National Youth Music Camps
What are the National Youth Music Camps?
The NATIONAL YOUTH MUSIC CAMPS were founded
by Dr Avril Dankworth in 1970 on the grounds of The
Stables Theatre, near the home of John Dankworth and
Cleo Laine. Since their beginning, the camps have been the highlight of the summer for many musical young people aged 8 to 17. Campers travel from throughout the UK and abroad to be part of a week-long musical experience that at once inspires, challenges, thrills and delights its young participants. From orchestral playing to jazz improvisation, from harmonica sessions to steel pan performance, from music theatre production to recorder and rock ensembles, the National Youth Music Camps have it all.
Where are the camps held?
If you would like to find out more about Sarah Watts the Music Camp Director please visit her blog Razzamajazz
Campers are provided with tented accommodation on a fully-equipped
‘Lot's of fun! I wish I could be there all the time'
What do we do?
The camps offer young people the opportunity to be part of a creative environment demonstrating the Dankworth’s ‘Allmusic’ philosophy, an unbiased approach to music that encourages participation, exploration and interaction without a hierarchy of musical style or skill level.
Campers play their primary instruments in small groups and in a full camp orchestra, take part in taster sessions learning to play the steel drums, handbells, harmonica, accordion or other instruments new to them, and take advantage of opportunities for experimental music and composition.
Each camp culminates in a music theatre production, in which campers sing, dance, act, and/or assist with design or technical requirements.
All camps rely on expert tutorial staff to guide daily workshops across a wide range of orchestral and individual instruments (string, woodwind, brass, percussion, voice, recorders, keyboard and guitars) and in an exciting range of musical styles (classical, pop, folk, jazz, early music).
The tutors are professional musicians and teachers who are specially chosen for their inspirational musical leadership and flair for coaching young people.
Events continue into the evening with concerts, a campfire and other chances to socialise – and don’t forget to bring your swimwear, as a trip to the swimming pool is always included!
‘I enjoyed all of it!!!’
Why are the Camps so special?
The National Youth Music Camps are unique in that they offer an inspirational musical and creative environment to all young people interested in music, regardless of playing standard -- there is no minimum grade of entry. Young people take part because they love music.
Whatever your musical proficiency, the National Youth Music Camps will enable you to re-discover and participate in the joy of music-making. Come and join us!
‘I cannot thank you enough for all the very happy times ... at The Stables.'
What do parents think?
‘Every year camp gets better … we were moved to tears at the orchestral performance … fantastic!
‘As always they had a lovely time and it really shows when they get home. They become much more enthusiastic about music and all sorts of other things as well.’
‘Thank you once again … I just wish you could hear what we hear when he returns from camp – come to that – see his face when he receives confirmation that he has a place.'
Each camp has a staff of 36 volunteers, all with CRB/DBS clearance, who give their services to the NYMC each summer. Alongside tutorial staff, there are caterers, maintenance staff and those who meet the pastoral needs of campers. This group of exceptional people -- many of whom are former campers -- returns year after year to form a very capable and sociable team. Their generosity helps to ensure that the opportunities available to campers in the past continue for a new generation.