2018 MusiCamp Themes & Fees


2018 DATES!
15% EARLY BIRD registration discount before April 15!
$25 discount for additional weeks, siblings and referrals!
No additional fees or taxes charged!


July 16-20 ~ COMPOSITION & SONG ~ $285  more info
Aug 13-17 ~ WEST AFRICAN DRUMMING (guest artist!) ~ $325  more info


  • Class sizes are small.
  • All-day (9am-4pm) programming with extended care available from 8am-6pm.
  • No formal training is required. No instrument required – just an enjoyment of music
  • Our intuitive approach to exploring sound, music, composition, the voice, and the weekly themes also functions as a great supplement to conventional music lessons
  • We also integrate crafts (instrument and mask making), backyard games, Pizza-making Wednesdays in Dufferin Grove park and other outdoor fun
  • Limited financial assistance is available on a per person basis. (Contact MusiCamp for more info)
  • 2018 Registration can be accessed here


visit our Flickr Gallery – click on the images below

MusiCamp at a glance


New Date for African Drumming Week 2016


The new date for West African Drumming week is Aug 22-26 2016.


We just wanted to let everyone know. Please pass this info along to others who may need it.
And don’t forget to save on early bird registration!


Instrument Making at MusiCamp

Yes, these are real, playable instruments. They aren’t toys or kids’ versions. They are still played today and have an interesting social history worth telling. But best of all, they are fun to play and are excellent pedagogical tools for teaching musical concepts of tonality and harmony.


The Diddley Bow

The diddley bow is the instrument featured in the picture above on the left. As you can hear and see in the video below, the diddley bow is played with the neck of a glass bottle and a stick (though at MusiCamp we replace the glass bottle with a copper washer, it’s a little less dangerous). The result is very bluesy! No wonder the diddley bow is considered the precursor to the slide blues guitar.

The diddley bow is related to many different instruments found around the world (like the andibidi from the Congo, the umakweyana of West Africa, the dan bau of Vietnam, the gobichand of India). But this particular set up, a metal string expanded over wooden 2X4 (it used to be the wall or beam of house) with a metal or glass resonator, is of African American origin and emerged out of  the ugly social and economic conditions of slavery in the Southern United States.

More pictures of the diddley bow construction at MusiCamp can be found here.

The Bucket Bass

The featured image at the top of this post show three campers building/painting their bucket basses.

Below is a video of Andrea, MusiCamp’s director, and her son performing In The Highways Of The Hedges with the bucket bass. NOTE, you need headphones or good speakers to hear the bass because laptops and mobile devices tend to cut out the bottom end.

The bucket bass, closely related to the washtub or tea-chest bass, is not so different from the diddley bow. Both are one-stringed instruments and vary the tension on the string to alter pitch. The emergence and use of either the bucket, the washtub or the chest as a resonator is similarly linked to conditions of economic hardship.

For more information about the construction of the bucket bass visit our earlier post about making a washtub bass.

Cigar Box Diddley Bow

In 2015 we started making cigar box diddley bows as well (picture below).

cigarbox diddleybow

THE BLUES: From Shouts to 12 Bars

From great rock ‘n’ roll legends like Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, to pop divas like Beyonce or Katy Perry – they all know THE BLUES. And so should you!

Blues is the root of all popular music and Blues Camp exposes campers to the rhythmic and melodic feels and harmonic frameworks of The Blues through groovy gospel tunes, African American shouts and work songs, the pentatonic scale as well as the blues itself – from its swingin’ roots to present day Soul and R&B.
And we’ll do this along with the tonne of musical games, beat boxing, body percussion and other fun-in-the-park activities we do every week.

Campers will:

  • build and compose on their own instruments (and explore some ideas about acoustics)
  • learn and improvise on the pentatonic scale, African American shouts, and work songs
  • vocalize the blues rhythms with beatboxing, feel the grooves with body percussion and hear the chord progressions with singing and instruments playing
  • write lyrics to, compose, improvise and sing over 12-bar blues and its derivatives.

While we do lots of vocal based activities, campers who already have instrumental experience are welcome to bring their instrument for this week and explore the blues instrumentally as well.

From the pictures above you can see some campers making diddley bos and bucket basses. The diddley bo is the precursor to the slide guitar and you click the picture below to see how bluesy it sound!. For more info on bucket basses click here.

Check out our Gallery for more pictures of previous camps!



Composition & Song Camp

ICE CREAM! is an original composition by MusiCampers Click to learn more about it!

Have a song you want to sing? A story you want to tell? Through a series of musical games, exercises, songwriting workshops and the study of different elements of music, aspiring songwriters and singers put their ideas to music.

In a fun and practical way, campers are introduced to aspects of songwriting, like hooks, riffs, harmony, and rhythmic accompaniment, chorus-verse format, basic chord progressions, intros and outros, rhyming and storytelling – useful skills/review for even the more experienced song-writers.

