For campers with special needs, piano lessons and life lessons are played together

RHINEBECK, NY, July 11, 2010 – This summer, campers at Ramapo for Children will have the chance to work and learn in harmony with other campers while developing their musical skills in a revolutionary piano instruction workshop. Children with special needs attending Camp Ramapo’s summer programs will be able to experience the innovative and dynamic Simply Music piano method, while building and learning the universal life skills that Ramapo’s programs promote.

Musical education has many benefits for children with special needs. The Simply Music method actively engages campers in piano instruction, using an interactive and hands-on approach that fosters positive group dynamics. By breaking down each song into easy to grasp patterns, music becomes an accessible language. As they build upon these patterns to master songs, children gain self-confidence and learn problem solving skills. As in all of Ramapo’s activities, this workshop stresses the importance of listening and learning from others, a commitment to do one’s best, and gives campers a unique experience from which they can further pursue musical instruction and expression.

Founded in 1922, Ramapo for Children is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit organization serving children with special needs and those at-risk. Each summer, Ramapo serves more than 550 children with special needs, providing adventure-based, residential camp programs that inspire children from early childhood through adolescence to experience success, develop healthy relationships, and learn necessary life skills.

This workshop was made possible with funding from the UJA – Federation of New York Music for Youth Program. The program’s instructor is Mark S. Meritt, New York State’s only Accredited Simply Music Teacher. Mark extends the creative approach that drives his Red Hook-based company, Potluck Creative Arts, by offering Simply Music piano lessons. At Ramapo, he is teaching songs from Simply Music’s core program as well as an improvisation curriculum of his own creation.

For more information about Ramapo for Children and the programs we offer, please visit or call (845) 876-8409. For more information about Mark and the Simply Music method of piano instruction, please visit

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