Whether your child is drawn to Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, or Mozart, is an accomplished musician or just getting started, summer camp is a great way to explore the craft while having loads of fun and making new friends. We've lined up 10 of our favorite music day camps for New York City kids with an eye toward striking a good balance between theory, practice, musical styles, and ability levels. A few of our picks offer multiple programs divided by age, others split things up by experience level and one even takes campers on a daily visit to a popular indoor climbing facility—sometimes even accomplished musicians need to work out the wiggles.
Don't forget to browse our Summer Camp Guide for additional options or use our Camp Directory to search for programs by interest, age, and location. It's also worth noting that many camps offer financial aid, as well as discounts if you sign up early, or for multiple weeks.
Camp MSM — Morningside Heights
Manhattan School of Music, 120 Claremont Avenue
For musically talented, dedicated middle schoolers, Camp MSM may be a good fit, but beware: The registration deadline for 2017 has already passed. We keep it on the list so its on your radar for next year. Campers are divided into two tracks: musical theater and instrumental. Musical theater includes acting, vocal coaching, dance, and performance technique. Instrumental provides opportunities for kids to participate in large and small ensembles, including orchestra, string, percussion, jazz, and Latin jazz, among others. Jazz vocalists are also included in the latter group.
New York City Guitar School — Midtown West
251 West 30th Street
Whether your little one is simply curious about learning to play guitar, or harbors serious rock-band dreams, NYC Guitar School offers a supportive and intensive program split into two-week sessions. Programs are divided by skill level and age. The school offers three core programs: Boot Camp, Rock Band 101, and Intermediate/Advanced Rock Bands. School break mini-camps are also offered.
Replay Music Studios — Greenwich Village
421 Hudson Street
For both seasoned and beginner musicians, Replay Music Studios' summer camp provides young rockers with opportunities to learn and collaborate based on interest and style. Kids create original rock and pop music, learn to play favorite songs, and about songwriting, musical collaboration, and arranging. Replay also offers school break camps. Summer and holiday camps are offered half-days only (usually afternoons) and in weeklong sessions. There is also the option of adding private lessons.
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Preschoolers can explore music and dance options at Third Street Music School. Photo courtesy the Camp.
Third Street Summer Camp — East Village
44 East 2nd Street
For youngsters, Third Street Music School offers a preschool-like camp with sing-alongs, movement, art, games, and crafts for tots. With the goal of exploring music and dance, the emphasis here is on small, consistent groups and working on and building new friendships. Summer camp sessions are taught by the school's preschool teachers. For older kids, consider registering for one of the summer intensives, running two- to three-weeks, in chamber, dance, piano, musical theater, and sound recording.
Kids learn about music from a variety of cultures at Turtle Bay Music School. Photo courtesy of the camp.
Turtle Bay Music School — Midtown East
244 East 52nd Street
With a tremendous variety of weeklong camp programs to pick from, Turtle Bay Music School brings its mission of promoting awareness, enjoyment and knowledge of music to campers of all ages and abilities. With programs dedicated to voice, piano, Suzuki strings, Brazilian and Colombian music and dance, campers may pick from morning, afternoon or all-day programs.
From Jam Band to Write and Record, the Brooklyn Music Factory offers the borough's aspiring musicians plenty of lesson options. Photo courtesy of the camp.
Brooklyn Music Factory — Gowanus
295 Douglass Street
Designed to meet a wide spectrum of musical skill and experience levels, summer camp options include Jam Band, for kids ages 5-8; Rock Write & Record, for kids ages 9-13; and Advanced Rock, Write & Record, for kids ages 12-17. Also, check the website for several specialty camps for musically advanced kids. Music lessons are followed by a great workout: campers cross the street to Brooklyn Boulders for a bit of wall climbing action.
BMS Summer Music & Dance Institute — Fort Greene
126 St Felix Street
Brooklyn Music School's affordable summer program aims to introduce kids to the world of music, dance, and performance with instructional and performance sessions that include African drums, banjo, piano, musical theater, and more. Lessons are combined with frequent field trips, outdoor play, and weekly performances and families may sign up for one week or the entire summer.
Rock Camp Jumpstart and Girls Rock! Camp — Clinton Hill
87 Irving Place
In spite of the name (which refers not to rock n' roll, but to the fact that girls and women rock), campers in both Jumpstart and Girls Rock! explore many types of music at these week-long day camps for girls, taught exclusively by women. While there is just one week of Jumpstart each summer, Girls Rock! offers two week-long sessions. Choices include instrument instruction, workshops, songwriting, and band practice. There are live performances with visiting artists, too. Camper experience levels can range from beginner to accomplished. To ensure girls from a range of economic backgrounds attend Rock Camp, the organization offers tuition on a sliding scale based on household income.
RELATED: 15 Preschool Summer Camps in NYC
Campers as young as 5 can join a School of Rock session in Gowanus. Photo courtesy of School of Rock.
School of Rock Brooklyn — Gowanus
327 Douglass Street
Week-long camps at School of Rock Brooklyn are divided by age and experience level. The youngest campers get an introduction to classic and modern hits in Rock Camp 101 for kids ages 7-11. Older, more experienced musicians may choose from theme weeks, including The Beatles, Legends of Rock, Modern Rock, and a two-week songwriting and recording camp. Each week, kids spend time learning and playing songs with a band, absorbing music history and practicing their instruments. All sessions conclude with a concert.
USDAN Summer Camp for the Arts — Long Island
185 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley
With the goal of giving children the opportunity to develop artistic skills, regardless of talent level, USDAN transports 1,600 NYC students daily to its 140-acre campus in Huntington, Long Island. Campers must chose a major class and a minor. Music options include concert band, jazz ensemble, orchestra, classical and folk guitar, chamber music, and more.
This post, originally published in February 2016, has since been updated.
Top photo courtesy of School of Rock Brooklyn.