This was my fifth time at the annual camp, but I still learned a lot from the guest conductors during seven days of intensive training.
Professor Cao Peng, from China, was one of the conductors this year. Cao made it clear that we had to see ourselves as professional orchestra members instead of merely amateur youth orchestra players. This was a great motivation for us, and as a result, we improved tremendously.
Unlike other conductors at past camps, Cao made us abide by strict rules such as no eating and no mobile phones during the sessions. He also insisted on punctuality. Such rules made us more disciplined and better able to follow his instructions. And as a result, we were a better orchestra.
This year I was made concert mistress. I was very happy about it, even though it involved a lot of work. One of my tasks was to ensure that we were well prepared to play all the music pieces.
Cao used certain methods to tackle our technical problems, such as using percussion instruments to improve our rhythm. He focused on co-operation between different sections and the overall unity of the orchestra.
Under the professor's guidance, I organised an ensemble performance at the camp. I played well, even though I only had a few days' practice.
I had a memorable time at the camp. I made lots of new friends, enjoyed the rehearsals and had a great post-camp concert.