Week-long summer residential course

A holiday like no other – Scottish Schools Orchestra Trust’s summer courses are a unique opportunity for children to make friends, expand their musical horizons and develop a love of group music-making which will last a lifetime.

SScOT’s summer residential course is a non-auditioned, six-day activity holiday including a mixture of outstanding musical teaching, sport and art sessions, and social activities.

Participants will be placed in one of our three ensembles, who they will rehearse with throughout the week, preparing for our final concerts at the end of the course. Led by inspirational conductors, and supported by exceptional instrumental tutors, participants will find motivation and enthusiasm for music-making that lasts throughout the year, as well as making new friends and growing in self-confidence.

We are grateful for the generosity of our funders: The Turtleton Charitable Trust, the Tay Charitable Trust, the Cruden Foundation, the JTH Charitable Trust, the Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, and the William Syson Charitable Foundation, who have all supported the 2019 summer course.

I enjoyed everything! My badminton improved as much as my cello playing!” 2017 participant

Summer Course 2020

The 2020 course runs from 13-18 July at Queen Victoria School, Dunblane. Participants arrive at QVS on the Monday afternoon, and should be collected following the end-of-course concerts on the Saturday evening.

Booking will open in early 2020 – join our mailing list to be the first to find out.

Who can take part?

The summer course is open to any child aged 9-15, who plays an orchestral or wind band instrument at grade two to grade 8 level and beyond. There are no auditions.

What will they play?

Participants will be placed within one of three ensembles.

More advanced players will join the Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Rowe, playing a mix of well- known classical masterpieces and lesser known arrangements. Recent programmes have included works by Dvořák, Bizet, Malcolm Arnold, and even new works written specially for SScOT. Repertoire for 2019 included the overture to Nabucco by Verdi, Malcolm Arnold’s Little Suite No.2 and movements from Bizet’s Carmen Suites.

Younger players will join the Junior String Orchestra, conducted by Joanna Petrie, or the Wind Band, conducted by Susan Dingle, where they will learn music chosen to challenge them at their own level – often including film music and folk music.

There will be an opportunity for musicians of all ages to play together at various points in the week – the Symphonic Wind Band, Brass Ensemble and String Orchestra contain all players of the relevant instruments. Finally, every participant on the course will play together in the Grand Orchestra, whose performance is always the grand finale of our end-of-course concerts.

I felt really well supported when I was learning the music. This was the biggest orchestra I’ve played in and it felt awesome!” 2017 participant

What is the timetable like?

Our timetables are varied, but will always include a mix of sectional rehearsals, ensemble rehearsals, sport or art sessions and an evening entertainment – ranging from concerts to ceilidhs and beyond! There will be an open day on the Thursday of the course when parents and siblings will be invited to visit their children and see the course in progress.

When are the final concerts?

Final concerts take place at 2.45pm and 4.45pm on the final Saturday of the course at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline. Tickets cost £10 for adults and £4 for school children.

Words always fail me when I witness what has been achieved in a week. It’s astounding.” Parent of 2017 participant

What does it cost?

Course costs for 2020 will be advertised in due course.

Thanks to our generous funders our course costs are already considerably subsidised versus the real costs of delivering the course, which would be about £750 per participant. However, we know our fees can be out of reach for some families and we are determined to keep SScOT as accessible as possible, so please see our bursaries page for information about financial support available.

In the event of withdrawal, £30 will be kept from the deposit to cover administrative costs. The deposit will be forfeit for withdrawals within one month of the start of the course, unless supported by a medical certificate. No refund of fees will be made for withdrawals less than a week before the course start date. Please see our full terms and conditions of booking.

How to apply

Application is by online form. A link will be posted here once applications open.

Summer Course Staff

Matthew Rowe

Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra

Matthew studied conducting with Colin Metters, George Hurst, John Carewe and Frederik Prausnitz, and won prizes at a number of international conducting competitions including the 1999 Leeds Conductors Competition. He has appeared with all the BBC orchestras as well as the London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber and Ulster Orchestras, the London Mozart Players, Manchester Camerata, Birmingham Royal Ballet and many European orchestras. Matthew enjoys coaxing the very best from all ages and abilities and has been involved with a multitude of education projects and youth orchestras. From  2009 until 2012 he was Director of Orchestral Studies at San Diego University in California.  In January 2013 he took up the position of Music Director of Dutch National Ballet and Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of Dutch National Ballet.

Joanna Petrie

Conductor of the String Orchestra

Since graduating with a BA (Hons) in music from Durham University and a Certificate of Postgraduate Studies in viola from the RSAMD (now RCS), Joanna has enjoyed building a career which has combined the complementary disciplines of teaching, playing and ensemble direction. She spent the first 15 or so years of her career freelancing for the BBCSSO, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, the Orchestra of Scottish Ballet and smaller chamber groups, along with teaching across several councils and independent schools in Scotland. Favourite moments from this time include going on foreign tours, especially to South America where she tried tango dancing; a production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle where she learnt the importance of a really tasty packed tea for keeping up energy; and many exciting BBC Proms concerts and recordings where she learnt that people in the queue for the Proms really do put out table-cloths and glasses on the pavement. She also benefited from working with children and adults with additional support needs through the charity Artlink and has tutored for SScOT and other youth orchestras since 2004, where she can pass on her tips for stamina, amongst other topics, to the next generation of players. Joanna has enjoyed learning what young players like most about ensemble playing through her five-year directorship of the string orchestras at Hillfoots Music for Youth in Alva, and is now a string teacher and Co-ordinator of Co-curricular Music at the High School of Dundee where she has the pleasure of conducting several string ensembles of different ages and levels. She is currently undertaking further study in just what makes a string ensemble tick with the hope of giving the lasting gift of this wonderful pastime to musicians from the younger generation.

Susan Dingle

Conductor of the Wind Bands

Susan has an honours degree in music from Sheffield University and an M.Mus (conducting) from the RSAMD (now the RCS) in Glasgow, where she studied with Martyn Brabbins. She also studied at the State Conservatory in St. Petersburg with Alexander Polishchuk and Ilya Musin. She is principal conductor of the Highland Chamber Orchestra, the Caithness Orchestra and the Wick Choral Society. She was Music Director of the Cumbernauld Choir for 14 years and founder conductor of the Glasgow Caledonian University Choir and has conducted the Renfrewshire Schools Symphony and Stirlingshire Youth Orchestras. She relocated to Caithness in 2012 and is now runningcaithnessmusic.com with Katrina Gordon, providing instrumental instruction and group music-making activities for as wide a cross-section of the Caithness community as possible. They recently created the Far North Youth Orchestra for ages 8-13 from Caithness and Sutherland and established the Caithness Junior Orchestra in September 2014.