Summer Music Camps in Alberta for Children, Youth and Adults

Summer music camps enable musicians to hone their skills, learn new techniques and explore new styles. A look at five summer programs in Alberta.

Some people attend summer hockey camp, while others go to Tech Camp. For musicians, there's summer music camp.

Music camps are typically day camps that run for one to two weeks. They generally involve private lessons, ensemble work, and master classes with leading teachers, conductors, and performers. Many offer seminars on various aspects of performing, such as:

  • accompanying
  • improvisation
  • memorization
  • movement
  • musical interpretation and style
  • performance anxiety
  • proper technique

The programs often conclude with a performance. Some also feature performances by faculty members.

Here is a look at five Alberta-based summer music camps for students of various ages and abilities. These programs attract students from across Canada and the northwestern United States.

Singspiration Singing Camp for Youth Singers

Singspiration was established in 2000 for youths in Grades 4 through 12. Campers sing in a choir, learn handbells, attend art classes, and enjoy some outdoor activities. In 2006, Singspiration received the Patricia Cook Memorial Award from the the Alberta Choral Federation for its service to advocacy in arts education in Alberta. Singspiration is held at Concordia University College.

Band, Choir, Piano and Musical Theatre for Youth at Music Camp Alberta

Music Camp Alberta has been offering summer music programs since 1957. Seven summer programs are offered, which are held at Red Deer College:

  1. David J. Peterkin Symphonic Band Camp: For high school students with at least three years experience on their instrument.
  2. Piano Workshop: For high school students with at least their Grade 5 piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music (or equivalent).
  3. Youth Contemporary Choir Workshop: For high school students with choral experience to study acoustic vocal jazz techniques and learn about contemporary music genres.
  4. Intermediate Band Camp: For students in Grades 8 - 10 with at least two years' experience on their instrument.
  5. MusicCamp Girls' Choir: For girls aged nine to 14.
  6. MusicCamp Boys' Choir: For boys with unchanged voices.
  7. Musical Theatre for Young Singers: For students aged nine to 14.

Fine Arts Camps for Children, Youth and Adults at the Calgary Arts Summer School

The Calgary Arts Summer School (CASS) is an inter-disciplinary summer arts school established in 1993. CASS currently offers seven camps:

  1. Musical Theatre Showtime: For students aged nine to 19. Students plan, produce and present a scripted musical production.
  2. Exploring the Arts Camp: This camp offers students an introduction to music, drama, movement and art. For students aged 4 to 10. No previous experience is necessary but is welcome.
  3. Play Writing Camp: For students aged seven to 12. Students create, rehearse and perform their own unique play in five days.
  4. Adult Piano Camp: For adult pianists of various levels.
  5. Piano Camp: For pianists aged 10 to adult, intermediate to advanced. Students also explore choir, art, improvisation, the Alexander Technique, and more.
  6. Jazz Keyboard Workshop: For all instrumentalists aged 13 through adult. Students will exploring comping, solo and listening techniques.
  7. Piano Pedagogy Workshop: For music teachers as well as advanced music students.

CASS also hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Check CASS' website for camp locations and registration information.

Guitar, Drums, Recording and Jazz at Alberta College

Alberta College at Grant MacEwan University offers seven summer music programs on the Alberta College campus:

  1. Guitar Basics: For beginners to provide an introduction to the guitar.
  2. Guitar/Drum Workshop: For beginner to advanced level guitarists.
  3. Studio Recording Techniques: Explores the techniques involved in the operation of studio recording equipment. Students receive a combination of instruction and studio time.
  4. MacEwan Summer Jazz Workshop: For students aged 13 to 20. Students explore improvisation, jazz styles through working in combos and big-bands.
  5. All that Jazz - Jazz Appreciation: Students will explore musicians and major influences in jazz using A/V examples and basic musical analysis.
  6. Vocal Workshop: Students will develop their skills in vocal production, music reading, harmonization and improvisation as they perform in solo and ensemble situations.
  7. Musical Theatre: Students aged seven to 16 years of age will learn singing, acting and movement.

Complete Vocal Experience at The University of Lethbridge

The Southern Alberta Vocal Experience is open to students aged 13 - 20 years of age. Students will explore choral repertoire and creative movement.

They will receive private lessons, and master classes. Students will perform in a vocal recital featuring works for vocal solo and piano as well as an ensemble oriented performance, featuring operetta and musical theatre repertoire. Both performances are open to the public.

Registering for a Summer Music Camp

Summer music camps do fill up quickly. Check the camp websites for detailed registration information. Some offer scholarships and bursaries for those who require financial assistance.

Musicians can research the summer programs available in their area. Young musicians should discuss with their music teacher and parents which program is most suitable for them.

Whether the goal is to learn a new skill, keep those musician fingers nimble, continuing education, or improve one's performance savvy, summer music camps are a wonderful way to further one's musical development. They also offer the valuable opportunities of making new friends and working with world-class musicians, teachers and conductors.

Originally published on Suite101 on April 16, 2010. Information updated on March 10, 2013. All rights reserved by Rhona-Mae Arca.