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The 7 Best Instrumental Music Camps in the Midwest

summer music camp bonfire activity

The end of school is just around the corner. Before we know it, summer will be here!

There are so many fun activities in the summer. Going to cookouts, swimming at the pool, and spending time with friends are just a few options.

For many kids across the U.S., summer is a time to go to camp and have great experiences making friends and learning new things.

The only problem is that there are so many camps out there, it’s hard to choose which one to attend! If your child is in band or orchestra, instrumental music camps might just be the perfect choice.

Why Go to an Instrumental Music Camp?

Instrumental music camps are a great option for kids who enjoy band or orchestra. Not only will your kids get to experience camp, but they will also have time to practice their instruments and deepen their understanding of music!

Why not practice while also having an awesome camp experience?

For some students, attending an instrumental music camp inspires them to practice more during the summer. We’ve already covered why it’s so beneficial to practice your instrument over the summer. Why not practice while also having an awesome camp experience?

orchestra rehearsal

Do you think your child might be interested in going to a music camp this summer? Are you worried you will have to fly them across the country? Well, you won’t have to bother with that because there are so many great camps right here in the midwest. Think about what aspects of a camp are most important to your family and decide on one that works best for you!

the french horn section rehearsing

We’ve compiled a list of the 7 best instrumental music camps in the midwest to make your search a little easier. Find one that works with your budget, schedule, and preferences and register today!

7 Best Instrumental Music Camps Right Here in the Midwest

Butler University Summer Music Camps

Butler University

Butler University in Indianapolis is a great option for students who would like to attend a music camp but are not able to attend a longer session. Butler’s music camps run anywhere between 2 to 5 days, giving a lot of flexibility if you already have a pretty packed summer.

For kids between the age of 7-11, there are a couple of day camps if you want to take a family trip to Indianapolis for a few days!

One benefit of Butler’s Summer Music Camp is that each has a focus on different instruments, including bass, brass, guitar, piano, snare and tenor, strings, and woodwind.

Most of the camps at Butler require students to have at least one year of study in their instrument so that they are able to play at a slightly more advanced level.

The affordable price and flexibility of Butler’s camps make it a great choice for many families!

Where: Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana

When: June-July (Varies by camp)

Who: Ages 7-11 can attend day camps and ages 12-18 have residential camp options

Cost: $600-$750 depending on camp

Scholarships or Financial Aid offered? Yes

Summer Music Institute at BGSU

An ensemble rehearsal at the Bowling Green State University's Summer Music Institute

Bowling Green State University’s (BGSU) Summer Music Institute is a very affordable and fun program for high school students who want to improve their musical skills.

While students won’t get the traditional outdoorsy “camp” experience on a college campus, they will still have plenty of time for fun in the evenings! Not to mention that at less than $600 for a whole week, Summer Music Institute is a great option for families who aren’t ready to shell out thousands of dollars to send their children to camp.

While most of the camps are only for high school students, there are also a few camps that kids as young as 12 can attend.

If you have a high school student considering attending BGSU or who wants to major in music, this would be a great time to make connections because students will have the opportunity to work with BGSU music faculty as well as guest musicians.

Where: Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio

When: June 16-June 28

Who: Ages 12-18 with prior instrumental experience, some camps only available to high school students

Cost: $575 per session

Scholarships or Financial Aid offered? Yes

Friends Music Camp

Friends Music Camp string ensemble

Located on the beautiful campus of Earlham College, Friends Music Camp brings the perfect combination of music and traditional camp activities.

Campers spend time during the day taking music classes, playing in ensembles or large groups, etc. In the evening, fun camp activities begin, such as swimming, attending a dance, or playing capture the flag!

With 2, 3, or 4 week camps available, there is great flexibility. While the overall cost is more than some camps, your child will be able to attend camp for a longer amount of time.

The camp is aptly named, because many students who attend this camp find that they make great friends. Maybe your child will be one of those friends this summer!

