Hinson has trained with the Suzuki Association of the Americas through the Suzuki Institutes at Ithaca College and the Hartt School of Music.  After completing Northwestern’s course “Teaching the Violin and Viola: Creating a Healthy Foundation,” she became a community mentor to help guide other teachers and has an active studio in New York, teaching violin at the Browning School, Florentine Music School, and for the Elizabeth Faidley Studio.

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Brendan Hollins studied originally at Stellensbosch, South Africa where he was active as a concert soloist as well as conductor of opera and musicals. Since moving to Michigan he has worked with Grand Rapids Symphony, Opera Grand Rapids, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Ballet in addition to Civic, Circle and Spectrum theaters. He has performed as conductor pianist internationally with orchestras and studied with Charles du Toit, Jorma Panulaa, Harold Fabermann, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Alexei Lubimov, Alicia de Larrocha, Andre Watts and Konstantin Scherbakov. As arranger and orchestrator he has contributed to cinematic soundtrack, operas, musicals, cabaret and is part of the creative team bringing “The Walking Dead” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” to television. A frequent ESME collaborator Brendan Hollins recently performed and arranged music on ESME’s live music and dance production “Swan Song” with dancers of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company at the Peter Martin Wege Theatre.

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Noted for her "sensitive and imaginative" (New York Concert Review) playing, Korean-born pianist Sookkyung Cho has appeared at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Sarasota Opera House, Montreal Conservatory, Chateau de Fontainebleau in France, and Zhejiang University in China, and was recently heard on Chicago's WFMT.  A founding member of the New York-based Almava trio, she has been featured at Yellow Barn, Norfolk and Sarasota music festivals, and was a Performing Associate at the Bowdoin International Music Festival.  She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Juilliard, where she was honored with the prestigious John Erskine Graduation Prize, a Master of Music degree from Peabody, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Juilliard.  She served on the piano and chamber music faculty at New England Conservatory Preparatory in Boston as well as the music theory faculty at the Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University and serves as Assistant Professor of Piano at GVSU.

Virtual Learning Process

Students will be taken through a tangible learning process from the ground up throughout the course of the camp.  They will be taught how to use online and virtual performance practices as powerful tools for building themselves as string players and chamber musicians.


As part of this learning process students will have easy access to necessary equipment, software, instructional videos and lesson plans that include:

  • online performing; how to create effective virtual performances

  • using audio and music notation software

  • how to effectively play with a click track

  • how to effectively play, record and practice with fellow musicians using Acapella and other virtual performance apps and tools

Practice Templates, Orientations and Instructional Videos

All students will receive template videos weeks in advance to practice with and prepare for the camp. These templates include faculty designed click tracks and faculty video/audio recordings.  Faculty performances of every student chamber piece assigned for the camp are recorded with one of the chamber players/parts missing from the recording.  Students will receive the recording of their assigned piece that is missing their own specific part so they can practice along with that recording before the start of camp.  It’s like having a virtual side-by-side practice session with our string faculty available any time of the day!

The faculty will also hold live online orientation lessons (up to 30 min. long) with each student scheduled for the week of July 10-17.  Orientation lessons will allow students to test run their equipment and software with faculty members and familiarize themselves with the virtual process before camp begins. 

Instructional videos on setting up and running all necessary camp software and equipment will also be sent out to students prior to these orientation sessions. 


Items and Software: What do I need for the camp and is it free?

All software needed for the camp is free.  A full list of both required and recommended hardware and software items for the camp (along with purchase links) can be found here.  All students will be required to have the following in order to participate in the camp:

  • At least one desktop computer or laptop with a built in or external camera

  • At least one smartphone with audio and video recording capabilities

  • At least one pair of wired earbud earphones (no over-the-ear/on-ear “headband” headphones.  No Bluetooth, wireless headphones or Airpods due to latency).

  • Internet connection with speeds of 10mbps or higher

Depending on students age and level of experience some parents may be asked to be available on hand for the first few days of camp during livestream sessions in case the student requires any necessary assistance with his or her equipment. 

What is the daily schedule?

The ESME Virtual String Camp runs Aug 3-15, 2020 with Sunday Aug 9th off as a break day.  Student information collected during the registration process will help us to address any special student needs for scheduling specific times or any student time commitment issues.  This information will be used to provide the most effective day to day camp schedule creating additional flexibility for each individual student.  Exact scheduling will be finalized with each registered student around the registration deadline but in general students can expect up to the following amount of screen time for each day and possibly less on some days:

  • 15 minute warm-up sonic meditation (scheduled at 9:45am)

  • one 45 minute interactive workshop (scheduled anywhere between 10am and 12pm or between 1pm and 3pm)

  • one 45 minute private lesson / coaching (scheduled anywhere between 10am and 12pm or between 1pm and 3pm)

  • one 45 minute music appreciation class (scheduled anywhere between 10am and 12pm or between 1pm and 3pm)

The 12-1pm hour will be reserved each day as a camp lunch hour where students can choose to have lunch online with fellow students and faculty or offline.  Remaining time slots in between lessons, workshops and classes will be designated as practice sessions.  Faculty assisted Breakout Room practice session rooms will be open and available to students during those times but students have the option to practice offline during camp hours as well.


