So child friendly and such an enjoyable experience... Everyone got to play in different styles and experience so much music without it feeling regimented... The improv showed that the kids got a chance to experience other aspects of music that they might not always get when they are ploughing through grades. The enthusiasm of the teachers was amazing... I imagine that it would be hard to find a course which has got the balance as well as Priory Farm has.
Andrea Monaghan 2017
To find out more before you apply, please scroll down the page for details about the camp, and about course fees including information about family discounts and bursaries.
THIS SUMMER'S DATES:
5-11 August 2018
Priory Farm Music Camp has been running for over 12 years! We are proud of the way PFMC has continued to be as inclusive as possible while staying uniquely small.
Musicians aged about 8-11 (the age range is flexible) are welcome to apply for a place on this residential camp. Our small size and friendly setting enable us to encourage musical development in each child, through orchestral and ensemble playing with the help of specialist instrumental coaching.
Set in the beautiful green hills and red earth of North Oxfordshire, children camp in tents, and spend their time outdoors and playing music with new friends. It is the perfect setting for children to grow in confidence: not just musically, but socially, and, with swimming pool, tennis court and acres of green fields at their fingertips, it is a fantastic summer adventure!
Who is it for and how does it work?
A fun and friendly setting, Priory Farm Music Camp encourages each and every child to grow in confidence both on their instrument and with their friends, through music, play and adventure in the idyllic rural surroundings of Priory Farm. In smaller chamber and jazz groups, in orchestra and in choir, we create tailor-made parts to suit each child, and provide them with expert tuition. The standard of our applicants ranges from true beginner to grade 8+, and children seem to respond really well to the mix of abilities that surround them, whether they themselves excel at their instrument or are only just starting out. We offer specialist tuition in strings, brass, wind, & percussion. Certain instruments like piano, harp, recorder and guitar can be catered for, but in limited number - so it is worth applying even though we are more of an orchestral camp. All children who have started having lessons on their chosen instrument are welcome to apply.
PFMC is bursting with interactive musical education and appreciation but it is unusual in that it doesn't apply pressure on children to play solos or be the best. It emphasises the art of teamwork through group playing and group learning. Children learn old and new songs and rounds; they play body-percussion games and discover different kinds of music; and each year there are added extras, from song-writing and composing to Scottish reels and garden percussion. All the kids participate in PFMC's daily singing sessions and with a variety of musical and non-musical activities in the evenings, there are numerous opportunities and experiences packed into the week. At the end the children help to put on a fantastic concert for family and friends in our grand marquee.
Is Music All We Do?
Not at all! Lunch is followed each day by 2 hours of free play. Children can swim and play tennis, plus there are the opportunities to have a go at rugby, frisbee, football and rounders. A woodland picnic, a camp-fire and a barbecue party are three other highlights of the week. If it rains we have plenty of fun and creative indoor activities to do, like table-tennis, story-reading, arts and crafts, and loads of games.
Priory Farm is safely nestled in a small, North Oxfordshire village.
Families are encouraged (but not required) to bring along tents, and the children share with one another (not necessarily in their own tent). No-one camps alone!
All our staff offer their care and guidance throughout the week. We constantly strive for an atmosphere of friendship and teamwork between staff and children and the high staff:child ratio of 1:5 means that if problems such as homesickness do arise they are easily spotted and quickly sorted.
Our tutors are professional musicians, who come from across the UK to teach at Priory Farm. We have a violinist from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Sally Anne Anderson) and a percussionist from the Hackney Colliery Band (Olly Blackman) who bring their very different but complementing skills, and equal levels of enthusiasm and inventive teaching (often outdoors), and we are very lucky to count both the previous (Sally Anne Anderson) and current (Roderick Skipp) artistic directors of the UK's El Sistema project In Harmony as director-members of our teaching team. Ceri Essex and Adelaide Carlow run their own practices teaching music in schools and at home in Wales and Scotland. Adelaide is a lower strings tutor with Sistema Scotland. Meghan Perry is an Edinburgh-based cellist who specialises in chamber music and enjoys teaching music to young children. Meghan is also a medical doctor and offers experienced support to our on-site first-aiders. Grace Dale and Timothy Cape have joined the music staff and are brilliant musicians and teachers. We have Grace to thank for setting up our first (hopefully annual) Scottish ceilidh in the heart of England! We have a vibrant and growing group of under-grads and graduates of music, and also previous attendees of PFMC in their younger days and together they form our experienced, caring and energetic welfare team. Georgina Thomson from Bristol is our lovely chef, providing healthy and balanced food to suit busy, outdoors children: sustaining, yummy meals, along with lovely cakes... and last but not least, Mikie and Laura Robarts live at Priory Farm. They help in hundreds of ways with the set-up, generously host the whole event and are active members of the Music Camp Team.
Staff in pictures
This covers absolutely everything: food, care, tuition and fun for 7 days and 6 nights. There are no hidden costs although there is the chance to purchase some merchandise (such as clothing and frisbees) when you come to camp. Families with more than one sibling coming will receive a 10% discount (£48.30) off the total bill. We also have bursaries available. Up to 50% of a place could be awarded to your child on the basis of financial need.
Please do ask for a bursary application form if cost is a concern.
Comments from previous years
'Wonderful and inspirational" "Magical" "Joy and confidence" "Thought and energy" "Excellent and extraordinary"
Cia Durante 2017
She has asked please please please can she come again next year!
Emma Best 2017
"Thank you so much for such a lovely time at Priory Farm! I had a wonderful stay and everyone was so nice and helpful! I would absolutely love to come back and help when I am 16 if that's ok?!
Love Fiore x"
"Brilliant! Beautiful! Bold! and Joyous!"
Such an amazing week! Really varied music making, pre-breakfast tennis, endless swimming sessions, Olympic games, tractor rides, great food, bed time stories and just being in the wonderful surroundings of Priory Farm. The concert was really impressive - to have reached that level of collaborative music making in just 5 days, with every child having the opportunity to shine as well as play and sing in a number of groups both small and large, was incredible. And what a great variety of music and arrangements. It was a joy to watch! I was very struck too by the pastoral care for the children and the quality of the PFMC team and just delighted by my childrens' response to the whole experience.
Lucy Shaw, London
A huge thankyou - Rosie had a fabulous time. She loved the Frisbee especially. But also really enjoyed the junk band and the way she was given things to say to help her get the rhythm. Thank you for all your and your team's efforts.
Lenny Thomson, Norfolk
"PFMC was by far the most wholesome & upbuilding experience of our summer."
Hanchen Bertrand, London
"I really don't know how to thank you all enough for giving my children such happy experiences - singing, dancing, playing, laughing, making friends.... how childhood should be. THANK YOU."
Emily Blows, E. Sussex