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Kids and Youth Roots Music Opportunities - Summer Music Camps for Kids and Teens

Updated: Jul 17

Kids interested in learning banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, dobro, or other folk instruments don't often have the opportunity to do so in public schools.

I found a love of music in various roots traditions while attending Mark O'Connor's early Berklee Summer String Camps.

This was the perfect place for a teenager not yet inspired to practice or seek out musical opportunities on my own. I left feeling inspired and naturally motivated to make music and seek out social musical experiences all on my own.

I wish I had known about these camps earlier- That's why I'm making it my mission to connect parents with these amazing opportunities.

Join the New England Roots Kids Email Group to stay in the conversation

"Dedicated to maintaining conversation between Parents and Roots Youth Music Programs in order to coordinate/raise awareness for youth opportunities in Greater New England"

What is Roots Music?

I define this broadly as: Bluegrass, Country, Traditional, Irish, Scottish, Celtic, swing, Scandinavian, Old-Time, Blues, rag-time, cajun, and other fiddle/fiddling traditions. Kids uniquely benefit from engaging in roots music because the camps and classes are often non-competitive, family friendly, and communally oriented. They also encourage a lifelong love, appreciation for, and participation in music for the long haul- not just in the K-12 school systems.

Here are some New England Roots Music Youth Programs to be aware of...

Included are Summer Music Camps for Kids and Teens, music instruction for all levels, (beginner to advanced) and music lessons/learning opportunities throughout the year.

Buffalo Bluegrass Youth Ensemble (NY)

Strawberry Hill Fiddlers (NY)

Youth Commission in Vermont

Tony Watt's Kids Academy (MA)

String Traditions (MA), Ashokan Family Camp (NY)

Youth Bluegrass Country and Roots (CT)

Podunk Bluegrass Kids Academy (CT)

Jenny Brook Kids Academy (VT)

Delaware Valley Kids Academy (NJ)

Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival Kids Academy (PA)

Grey Fox Kids Academy (NY)

Little Roots Music in (MA)

Roots and Sprouts (ME)

Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival 2023 Young Pickers & Singers! (ME)

Joe Val Kids Academy (MA)

Berklee College of Music Summer Day Programs (MA)

Acoustic Roots Orchestra/New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble (NH),

Fiddles in the Forest (NY)

CampusGrass (provides high school and college students with the inspiration and resources to help create successful Bluegrass clubs in their schools)


Austin Scelzo is passionate about education, empowering others, and inspiring a lifelong love of music in people of all ages.

After serving in the public schools as a Darien Public Schools Orchestra teacher, Austin decided to take a big risk in transitioning from a creative orchestra teacher to musical entrepreneur. This decision followed his growing love for bluegrass music and desire to serve and provide resources to that community. He founded the Connecticut Bluegrass Association, which seeks to promote Bluegrass Bands, Education, Jams, festivals, and event Venues in and around CT.

Nowadays, Austin still visits schools as a clinician, presents at professional development sessions, and shares resources for public school teachers to incorporate non-traditional approaches to education on YouTube and in his blog.

Austin’s main educational goal is to channel his passion for education into resources that students and teachers alike can use:

-Bluegrass in the Schools - (Guided Improvisation, microphone and amplification, instrument demo)

-Satisfying, Interesting, Invigorating, and Enjoyable Practice

-Strategies for Increasing Student Engagement and Parent involvement using simple Free Tech.

-What I've Learned from Music Camps

-Singing, Ear Training, and other Fundamentals

-Music Teacher Resources


-(Listen to the Rock Orchestra and other music here)

Published Literature:

A Greater World Through the Transformative Power of Music

A Historical and Cultural Perspective on the American Instrumental Ensemble

Personal Philosophy of Music Education - Austin Scelzo

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