Looking to improve your musical skills this summer? Denise Westby has got you covered.

The Tigard musician has been performing and teaching for years around Portland and during Flute Alliance, a two-week music camp held each summer for aspiring Portland-area flutists.

Open to middle and high school students, the camp offers flute players of all skill levels the chance to hone their ability.

“It is so tiring. By the end of the day, I’m exhausted, but it’s so much fun,” said Westby, who also teaches music at Linfield College.

Now in its seventh year, the annual camp puts students together with local musicians, who help them work on musical compositions to perform at the end of the camp.

“It makes them think differently about what they are playing,” said Westby, who has been playing flute since she was 10. “It’s all music, five hours a day.”

The camp, held July 8-12 at Tigard United Methodist Church, draws teenaged flute players from across the region.

This year the camp is doing something a bit different, Westby said.

Attending both weeks of the two-week camp will cost families about $445. The camp held a special concert last year to raise money for a scholarship to send one student to camp for free.

The goal, Westby said is to give the scholarship to a student who normally wouldn’t be able to attend.

“There are definitely a bunch of needy kids who are talented, but don’t have the opportunity to go to camp,” Westby said.

While school bands help students hone their skills during the school year, students often let their practicing slip during the summer months.

“You need something to spur you on,” Westby said. “For them to be around kids with that like-minded intensity, they can learn a lot, they stay focused, and they push each other to be better.”

Students are asked to have at least one year of playing under their belts.

The campers are placed in small and large ensembles with other flute players, where they learn and perform nearly a dozen pieces.

The students also learn music theory, history and composition.

Those who may qualify for the scholarship should contact founder Denise Westby at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details. 

Registration for the scholarship runs through Saturday, June 1.

Applications for the camp are available on the camp’s website,

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