Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences School of Music

Cougar String Camp

Grades 8-12

To all of our beloved Cougar String Campers:

During this time of uncertainty and concerns related to the Covid-19 virus, for the public health of our communities and families it is with deep sadness that we must cancel the 2020 Cougar String Camp. If you have already registered you will receive a full refund.

Please do not let this dampen your spirits, nor your drive to make music. Use this time to reflect on the importance of music making in your own life, and how you might be able to use your talents to serve your community during this difficult time.

We will greatly miss the fun of making music with you all this summer, but safety is our top concern. If you end up doing cool projects please don’t hesitate to send us links! We would love to see how you are doing and what you are doing to spread music.

Best wishes and good health.

This too shall pass!

Ruth Boden and Meredith Arksey



Camp Description:

Cougar String Camp is a chamber music/orchestra camp designed for intermediate* and advanced string players, grade 8-12, including those having just completed 7th grade, and those having just graduated from high school.  Violinists, violists, cellists and bassists work with Washington State University faculty and other fine musicians to improve their musical skills in a variety of ways.   The camp focuses on chamber music (both large and small chamber groups) and string orchestra. Campers also have the opportunity to participate in jazz improvisation, fiddling, string techniques class, conducting, music theory, history class and master classes.

Cougar String campers also enjoy recreational activities such as picnics, indoor and outdoor games, dorm time, fun evening activities, concerts, and the use of the WSU Recreational Center.   Cougar String Camp staff provides 24-hour supervision.  Experienced counselors stay in Wilmer-Davis Dormitory with the residential campers.

*before registering please see the minimum skill requirements.

Dates & Times:

Participants arrive and move into the residence hall on
Sunday afternoon, June 28. All boarding and commuting students will be provided dinner on Sunday evening and an orientation to the camp followed by the first rehearsals.

The closing concert is Friday, July 3 beginning at 1 p.m.  The camp ends when the concert finishes, around 3:30.

  • $490 residential (includes instruction, room and board, camp shirt, and evening events)
  • $320 commuter (includes instruction, lunches, camp shirt, and evening events)
Minimum Skill Requirements:

Cougar String Camp is for intermediate and advanced players. Students must meet the following minimum requirements:

–Be comfortable in and have good intonation in keys of up to three sharps and three flats (C, G, D, A, F, B-flat, E-flat)
–Be able to count independently on rhythms involving dotted quarters, eighths, dotted eighths, and sixteenths
–Be able to shift and play in positions: violinists and violists must be able to play and read fluently in first and third position; cellists must be able to play in first through fourth position and be comfortable using extensions; bassists must be able to play in half through third position
— Have a history of practicing at home independently at least 3.5 hours per week.
–Have at least three years of school orchestral playing experience or a minimum of three years of private lessons.
If you are not sure if a student is at the right level for Cougar String Camp, please contact Meredith Arksey at 208-553-2316 (cell) or 509-335-3961 (office),



Scholarship applications and recordings are due May 1, 2020.

Scholarships are based on financial need and/or merit (partial scholarships only). To apply for a scholarship you must submit a scholarship application and a recording of a three-octave scale (for basses, two octave scale) once played slowly for tone and vibrato, and once played in 16th notes at mm quarter-note=100, and two to four minutes of a piece or pieces of your choice that show both lyrical and technical skill

To submit your recording, click on How to Send Your Recording below

Application Deadline and How to Send Your Recording:

Application forms and fees must be received by May 15, 2020.  Apply early to reserve your place.

All applications will be submitted online.

In addition to submitting the online application, please print and fill out the forms below and return them by mail.

