RockyGrass Bluegrass Camp For Kids

Final performance in the Wildflower Pavilion
Final performance in the Wildflower Pavilion

The Bluegrass Academy experience isn't just for parents. Children of registered Academy students can also join in the fun with a special program for kids ages 7-14 who are either new to bluegrass or at a novice or intermediate level. Join us for four full days of instrument, vocal, and band instruction that includes a final performance on Thursday afternoon. This is the perfect opportunity to bring the whole family to the Academy.

Students are encouraged to try different instruments and to learn to perform bluegrass music together. Your children can choose from one or more of the following instrument classes: guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and bass. Vocal, dance, jamming, recording, and band classes are also offered.

The total cost of the Kids Camp is $325. A non-refundable $125 deposit will hold your place. Registration for the Kids Camp is available only using the online Academy lottery - from November 3-12, 2014. Kids camp students must be accompanied by an adult who is registered for a class in the RockyGrass Academy.

Daily Schedule

2007 Kids Camp (photo: Laura Klein)
2007 Kids Camp

To give you an idea of how the days are structured, here is a typical day from the Kids Camp:

Camp Concert

The end of camp concert will be held from 4:30-5:00 on Thursday in the Wildflower Pavilion.

Lunch Break

Students need to bring their own lunch. Food and childcare from 12:30 - 2:00 will not be provided. For those parents of local children not enrolled in the RockyGrass Academy, please meet your child at 12:30 for lunch. Water bottles and recording devices are recommended. Snacks will be provided by Planet Bluegrass.

Faculty

For the twelfth year, Kate Hamre, a founding member of the award winning band Bearfoot, will be teaching and conducting the camp. Kate and her staff have taught thousands of children across the U.S., Canada, and Ireland. Read full bios for each of the five instructors on the RockGrass Academy instructors page.

Volunteers Needed

This music camps take a significant amount of time and effort to put on. Volunteer jobs include setting up snacks, helping kids to classes, finding instruments, tuning instruments, helping with registration, and other camp jobs.

Choosing Your Classes

Registration for the Academy for Kids is not like the Adult Academy. Students are asked to choose 3 classes instead of 1. Students will take an elective class during each block time-period in addition to participating in a band.


Class Descriptions

Students will take an elective class during each block time period, in addition to participating in a band. 

Band

Everyone will be participating in a band class during the fourth block. This is a chance to work up a song with your peers to play during the camp concert. The class will be mostly students of your same age or level, and will include everything from stage presence, to singing and taking solos, to playing rhythm. Everyone is automatically put into a band, so you don’t need to worry about signing up for it; we will take care of putting you into a band.

Bass

Beginning Bass

No prerequisite.  Students will learn how a bass fits into a jam or band.  They will learn 4-5 chords and how to back up a guitar on some simple singing songs.

Intermediate & Advanced Bass

Students should have been taking lessons in orchestra or otherwise for at least 6 months.  Students will learn chords to back up a guitar, as well as scales, patterns for following new chords, new songs, and how to walk.

2008 Kids Camp finale
2008 Kids Camp final performance

Dance

No prerequisite. This is a chance for students to explore different types of traditional dances: square dance, contra dance, waltzes, swing dancing, clogging, and more!  Students will learn basic moves of each dance, and how to call a dance.

Fiddle

Beginning Fiddle

No prerequisite. This class is geared towards students who have no or very little background in playing fiddle or violin. Students will learn how to correctly hold and bow the instrument as well as a few basic fiddle tunes.

Intermediate Fiddle

Students should have been taking fiddle for one year or be in Suzuki Book 1. In this class, students will work on becoming stronger players and learn a few basic fiddle tunes in first position.

Advanced Fiddle

Students should have been taking fiddle lessons for 2 years or be in Suzuki Book 3. Students will learn 2-3 fiddle tunes, some basics on how to improvise, different bowings, backup, and other techniques to bluegrass fiddling.

2007 Kids Camp (photo: Laura Klein)
2007 Kids Camp
Twin Fiddle

Students must have been playing fiddle/violin for 2 years.  This class will teach students how to find and/or play harmony parts on the fiddle.  Students will learn the lead and harmony part to a few different fiddle tunes.

Singing

No prerequisite. Students will learn fun singing songs to sing with a group, a guitar, or solo.

Guitar

Beginning Guitar

No prerequisite. Students will learn 4-5 basic guitar chords, how to strum with a pick, and a few basic bluegrass songs.

Intermediate and Advanced Guitar

This class is geared towards students that can play several chords comfortably and the boom strum rhythm.  Students will learn to flat pick, along with strengthening their chord and rhythm knowledge.

Banjo class at the Kids Camp
Banjo class at the Kids Camp

Mandolin

Beginning Mandolin

No prerequisite. This class will teach students the basics of how to hold and play the mandolin.  They will learn a few easy mandolin chords, some bluegrass tunes, and mandolin rhythm.

Intermediate and Advanced Mandolin

Students should be quite comfortable playing 2 finger chords.  They should also be able to play a few basic tunes. Students will learn how to play closed finger chords, work on their rhythm, and lead on a few new bluegrass songs.

Songwriting

For students 11 and up.  This class will be an introduction to how to write songs, from instrumentation to lyrics.

Jamming

Beginning Jamming

No prerequisite. Students will learn how to jam with their peers by learning basic jamming tunes, the elements of a jam, and jamming etiquette.

Intermediate/Advanced Jamming

Students must have been playing their instrument for at least one year, and feel fairly comfortable playing it. Students will learn how to jam with others – taking leads when appropriate, and keeping background rhythms for the group. They will also learn a selection of bluegrass standards typically played in a bluegrass jam.

Choosing Your Classes

Registration for the Academy for Kids is not like the Adult Academy. Students are choosing three classes instead of one. Students will take an elective class during each block time period in addition to participating in a band. Please select your top two choices for Blocks 1, 2, and 3 and indicate your choices on the Registration Form.

Block 1 (10:30am. - 11:20am)

Block 2  (11:30am - 12:20pm)

Block 3  (2:00pm - 2:50pm)

If you have any specific questions regarding classes, please contact Laura Larson at laura@bluegrass.com