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):

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Check out our Gallery for more pictures of previous camps!



West African Drumming Camp 2014

Drumming 2013.


July 28 – Aug 1, 9 am – 4 pm (extended care available)
Aug 18 – Aug 22, 9 am – 4 pm (extended care available)

…. Special guest artist for the week includes AnnA Melnikoff and her orchestra of drums!

NO DRUM NEEDED! Special guest artist AnnA Melnikoff (along with her orchestra of drums!) will be co-hosting this week. Campers will have a chance to play the polyrhythmic accompaniment on 3 bass drums (known as dunun) and develop riffs and patterns on djembes. Focusing on rhythms that accompany rights of passage, participants will build masks and also explore the meaning of the drums and the rhythms from the very ancient Mande tradition. A drum will be made available to every camper.

Click on the gallery above to view more pictures and some video of West African Drumming camp 2013.

Click HERE to see MusiCamp campers perform in 2013

Click HERE to learn more about West African Drumming at MusiCamp

2014 July Camps at MusiCamp

Here are the July weekly themes for MusiCamp 2014!

  • July 7-11 – BLUES: from shouts to 12 bars

  • July 14-18 – ROOTS MUSIC (guest artist!) – NEW in 2014!

  • July 21-15 – COMPOSITION & SONG

  • July 28-Aug 1 – WEST AFRICAN DRUMMING (guest artist!)

Registration forms and August dates will be posted very soon!


More info on Roots Music Week     More info on the Blues

 More infor on Composition and Song   More info on West African Drumming


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Roots Music Camp 2014

Roots Music Week $275

July 14 – 18 2014 9 am – 4 pm (extended care available)

… special guest artist for this week includes acclaimed fiddler/singer Rosalyn Dennett!

Roots music

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 fiddler/singer Rosalyn Dennett who happens to have some experience teaching dance 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!

More Home Made Diddley Bos at MusiCamp

Diddley bos are the precursor to the slide guitar and arguably the first blues instrument. We had intended to make these instruments only during Blues summer camp session but the kids loved them so much we made them every week! Not only that, we incorporated them into the music making of each week – quite a satisfying experience!

Click the picture below to view larger gallery of pics and video.

MusiCamp Diddley Bo, summer camp, kids, music

Composition & Song Camp 2014

Comp and Song 2013

Composition and Song $225

July 21 – 25, 9 am – 4 pm (extended care available)

Have a song you want to sing? A story you want to tell? Through a series of writing 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. 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!

Click the picture above to view our Flickr gallery of the Composition and Song camp from the summer of 2013. The pictures are of:

  • campers constructing, stringing and playing diddley bos (home-made instrument)
  • making/eating pizza (homemade by campers from a wood-stove) in Dufferin Grove Park (yummmmm)
  • campers writing lyrics for a song (we had individual and collaborative writing workshops)
  • some of the original lyrics-charts
  • performance day & the after-performance party with parents, friends, watermelon and (more!) pizza

2014 Weekly Themes

It’s that time of year and MusiCamp is sorting out the summer schedule. We’re planning to keep our three themes from last year –

  • West African Drumming
  • The Blues
  • Composition and Song

But we’re juggling some other possible weekly themes, like:

  • OLD TIME & BLUE GRASS – details are still sketchy but the idea involves fiddles, guitars, and singing that old North American folk music (Blue Grass and Old Time music) featured so brilliantly in O Brother Where Art Thou? Special guest artist (to be announced) will co-direct this week.
  • JUST SONGS – this week is for serious singers! With a focus on technique and a blended sound, we’ll learn  2- and 3- and maybe even 4-part songs! Repertoire will be drawn from across the genres, from classical to world music, from madrigals to pop tunes!

Let us know what you think or if you got any other ideas. Anything is still possible!

For reference, below are the descriptions from last years themes…

Continue reading

Guest Host AnnA Melnikoff

Anna Melnikoff is a gifted teacher and perpetually grateful student of traditional Mande music from West Africa who has been performing and teaching in the GTA for 15 years. She has studied with many master drummers and visits West Africa as often as possible. Currently she teaches djembe at York University, and is also the founder of an all-female performing ensemble, Moussoufolila. She is also a certified teacher of transformational healing and meditation with the Training in Power Academy.


AnnA with fellow djembefola Salimata Diabate

MusiCamp’s Homemade Diddley Bos

Surprisingly, I got the pics of the DIDDLEY BOs up earlier than I thought. Enjoy! By the way, exploring the acoustic properties of these instruments, we played with different resonators (a bottle for the instructor versus different size tins for campers), using a wooden block as a bridge or not, as well as the placement of the resonator. As you can see, campers were spectacularly creative in how they painted their diddley bos as well!