You must send a recording (preferably a video recording) to ensure you meet the minimum skill level and that you are placed in a chamber group and an orchestra that fits your level.  Please record:

  1. A scale of your choice (two or three octaves), played twice, a slow version for tone and vibrato, and a fast version (16th notes at mm quarter-note=100)
  2. Two minutes of a piece of your choice.
  3. Instructions for sending in your recording
    • 1. Go to the YouTube home page (see the Resources section below).
    • 2. Log in to the system by clicking ‘Log In.’ To create a new account, select ‘Sign Up.’
    • 3. Click the ‘Upload Videos’ text link.
    • 4. Enter your first video’s title: Name, Instrument, etc.
    • 5. Type a description of the video’s content which includes your repertoire.
    • 6. Create tags for your content. Tags are keywords that users can enter to find videos like yours. (This step is completely optional)
    • 7. Click the category that is most relevant.
    • 8. Hit the language pull-down menu and click the language your video is in.
    • 9. Read the copyright notice.
    • 10. Click ‘Continue Uploading.’
    • 11. Select ‘Choose File.’ A pop-up window will appear. Select your video from your hard drive’s list and click ‘Choose.’
    • 12. Select the “unlisted” option for your video. This allows you to keep your video private—only the people you send the link will be able to view your video.  Please be sure to include Meredith Arksey ( and Ruth Boden ( to your contacts.
    • 13. Click ‘Upload Video.’ Your content has now been submitted to the YouTube community and Cougar String Camp.

Read more :

If you cannot make a video, an audio recording is also acceptable. Please contact Meredith Arksey if you’re having trouble sending the recording.

Online Registration and Scholarship Application 

Online registration will open on April 21, 2020.

Click here to register and pay by credit card

Click here to register and apply for a scholarship


Documents with an asterisk need to be filled out and returned.  You may download the documents above and send them in with the application to:

Cougar String Camp
School of Music
Washington State University
PO Box 645300
Pullman, WA 99164-5300

Tentative 2020 Faculty

Meredith Arksey, violin/viola, WSU Faculty
Ruth Boden, cello/bass, WSU Faculty
Giselle Hillyer, violin/viola, UI Faculty
Austin Schlichting, violin/viola, Olympia Symphony
Katherine Sartori, violin/viola, Olympia Symphony
Angela Schauer, violin/viola, Washington-Idaho Symphony, Walla Walla Symphony
Other faculty TBA

Check-In, Check-Out:

Check-In, Sunday June 28
Residential campers (those staying in the dormitory) will check in at Wilmer Residence Hall (corner of Thatuna and Campus streets) on Sunday June 28 between 2:00 and 4:00.  If you’ve made a special arrangement to be dropped off earlier, that’s fine.  For those arriving by plane, camp staff members will meet you at the Moscow-Pullman airport.  It’s a small airport, so don’t worry about finding the drivers.  They will find you.  If there is any problem, please call Meredith Arksey’s cell phone, 208-553-2316.
Day campers should arrive at Wilmer Residence Hall (corner of Thatuna and Campus streets) on Sunday, June 28 at 4:00 PM for check-in, followed by a pizza dinner, then orchestra/chamber music rehearsals.  Day campers-Don’t forget to bring instruments and music on Sunday.  There will be recreational activities following the rehearsals (possibly kick-ball, so wear tennis shoes), and parents can pick up day campers in front of Wilmer Davis dorm at around 9:00 PM (they are welcome to stay and socialize at the dorm until 10:00).

Day Camper Daily Arrival and Departure times Monday 6/29-Friday 7/3
Day campers will need to arrive at Kimbrough Music Building by 8:25 AM and go directly to Kimbrough Concert Hall. They can be picked up by parents at 3:15 or, on Monday through Thursday, they can stay for the afternoon recreational activities.

Check-Out, Friday July 3

Friday July 3, Final Concert (1:00PM): Family and friends are encouraged to attend the closing camp concert.  It will be held in Bryan Hall Theatre (clock tower building across from Kimbrough Music Building). If parents can’t find street parking, it is recommended that they park in the underground parking structure on Colorado Street (entrance at the bottom of the hill next to Smith Gym). It costs a couple of dollars per hour, and you’ll pay as you leave.

At the conclusion of the concert residential campers will check out of the dorm, and return their keys (or be charged $70 to replace the key).  Please make sure to inspect the rooms carefully for personal items.

