Great Summer Music Camps - Apply Now! (Updated for 2020 - Covid-19)
Given the current COVID-19 crisis, music camps are all evaluating their summer offerings. The best way to find out the current status of any of these programs is to contact them directly.
Springtime has arrived and it's that time again for applying to summer music camps. String music camps are a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet passionate musicians from all over the U.S. and the world, to develop skills under the tutelage of the most notable professional string instructors in the industry.
With that said, given the current COVID-19 crisis, music camps are all evaluating their summer offerings. The best way to find out the current status of any of these programs is to contact them directly. And keep in mind that applying and registering will probably save you or your string musician a seat if they move ahead, even if it's delivered differently (e.g. online).
We also recommend reading our recent post about 2020 String Workshops. We won’t repeat any of those mentions here. However, if you’re a music teacher, we want to reiterate two incredible workshops offered by the internationally revered and beloved Indiana University's professor of music Mimi Zweig: Teaching Children the Violin and Retreat for Violin and Viola Teachers, both of which are well worth your while if you find yourself in the midwest.
Inspiring for String Musicians of All Ages
There are summer camps for all ages. Some of the most well-known are residential camps, which means the campers spend days and nights there, ranging from one- to six-week sessions.
If your budding string player isn’t quite ready to do a residential-style camp, that’s fine. Speak to their strings instructor or contact local colleges for referrals to summer music day camps.
We posted Time to Apply For Summer Camp Programs back in 2017 and we recommend using it as a reference as well. While date information will differ slightly in a new year, you can access the hyperlinks to research camps listed there.
Here is another batch of residential summer camps for you to review, including age ranges and application deadlines.
Girls Rock Amplify Sleep Away Camp (NEW)
Does your child play a classical violin by day, but dream of rocking the violin at night? The Girls Rock Amplify Sleep Away Camp in Santa Barbara, California offers girls from the 5th to the 12th grade the opportunity to hone their skills. No musical experience is needed, and the camp offers several different tracks, pertaining to rock bands, DJ-ing, journalism and podcasting, music production and engineering, and coding.
Camps run on a weekly basis, from June 14 to August 1, and campers can attend one week or the entire seven weeks. Financial assistance is available through their “No Girl Left Behind” program. They are also offering special "Camp Insurance" with full refunds (scroll down to "refunds" section) in the event they have to cancel. Rates range from $1,695 to $10,275 depending upon which program, and how long your aspiring musician stays.
Another way to empower your budding female rocker? Introduce her to violinist Anne Marie Calhoun, who is known for bridging multiple music genres from classical to rock and bluegrass.
SOCAPA Summer Music Songwriting Camps (NEW)
The School of Creative Performing Arts hosts summer music songwriting camps for teens and high school students. Camps are available in New York, Vermont, and Los Angeles. The camp focuses on developing songwriting and musical performance skills, “…from song conception and developing their individual artistic sound, to writing and workshopping their lyrics and music, to music video production—and everything in between.”
SOCAPA’s program fosters connections with some of the hottest industry professionals, which means your student will have the opportunity to meet accomplished and well-known musicians in a master class held each session. Your student will be staying in a college dorm, and recording music in professional sound studios. To apply — your musician must provide a link to at least one audition video that's 1-4 minutes long. It can be of any quality — just make sure it showcases their performance abilities. Applications are accepted until there are no more seats left in the chosen camp.
Camp sessions run from June through August, but dates and sessions vary from campus to campus.
BYU Musicians’ Institute and SummerFestival (NEW)
Give your student a two-for-one gift by enrolling them in both of BYU's exceptional summer experiences, the BYU Summer Musicians’ Institute and the Musicians’ SummerFestival that follows. Participants stay in supervised college dormitories that are vacant for the summer (locals have the option to commute).
The Institute runs from June 9 to June 13, and the SummerFestival follows from June 14 to June 20. Their program is designed for elite musicians between the ages of 14 – 18, so acceptance in the Institute is dependent upon an audition. (If your student has never auditioned before, read our post How to Prepare an Audition Video.) The SummerFestival however, accepts everyone who applies as long as there is space for their instrument.
The Institute is geared toward musicians who want to develop their talent further and will be working in chamber ensembles (includes brass and woodwinds), coached by BYU's acclaimed music faculty.
As of March 16, BYU has canceled all performances until further notice. However, they state they don't know yet what the summer will bring and so are moving forward with accepting applications. If there is a cancellation, they will be issuing refunds. Visit here for more info.
