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2020 Update: Start Planning Your Summer Workshops Now

Summer music workshops offer learning opportunities for string players of all ages. School-aged students benefit from smaller groups, focused attention, and the enjoyment of meeting peers who share their passion for music. Adult students and string instructors benefit similarly, learning new techniques and correcting latent habits under the tutelage of masters.

Now is the time to start planning and enrolling for summer workshops. They fill up quickly, so waiting until later in the spring semester may compromise your ability to attend your top picks.

We’ve divided our suggestions by categories: school-aged students, adult students, and music educators. Scroll down to the heading that applies to you.

Summer Music Workshops for School-Aged Students

Summer music workshops and summer camps keep students focused and motivated over the summer break. The sessions are also inspiring because students take their private/school-based practice and reframe it in a more global way – meeting students from around the nation (and international students, too).

Some of the most exciting string music workshops offered in summer 2020 are:

Carnegie Mellon University

In addition to being one of the nation’s most sought after music schools, Carnegie Mellon offers a range of summer music workshops. Their string program is open to children from 8- to 16-years old, who have played their string instrument for at least one full year.

The five-day program (June 22 – 26) has a very reasonable tuition ($420), and scholarships are available. Registration will open up in late winter, 2020.

Crowden School's Summer Chamber Workshops

This workshop is designed for the more advanced students, ranging from 13- to 19-years old, and it is a two-week program (July 15 – 19 and/or July 22 – 26). Acceptance into the program is dependent on an audition. Crowden’s summer chamber workshop instructors are culled from renowned chamber groups, such as the Aizuri and Fry Street Quartets, and include faculty members from Julliard, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Crowden School. Is your student a budding composer? Check out Crowden’s John Adams Young Composers program to see if that is a better fit.

The chamber workshop offers an intensive and inspiring curriculum, open faculty rehearsals and a public faculty concert, culminating with two high-level concerts performed by students. Tuition is $950, and registration is open.

Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA)

West Coast students benefit from CSMA’s multiple summer workshop offerings, all geared for students with two or more years of private instruction. CSMA also requires the submission of an audition video.

CSMA’s variety of programs are offered from June through August, in two-week increments. Courses span the gamut, including music history, theory, and digital music creations, in addition to the typical private, large group, and small group instruction and tutorials.

Pricing varies depending on the workshops and courses selected, and registration begins in late winter 2020.

Visit Local Symphony or Chamber Group Websites

Many local, community orchestras and chamber groups offer summer workshops for children and adults. Visit their websites to learn more. Your child’s music instructor is another great resource for learning about summer workshop, camp, and masterclass opportunities in your area.

Summer Music Workshops for Adult Students

Adult students also benefit from summer music workshops. Since workshops are often held separately from sleep-away type summer camps, and are typically run Monday – Friday or over along weekend, they allow you to get concentrated exposure and instruction into deeper playing techniques without spending as many nights away from home.

Some of the most respected workshops dedicated to the adult student include:

Christian Howe's Creative String Workshop

This workshop focuses on small groups of adults for intensive master classes, jam sessions, and private instruction by an exciting collection of world-class composers and musicians. The workshop travels around the nation, and 2020 locations include Europe, Manhattan, Toronto, Australia, Singapore, Columbus, OH, Asheville, NC, and Thailand. If none of these is offered near you, build the workshop into a spectacular destination vacation for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Prices range from $500 to upwards of $2000, depending on location and curriculum offerings. Registration is currently open.

Interlochen Center for the Arts

This summer, the Michigan-based Interlochen Center of the Arts offers its adult chamber camp from August 17 – 22. A variety of class options provide an enriching and flexible experience for participants, including daily reading pairings of intensive study. Pedagogy workshops, master classes, participant performances, large conducted reading ensembles, and the Chamber Concert Series are all included.

The cost for the camp is $450 and registration for summer 2020 opens up on January 1.

University of Louisville's Summer Jazz Workshops

Are you interested in learning more about jazz music and techniques? The University of Louisville’s Summer Jazz Workshops are right up your alley. The school is considered the world's leader in jazz education, and they offer a wide range of workshops, from one-day intensives to two- or three-day workshops. The summer jazz workshops also offers summer camp sessions that run for a week or more. There are designated sessions for younger students as well, offering a way for you to connect with your child over your shared passion for music.

Registration is now open, and prices vary according to the workshop(s) you select.

Summer Music Workshops for Music Educators

Music educators benefit from workshops, too. You have the opportunity to learn from the masters and to keep up with the latest music education theory and trends. Plus, becoming a student again helps to cultivate empathy for your own students when it’s time to return to the classroom.

Summer Workshops with Mimi Zweig

Speaking of learning from the masters, we’re huge fans of Mimi Zweig, the petite giant of string pedagogy. You can learn more about Mimi here and here, as well as her StringPedagogy website. She runs fantastic workshops dedicated to educators.

Two of Mimi’s upcoming summer workshops for educators include:

  • Teaching Children the Violin, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It runs July 18 – 21 and registration ends June 15. The cost is $400.
  • Retreat for Violin and Viola Teachers, at the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana. The retreat is offered in two separate sessions: June 26 – July 1, and July 1 – July 5. Session I is a prerequisite for Session II. The cost is $550 per session or $1000 for both.

Carnegie Hall's Music Educators Workshop

Always wanted to play at Carnegie Hall? Here’s your chance. Each year, Carnegie Hall’s Summer Music Educators program selects one hundred K-8 students or community music educators to convene in NYC for a four-day, three-night workshop. The workshop focuses on classroom and ensemble instruction, and provides opportunities to interact with the National Youth Orchestra. The 2020 dates and prices haven’t been posted yet, so bookmark their website and check back. Last year’s early registration deadline was April 30.

DePaul School of Music Summer Program

Worried that the time and energy demands of working with younger students cuts into your ability to grow as a musician? The majority of the summer music workshops offered at DePaul School of Music are master classes, fully designed to stretch your learning and playing curve.

Typically taking place the last week of July, into the first week of August, the weeklong program costs $925. Registration opens after the first of the year.


What exciting summer workshop is in store for you or your music student? We love when StringOvation followers connect with one another, sharing their favorite resources for string musicians.

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