Convenient parking on campus (Friday afternoon concert)
–Once you have arrived on campus and are on Stadium Way, turn toward the center of campus on Colorado. From Colorado follow the road past Mooberry track, then past the gym areas and then you will see on the left hand side of the street Holland Library parking structure – turn left into the structure. Park, take the elevator to the ground level and you will then be at the Terrell Mall area. Proceed west to Bryan Hall Theatre (building with the tall clock tower).

Sample Schedule:

Monday-Friday sample music schedule
8:00 Breakfast
8:45 Roll call/announcements
9:00 Chamber Group Coaching
10:10 Sectional Rehearsals for Orchestra
11:05 Personal Practice Period
11:50 Lunch on the Lawn
12:50 All-Camp Fun Assembly with Ruth Boden
Topics include Jazz, Rock, Music Theory, Fiddling, Rhythms…
1:45 Technique Class
2:40 Orchestra Rehearsal
3:10 Councilor-led Fun Activities such as Outdoor Games, Recreation Center, WSU Bookie…
5:30 Dinner at Dining Center or Picnic Dinner in Park
6:30 Evening Activities Such as Outdoor Games, Dorm Time…
7:30 Faculty Concert, Student Talent Show…
10:30 Lights Out

Evening Activities
Monday events TBA
Tuesday 7:30-8:45 PM Faculty concert in Bryan Hall.  This will be a fun performance, and day campers are highly encouraged to attend, and to bring parents, siblings and friends.  Parents can pick up day campers around 8:30 PM, or at the dorm anytime before 10:00 PM
Wedesday 5:00-8:00 PM Barbecue Picnic and Games at Reaney Park.  We’ll be walking there and back.  If you want to swim in the outdoor pool, please bring $3 and your swim suit and towel.  Day campers are welcome to attend.  Parents may pick them up around 8:00 PM at Reaney Park or at the dorm anytime before 10:00 PM.
Thursday 6:00-8:45 PM Dress rehearsal followed by ice cream.  (Day Campers are required to attend) Parents can pick up day campers around 9:00 PM, or at the dorm anytime before 10:00 PM.
Friday 1:00-3:30 PM (or later) Final Concert: Family and friends are encouraged to attend the closing camp concert.  It will be held in Bryan Hall Theatre (clock tower building across from Kimbrough Music Building). If parents can’t find street parking, it is recommended that they park in the underground parking structure on Colorado Street (entrance at the bottom of the hill next to Smith Gym). It costs a couple of dollars per hour, and you’ll pay as you leave.
Check-out At the conclusion of the concert residential campers will check out of the dorm, and return their keys (or be charged $70 to replace the key).  Please make sure to inspect the rooms carefully for personal items.
An e-mail will be sent to day campers describing the recreational activities for each afternoon, and what time each afternoon day campers will need to be picked up.

Tentative Meal Schedule:

For residential campers, breakfasts and three dinners (Mon, Tues and Thurs) will be at Southside Dining Center.  Because the dining hall is a long walk from the music building, we will be eating lunches on the lawn outside of the music building (inside if the weather is rainy).  Day campers will also be provided lunch (no additional charge).  The lunches will be catered by local restaurants.  Here’s the tentative lunch menu.  Please inform us (there is a form) if you have dietary restrictions (there will be a vegetarian option at each meal).
Sunday—Pizza (variety of meat, cheese and vegetarian)
Monday—From Taco del Mar: A variety of Mexican dishes
Tuesday—From the Emerald Chinese Restaurant:  A variety of Chinese dishes
Wednesday—From Subway:  Sandwiches (many varieties of meat and vegetarian)
(Wednesday Dinner will be Barbecue Picnic and Games at Reaney Park (Day campers are included, no additional cost).   Menu:  vegetarian hot dogs,  regular hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, vegetables and dip, watermelon, cookies.

