Summer Camps That Rock

  • Paul Carr conducts students during JAM Camp
    Photo: Wade Sisler
  • Kimberly Fisher instructs a violin student at the Philadelphia International Music Festival
    Photo: Philana Dias
  • Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil performs with campers at Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp
    Photo: Bobby Bank/
  • Campers Ameila Chalfant and Andi James oversee the mixing console at an IMA camp installment
    Photo: Ann Hackler
  • Steve Vai performs with campers at the Vai Academy Song Evolution Camp
    Photo: Jason Henke
  • Joe Satriani
    Photo: Xavi Torrent/

(For more information on select music-themed camps mentioned below, plus other music-related travel ideas, read the Summer Travel Issue of GRAMMY magazine.)

In 2014 the GRAMMY Foundation's GRAMMY Camp program celebrated its 10th anniversary with four separate camps in Nashville, Tenn., St. Paul, Minn., Los Angeles, and New York. As the latter and final camp installment prepares to wrap on Aug. 11, we present a list of eight music-themed camps that are surely worth writing home about.

Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp
Las Vegas

Imagine writing, recording and performing with rock stars. That's what participants do at the world-famous Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp. Based in Las Vegas, the camp features three to five days of intensive training from notable musicians for participants ranging from their teens on up. The camp has welcomed seasoned instructors such as Roger Daltrey (the Who), Gene Simmons (Kiss), Steven Tyler and Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Orianthi, and Vince Neil (Mötley Crüe), among others.

Vai Academy Song Evolution Camp
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Founded by GRAMMY-winning guitarist Steve Vai, this camp had its inaugural installment in June featuring four days and four nights of nonstop music and workshops. Vai leads attendees through the process of writing a song, after which they demo the recording and receive counseling and instruction from guitar, recording, publishing, and online music-streaming professionals. For his inaugural camp, Vai was aided by fellow GRAMMY-winning guitarists Vernon Reid and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, as well as Guthrie Govan. 

Jazz Academy Of Music Jam Camp
Silver Spring, Md.

Formed in 2003 by Paul Carr, this program, which most recently took place June 23–July 11, is divided into two segments: JAM Camp, a two-week curriculum for kids grades 5–12, and the weeklong JAM Lab, which focuses on developing improvisational skills. In past years, JAM Camp has been visited by GRAMMY winners such as Randy Brecker and Branford Marsalis, among others. Two of JAM Camp's past participants, Alex Hoffman and Braxton Cook, went on to join the GRAMMY Foundation's esteemed GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session ensemble.

Rock 'N Roll Programs For Girls And Young Women
Goshen, Mass.

This dynamic, girls-only summer music retreat is located on 25 rustic acres at the Institute for Musical Arts in Massachusetts. Throughout the summer months, the institute operates two pre-teen camps, two teen camps and another camp for young women ages 16–24 focusing on studio recording and production. Participants get access to state-of-the-art musical facilities and instruments, veteran professional musicians, and visiting artists.

Philadelphia International Music Festival
Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Compressing months of classical music instruction into a matter of weeks, PIMF summer camps last approximately three weeks for college students and two weeks for high school and younger students. Participants take private lessons with Philadelphia Orchestra faculty, and participate in solo recitals and concerto competitions. Past visiting artists have included GRAMMY winners Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman.

The G4 Experience
Cambria, Calif.

Billed as "four days and nights of pure guitar pleasure," the G4 Experience will take place on the central coast of California from Aug. 11–15. An extension of GRAMMY-nominated guitarist Joe Satriani's G3 tour, the retreat is open to guitarists of all ages and skill levels and provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive instruction from Satriani and fellow guitarists Paul Gilbert, Andy Timmons and Mike Keneally, among others. The camp includes master classes, breakout sessions, live performances, and jam sessions.

Scratch DJ Academy Summer Camp

Co-founded by the late Jam Master Jay of Run-D.M.C., the Scratch DJ Academy summer camp teaches young aspiring DJs the basics of music theory, mixing and scratching. At the completion of the five-day program, participants will showcase what they learned in a DJ battle, with top students awarded prizes. Installments take place throughout the summer months in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta. And for those looking for more DJ experience after summer, the Scratch Academy offers a selection of programs, courses, workshops, and lessons throughout the year. 

Hip-Hop Workshop At McNally Smith College Of Music
St. Paul, Minn.

The home of the first-ever GRAMMY Camp St. Paul installment, the McNally Smith College of Music hosted a summer Hip-Hop Workshop from June 26–July 1. This fully immersive experience gives campers the opportunity to write, produce and arrange hip-hop tracks with an ensemble comprised of students from various workshops. Participants also learn the fundamentals of hip-hop production using software such as Logic and Pro Tools, and the workshop includes field trips to local hip-hop attractions, history lessons, business tutorials, and more.

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