Strings Without Boundaries (NEW)
We’re big fans of the Seattle-based Strings Without Boundaries because it emphasizes the legitimacy of both traditional and contemporary strings music. The camp takes place from July 23 to July 26 and features Irish and bluegrass fiddler Tom Morley, the Queen of Western Swing Katie Glassman, improvising cellist extraordinaire Jacob Szekely, and eclectic styles maestro Julie Lyonn Liberman. Adjunct faculty includes rocker Alissa Jackman and classical phenom Anne Nagosky.
Strings Without Boundaries' registration is flexible, allowing students to sign up for one-day, two-day, or full weekend sessions. As of this article's publication, they have not yet posted what they'll be doing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Berklee College Summer MUSIC Program (15+)
Berklee College of Music is renowned the world over, and they offer a wide variety of music, dance, and arts-oriented summer camps. At present, their staff is working remotely and can best be reached by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their most well-known summer program is their Aspire Music Intensive, which spans five-weeks (July 11 – August 14) and brings music students together from all over the world. (You also earn college credit.) Berklee also offers a one-week long Global Strings Camp (June 22 – 26), along with other instruments - and musician-themed camps.
The application/registration deadline for all Berklee College Summer Programs is May 1, although students desiring a scholarship for the Aspire program must apply by April 1. So you need to get moving if Berklee is your choice.
Long Lake Camp for the Arts (Ages 8 – 16)
Music camps span the gamut from fun and educational to focused and conservatory-based. If your student is drawn more to the former than the latter (a good idea for growing confident, inspired musicians), we offer you Long Lake Camp for the Arts. Their open registration takes place online.
Located in upstate New York, this sleep away camp is fantastic. Summer camps are offered in three-or six-week sessions – beginning June 28. It’s open to beginners and advanced players – students are grouped accordingly – but prides itself on being a non-competitive forum where students can enjoy their like-minded passion for music while meeting new friends and having a great time. Campers also have the option to take private lessons for any instrument that piques their interest.
Young Musicians Camp at Montevallo (Ages 11 - 18)
The University of Montevallo in Alabama has a one-week long Young Musicians Camp (June 7-12). Applications are currently open online until the camp is full.
This camp is for students who have had at least one year of study on their instrument and can read music. Throughout the week, campers will experience a variety of ensemble and master-class experiences conducted by their internationally recognized UM music faculty and guest artists. Evening activities include swimming, field sports, cook-outs, movies, and talent shows. Individual private instruction is also available in guitar, voice, piano, and for all traditional band and orchestral instruments.
Those interested in applying for a scholarship must apply by May 3, and registration is due by May 10.
Northern Arizona University Curry Music Camp (Grades 7 – College Freshman)
NAU’s Curry Summer Music Camp is one of the most well-known, music-specific summer camps for youth in the western U.S. They offer both commuter and residential pricing, and while campers always have fun, they are divided up by ability. Intermediate and advanced players will enjoy the “rise-to-the-challenge” audition experience once they arrive.
The one-week camps are divided by age, Fall 2020 entering Grades 7 - 9 meet from June 21-27. Fall 2020 Entering Grades 9 -13 meet from June 14 – June 20. Early registration deadline: March 29. Standard registration deadline is June 3.
Interlochen Center for the Arts (all ages)
Interlochen Center for the Arts is located in Michigan and has an incredible boarding school program. During the summer, they offer residential summer camps in weekly increments and long-term, six-week options, for students in grades 3 – 12. They also offer summer music camps for adults.
This is a fairly competitive summer arts program, but extended, immersive summer camps like these can be instrumental in helping the developing student grow by leaps and bounds. While priority application and audition deadline ended January 5, 2020, Interlochen accepts applications until all of the positions are filled. You can learn more about their COVID-19 policies here.
Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute (pre-college)
An extension of the Boston School of Fine Arts, Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) is held at one of the most prestigious music schools in the United States. Musicians admitted into their program work with the college's professors of music as well as world-famous guest musicians.
They offer summer programs (Junior Strings Intensive, Young Artists' Orchestra, and Two-Week Workshops) from June through August, based on age and interest – including composition - and online applications are currently open. You can learn more about their COVID-19 policies here.
Continuous Learning, Like Ongoing Practice, Makes Great Musicians
Whether you attend one of these camps or not, we hope you’ll find at least one music camp in your area to broaden your student’s musical horizons, keep the summer practice schedule up, and to help him/her to connect with string musicians outside the normal spheres.