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 D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Cruden Foundation, the Tay Charitable Trust and the JTH Charitable Trust, who supported the 2018 summer course.

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

Summer Course 2019

The 2019 course runs from 15-20 July at Queen Victoria School, Dunblane. Participants arrive at QVS on the Monday afternoon, and should be collected from Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, following the end-of-course concerts.


Applications will open in early 2019 – check back for more information nearer the time.

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 or 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 2018 included the overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor by Otto Nicolai, the Nocturne from King Christian II by Sibelius, and Britten’s Soirées Musicales.

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 concert details for the 2019 summer course will be announced nearer the time. Traditionally these take place at 2.45pm and 4.45pm on the last day of the course at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline.

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 2019 will be announced in due course

How to apply

Applications are by online form, which will be available from early 2019.

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.