Thursday—From Basilio’s:  spaghetti and meatballs, spaghetti with marinara sauce (no meat), chicken Caesar Salad, Italian cob salad (no meat), sesame breaded ginger chicken salad, bread sticks.
Friday—Pizzas (variety of meat, cheese and vegetarian).
If you think you may want snacks, please bring them.

Dorm Details:

Housing and Roommates: All boarding campers will be housed in Wilmer Davis Residence Hall (corner of Thatuna St. and Campus St.). If you have a roommate preference, be sure to fill in the roommate portion of the application. If you would like us to assign you a roommate, one will be selected from your own gender and age group. If you are comfortable with being in a single room please indicate this on the form (no extra cost).

Sheets, pillows, pillowcases, and blankets will be provided by the residence hall. This dorm can be hot, so bring a fan or two.
Counselors: The CSC counselors will be available at all times to make the CSC experience safe and enjoyable. They will assist and supervise the students at all meals, activities, and during all time spent in the residence hall. The faculty will be responsible for supervision during class time.

What to Bring:

We recommend that all possessions be clearly labeled with the student’s name. We cannot be responsible for valuable items such as iPods, cell phones, cameras, or jewelry.
What to bring:

Clothing requirements: A camper’s clothing should be keeping with customary acceptable attire for Cougar String Camp. Clothing that is not allowed to be worn by campers includes the following:

· Shirts with language or graphics that are vulgar, sexually explicit, or may otherwise be offensive
· Attire that is revealing or provocative
· See-through blouses or shirts
· Sports bras, halter tops, or similar attire
· Clothing that allows bare midriffs

–Instrument, Music, metronome, pencil and music stand (for use in the dorm).  Make sure your name is on them!
–Sweatshirt, raincoat
–Swimsuit and towel
–Shorts, jeans, shirts, socks, underwear.
–Soap, shampoo, toothbrush, etc.
–Alarm clock
–Washcloths and towels
–Shoes suitable for walking
–Dress clothes for the concert (black/white not necessary—just nice clothes)
–Spending money (especially $4 for swimming at Reaney Pool)
–Cellos and basses: rock stop or something that holds your endpin
–Books, board games, card games,videos or DVDs (G or PG)

Camp Rules:

Any violation of these rules will result in disciplinary action or immediate dismissal from the program.  The student and his/her parents will be responsible for reimbursing Washington State University for any damaged property.  There will be no refund of tuition/fees if a student is dismissed from camp.

  1. Students will respect the rights, privileges and property of others.  Students are not allowed to touch any other student’s instrument without permission.  Any disagreements between students should be brought to the attention of a counselor or program director for a resolution.
  2. Students are required to attend all rehearsals, classes and to contribute to the learning atmosphere by full cooperation and participation.  Coaches will take roll each day and immediately report any absences.  Students are expected to follow the camp schedule and participate in all scheduled meals, social activities, orientations and special presentations.
  3. Students must be in their rooms for bed check by 10:00 PM, and my not leave the room except to go directly to the bathroom and directly back to the room.
  4. No male student will be allowed on the female students’ hall/floor and no female students will be allowed on the male students’ hall/floor.  A male and female caught in the same dorm room will be dismissed from camp.  The first floor lobby lounges and the recreation rooms on the lower level may be used by both male and female students.
  5. No behavior detrimental to the group or an individual, no willful damage to property, no possession or use of illegal drugs, marijuana, alcohol or tobacco is allowed.
  6. No driving of or use of a motor vehicle by a camper is allowed, except for arrival to and departure from camp.  Resident students’ cars will be parked on a nearby street and not moved until the end of the program.  Day campers who drive themselves each day may not use their cars during the day, and are responsible for finding their own parking places.
  7. Students must remain on WSU campus at all times unless accompanied by a coach, counselor, parent or guardian.

Reminder:  Residential campers must return their room keys at check out.  Those who fail to will be billed $70.


Meredith Arksey
(509) 335-3961 (office)
(208) 553-2316 (cell)

Ruth Boden

(509) 335-8702