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Best Summer Camps for Kids Who Love Music

By Janet Upadhye | March 24, 2014 8:54am
 DNAinfo New York rounded up the best summer camps in and around New York City for young musicians.
Best Camps for Budding Beethovens
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FORT GREENE — Forget the hikes, bugs and swimming.

These summer camps may not get kids out into nature, but they will encourage them explore their inner Axl Rose.

"Music programs at many schools have suffered due to budget cuts," said John Rubin, owner of Replay Music Studios in the West Village. "Our summer program gives kids that missed opportunity to focus on writing original music and bringing out what children feel and hear inside of themselves.

"It's great that during the summer kids have the time to play baseball one week and then spend another week flexing a different kind of muscle at music camp."

DNAinfo New York rounded up summer programs offered by groups like Replay Music that teach kids to play the piano, sing and act in a theatrical production — or even record their own music.

Replay Music Studios

This is a weeklong summer camp where kids learn to make original rock and pop music and “delve into the fundamentals of songwriting, arranging and musical collaboration.” Campers have the chance to create, produce and record their own unique song.

Experienced band coaches lead the camp and children of all abilities are welcome.

Location: 421 Hudson St., West Village
Ages: 8 to 18
Cost: $520
Dates: vary

N.Y.C. Rock Camp

This summer day camp provides music lessons in guitar, bass, vocals, drums or keyboards. Participants can also take workshops in song writing, recording, photography or music history. During the weeklong camp, kids have the opportunity to form their own bands and perform for an audience at the end of the week.

Location: To be determined, check their website.
Ages: 9 to 17
Cost: $385
Dates: Aug. 4-9

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts

New York City kids travel on buses from multiple locations in New York City to the camp's 200-acre woodland campus in upstate New York, where they can specialize in orchestra, band, chorus, jazz studies, guitar, chamber music or piano during this seven-week program.

Former Usdan campers include Natalie Portman, Taylor Dayne and Mariah Carey.

Location: 185 Colonial Springs Rd., Wheatley, N.Y.
Ages: 6 to 18
Cost: $3,575 - $4,075, plus bus fees
Dates: June 30 through Aug. 15

BAM Youth Summer Programs

Led by Tony Award-winning actor Ben Harney, this weeklong summer camp shows participants “how to harness their creativity through acting, dancing and vocal training.”

At the end of the week kids will perform at the BAM Fisher Theater.

Location: BAM Fisher Theater at 30 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene
Ages: 8 to 18
Cost: $700
Dates: July 21 through Aug. 1, 2014

Girls Rock! Camp

This program for girls offers instrument instruction, workshops, songwriting and band practice — plus live performances by visiting artists. Campers receive instruction from volunteer women musicians on how to play the drums, bass, guitar and keyboards in semi-private groups organized by skill level and age. The camp culminates in a concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg with an audience of more than 500 people.

Past visiting artists include Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Kathleen Hanna (lead singer of Bikini Kill and later Le Tigre), Me’shell Ndegeocello (solo funk, soul and rap artist), Kimya Dawson (solo performer and one half of The Moldy Peaches), and Martha Wainwright (folk rock singer and songwriter).

Location: Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls at 87 Irving Place, Clinton Hill
Ages: 8 to 18
Cost: $565 with sliding-scale options available
Dates: July 14-19 and July 28-Aug. 2

New Country Day Camp of the 14th Street Y

This day camp provides an opportunity for city kids to get out into nature and focus on music. Daytime activities include swimming, hiking and nature exploration. In the afternoons, campers get the chance to dance, sing and act.

Location: Henry Kaufman Campgrounds, Staten Island
Age: 2nd to 6th grade
Cost: $4,000-4,250 for the full summer
Dates: June 30 through Aug. 8

The New Victory Theater

Campers get to create their own show in this weeklong day camp. Each child chooses whether to focus on dance, singing or acting.  During the week campers have the chance to attend a live show at the theater. The camp concludes with kids performing for an audience of friends and family.

Location: 229 W 42nd St., Times Square
Ages: 7 to 11
Cost: $450 for members and $500 for non-members
Dates: July 21-25