Camp sessions involving large groups (workshops/classes etc) begin no earlier than 9:45am and end no later than 4pm on any given day.  Scheduling of private lessons after 4pm may be available to students in certain cases.

Minimum daily time commitment required of each student to participate in the camp is 1.5 hours.

Camp Programs

Morning Warmups: “Sonic Meditation”

  • Livestreaming warm-up sessions begin each morning with interactive playing, listening, vocal and physical exercises.

  • Students will get to experiment in real time with a variety of music theory elements from tone clusters to species counterpoint.

Interactive Workshops

Various workshops are led each day by faculty members through live Zoom video conferencing with topics that include

  • Basics of composition and using composition software (MuseScore) See example of a student's composition from the 2020 ESME Virtual String Camp.

  • Improvisation; applying vocal foundations and phonetics to articulation, rhythm and phrasing

  • Practice techniques and methods for string players.

  • Recording, mixing and editing virtual performances (using Audacity).

  • Body Awareness: physical approach to instrument as an extension of the self.  Centering playing mechanics, examining temperament. 

  • Injury Prevention and Recovery: Repetitive Stress Injuries and the Path Back to Strength and Endurance.  Chronic pain from overplaying or poor technique.  Dead shoulder pronator syndrome, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow.

  • Accompanying in Chamber Music : The relationship between melody and motor rhythm, solo and accompaniment.  Creating direction in long notes, leading while keeping freedom. 

  • Understanding Rubato: What does it mean and how to use it correctly.  How to both lead and follow while playing rubato.

  • Importance of the Long Phrase in Ensemble Playing: How the long phrase affects treatment of rubato, tempo, musical intensity and organic cohesion within an ensemble.

  • The Right Hand: how to get your instrument to speak at optimum for beginner or professional

        Maximizing Sound Potential Through Proportions (weight to speed to placement).

  • Modern Music Theory: contemporary musical concepts and how they relate to any type of music.  Developing knowledge and understanding of scales, keys, accompanying and critical listening, musical structure, beats and riffs.

Chamber Music Coachings and One-on-One Lessons

Each student receives one-on-one lessons and chamber music coachings from the ESME string faculty through livestream video conferencing. 

Each student will be provided in advance with faculty recordings of their chamber repertoire to work with in preparation for and during the camp.  Students will also work continuously throughout the camp from recordings made by one another which will also be incorporated into teacher’s daily lesson plans and final camp performance projects.


“Breakout Room” Practice Sessions

Students will rotate between the workshops and “breakout room” individual practice sessions set up through zoom video conferencing.  Breakout room sessions will include both personal and faculty assisted practice time.


Music Appreciation Classes

Engaging, livestreamed music appreciation classes open students up into the world of classical chamber music exploring chamber repertoire, history and recordings in a fun, virtual-classroom experience.  Faculty artists will get to share and deconstruct personal inspirations from the chamber music repertoire that have shaped their love and understanding of classical chamber music playing.

Masterclasses and Faculty Performances


Special live masterclasses and live performances by faculty artists will be scheduled throughout the camp. 

Individual and Chamber Group Homework Assignments

Faculty members will be on call virtually any time of the day to assist students with their after-hours homework and recording assignments.

Special Projects:

Students will work on extended projects throughout the duration of the camp

  • Composition projects

  • Virtual orchestra

  • Virtual jam session recordings

Each special project culminates into a final product upon completion of the camp along with virtual orchestra and chamber group performances and a virtual masterclass for all chamber groups.


ESME Chamber Arrangements

ESME chamber pop arrangements provide a unique and exciting context for students at any level to form connections between fundamentals of music making and string playing while presenting a “modern day Sukuzi” style approach utilizing modern musical exposure towards classical training.  

Application Process and Tuition Costs

Tuition Cost

Student tuition/registration fee for the ESME Virtual String Camp is $400.  Tuition fees are fully refundable up until July 27.  All previous late fees are waived and those who have already prepaid the original early registration fee will be refunded the difference.

Refer-A-Friend Discount Program

The ESME Virtual String Camp now offers a discount off your tuition every time a friend you refer to the camp signs up!  Here's how it works:

Step 1.  Invite your fellow string and piano student friends to enroll in the camp.

Step 2.  Make sure they list your name next to the "Refer-A-Friend" section on the application form.

Step 3.  For EVERY student who signs up listing your name you will receive a $15.00 discount off your tuition fee.  There are NO LIMITS to the amount of discounts you can receive so you can invite as many friends as you want!


What is the application process?

Step 1.

  • Fill out the online registration here for “ESME Virtual String Camp”.  Or download the pdf application here.

Step 2.

  • List any known times of student unavailability during the camp for live video conference sessions in the corresponding section of the registration form.  This information is necessary for us to devise a lesson and coaching schedule plan that works best for each individual student.  Individual coaching and lesson schedules will be emailed to student after registration period ends.

Step 3. 

  • Once we’ve received the application and tuition payment we will start scheduling orientation lesson times for the student before the start of camp and begin the process of sending out template videos, sheet music and repertoire assignments.

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The ESME String Camp is sponsored in part by Meyer Music and the Aquinas College Music Department.  

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