Where: Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana

When: July 7-August 4

Who: Students ages 10-17 who have been enrolled in music lessons or band/orchestra for at least one year

Cost: Prices range from $1,936-$2,865

Scholarships or Financial Aid offered? Yes

Music for All’s Summer Symposium

A Music For All Summer Symposium orchestra performance

From the organization that created Bands of America is Music for All’s Summer Symposium. This is a great option for high school students who are in band or orchestra to spend a week improving their music skills and enjoy meeting new people with similar interests.

One of the best parts about this camp is that it’s a lot more affordable than some other options! For only $715, your child can have a week of fun and learning.

They can choose between 11 different camp offerings, including marching band, concert band, jazz, and orchestra…there is truly something for everyone!

Where: Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana

When: June 24-29

Who: Students in grades 9-12

Cost: $715

Scholarships or Financial Aid offered? Yes

Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Summer Institute

Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Summer Institute

If your child is considering studying music in college, the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Summer Institute is a great opportunity for them to make important connections, develop their musical abilities, and spend a week doing something they love.

Students can choose between strings, keyboard, wind, percussion, and choral institutes. For students interested in going the extra mile, optional Intensive Tracks are available in Composition or Musical Theater for an additional cost.

Students who attend this camp will work not only with Baldwin Wallace Music faculty and students, but also with members of the Cleveland Orchestra!

While this camp does not have as much of a recreational focus as some of the others, it is a great option for older students who are serious about pursuing instrumental music in their future careers.

Where: Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio

When: July 4-13

Who: High school students considering studying music in college

Cost: $995 for 10 day camp

Scholarships or Financial Aid offered? Yes, but must live in Lorain County

Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Camp

Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Camp orchestra preformance

If your child is interested in spending the summer mastering his or her instrument, but isn’t really into the whole outdoorsy part of camping, Interlochen is a great choice!

Located in a beautiful area of northwestern Michigan, Interlochen has more of a college vibe than that of a summer camp.

Interlochen is more expensive than some other options – between $1200 and $1600 per week. However, their facilities are amazing and your child will have an opportunity to play with other students who are serious about mastering their instruments.

There are 20+ majors to pursue, and there are even camps that run for 6 week sessions if your child wants to go the extra mile!

Where: Traverse City, Michigan

When: Camps run in June and July

Who: Students in grades 3-12

Cost: $10,000/6 week session or $1,270/1 week session

Scholarships or Financial Aid offered? Yes

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp

Blue Lake Fine Arts campers posing for a picture during their summer music camp experience

Located in Manistee National Park, Blue Lake gives a true camp experience while also giving students the opportunity to grow in their instrumental music skills.

While staying in a cabin on a beautiful camp property, your child will have the opportunity to spend time in nature and playing games with others. Unlike typical camps, however, students will also spend time focusing on their instruments and musical abilities.

Campers can choose between 9 “majors” and 27 “minors” to give them a unique camp experience. Majors include band, orchestra, and jazz which are perfect for students looking to have fun while learning more about their instruments.

Blue Lake offers a really unique camp experience for your child and they are sure to have a great time!

Where: Twin Lake, Michigan

When: Sessions run between June 26th-August 18th. Each camp session is 10 days long.

Who: Students in grades 5-12 can attend Blue Lake

Cost: $1,400/session

Scholarships or Financial Aid offered? Yes


Not everyone will be able to make it to an instrumental music camp this summer. Every music student, however, can have the opportunity to improve their musical skills!

Take advantage of these long, carefree summer days: practice, practice, practice! We always recommend renting your instrument throughout the summer because practice really does make perfect. If you can practice while enjoying a summer at camp making new friends, that’s even better!

What instrumental music camp do you recommend? Tell us in the comments below!


About Author

Ryan Ruff is a Music Education Consultant for Kincaid's Is Music, using his expertise to help band and orchestra directors build better music programs. He graduated with a degree in Music Education from Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH.

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