Besides the tonne of musical games and other fun-in-the-park activities we do every week (including pizza-making in the park), campers will:

  • build and compose on there own instruments (diddley bos or bucket basses)
  • learn about composition and form, intros/outros, verses/choruses, hooks, accompaniment, etc.
  • explore and recognize a variety of chord progressions
  • write lyrics, compose and arrange their own songs

By the end of the week campers will have written and/or collaborated on the creation of original songs and arrangements. Kids who already have basic guitar chording are encouraged to bring their guitars. The week ends with a world premiere performances of our songwriter’s compositions!

Check out our MusiCamp Flickr Gallery for more pics of MusiCamp

Roots Music Camp

Special guest artist for this week includes acclaimed singer / song-writer / banjo player / fiddler Hannah Shira Naiman!

Drawing from old time and Appalachian musics, bluegrass, shaped note singing, and other folk musics from North America as well as the English and Celtic traditions, Roots Music Week is all about group singing and playing folk songs. While there is always room for those who just want to sing, this week we welcome campers to bring their fiddle, guitar, ukulele, or banjo – or we can arrange the rental for those following a new found interest on one of these instruments. Guest artist co-leading the week is acclaimed singer/banjo/fiddler/song writer Hannah Shira Naiman, who happens to also be a professionally trained dancer, so there’s a chance we’ll also be doing a little jigging, clogging or square dancing! As we do in every week, we’ll also be making an instrument and visiting Dufferin Grove park for pizza days and other outdoor activity. The week will end with a coffee house style performance that parents and friends are invited to attend.

No previous training required. But those with skills on or ambition to play violin/fiddle, guitar, ukelel, or banjo will want to consider this week!

Check out our MusiCamp Flickr Gallery for more pics of MusiCamp

West African Drumming Camp


This week is all about the GROOVE! and making ancient West African Drumming fun, accessible and challenging, all at the same time.

  • explore polyrhythms on djembes and dunun (a series of double headed drums played on their side)
  • build instruments (diddley bos or bucket basses) and explore aspects of rhythm and acoustics
  • sing songs and learn dances relevant to the rhythms
  • and tap into the ancient knowledge of the West African Mande musical tradition

This goes way beyond a drum circle! Campers will not only learn patterns on djembe and develop skills to solo but will also learn the interlocking patterns on the dunun – the soul of the West African Mande drumming tradition. These rhythms can be extremely challenging, even to pro drummers!

But with the guidance of guest instructor Anna Melnikoff, West African Drumming week at MusiCamp is set up to engage and teach the absolute inexperienced while at the same time provide on-going challenges for advanced drummers. And of course, at the end of the week, campers will perform for friends and family!

End of Week Performance 2013

Below is a slightly edited video is from our 2013 week-end performance of the children-composed rhythm “Timbaraba.”

NOTE: Because the speakers of computers and portable devices aren’t designed to capture the bass, to hear the dunun pattern you need to listen to this video with headphones or good speakers.

Although it is difficult to see, at the back left are 3 double headed drums known as dunun. The dunun play a complex interlocking rhythm upon which the djembes play another rhythm or solo.

Check out our MusiCamp Flickr Gallery for more pics of MusiCamp


MusiCamp 2014 in a Flickr Review

Ahhh… to recall the warmth and fun when it’s soooo cold outside! Here are links to our Flickr pics from 2014. Click on the picks to take you to the Flickr album!

MusiCamp 2014 in Review

MusiCamp 2014 in review

MusiCamp 2014 in Review

Blues Week 2014

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Blues Week 2014

Roots Week 2014

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Roots Week 2014

Composition and Song Week 2014

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Composition and Song Week 2014



The Blues Camp 2014

THE BLUES: From Shouts to 12 Bars  $225

July 7 – 12, 9 am – 4 pm (extended care available)

Pics from The Blues week 2013

Besides the tonne of musical games and other fun-in-the-park activities we do every week, Blues Camp 2014 explores the roots of the blues through the pentatonic scale, African American shouts, work songs and gospel tunes as well as the blues itself – from its swingin’ roots to present day R&B.

Campers will also:

  • build and compose on their own instruments (and explore some ideas about acoustics)
  • learn and improvise on the pentatonic scale, African American shouts, and work songs
  • vocalize rhythms and chord progressions of the blues
  • write lyrics to, compose, improvise and sing over 12-bar blues.

From the pictures above of Blues week 2013 you can see some campers making Diddley Bos (the precursor to the slide guitar). The plan is to make more of those this year but we’re also toying with the idea of building modified washbasin basses! We’ll be taking some time during March break to experiment and see if it’s doable.

In the meantime, click the picture below and have a listen to what a Diddley Bo sounds like (it’s so bluesy):

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 1.42.01 PM

Check out our Gallery for more pictures of previous camps!