Discover the Magic of Music at Kinhaven Senior Summer Session

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

zoomed in picture of people playing the cello and violins

Discover the Magic of Music at Kinhaven Senior Summer Session

Imagine spending an incredible six weeks at Kinhaven’s Senior Summer Session, set amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Weston, Vermont. Here, 90 young musicians come together for a musical journey like no other!

You’ll get to play chamber music, join orchestras, and perform in large ensembles. But that’s not all – there are also private music lessons, group chorales, and spontaneous jam sessions.

Beyond music, Kinhaven offers a vibrant arts and activities program. You can explore your creative side with pottery and art, dance to folk tunes, take a dip in a natural swimming pond, go hiking, and embark on exciting field trips to nearby places. You can even stroll to the town center for some local fun.

Kinhaven is more than just music; it’s about creating lasting memories and friendships. Many students return year after year because of its incredible programs, cherished traditions, and mouthwatering farm-to-table meals.

And the best part? This extraordinary experience is led by experts like Anthony Mazzocchi and Deborah Buck, along with a team of world-class musicians who are dedicated to helping talented high school students like you.

Exploring the Legacy of Kinhaven Music School

Nestled in the picturesque hills of Weston, Vermont, Kinhaven Music School is a renowned summer haven for music enthusiasts of all ages. Let’s delve into the rich history and vibrant culture of this musical institution that has been nurturing talents for decades.

The Founders and Their Musical Odyssey

Kinhaven owes its existence to the visionary music educators, David and Dorothy Dushkin. Their musical journey began in Paris in 1927 under the tutelage of the famous Nadia Boulanger.

After marrying in 1930, they established The School of Musical Arts and Crafts in Winnetka, Illinois, now known as The Music Institute of Chicago. Their belief in ensemble playing and community-driven music education quickly gained national acclaim.

Inception and Growth

In 1952, Kinhaven Music School came to life as a summer music camp with just 13 students. Under David’s direction, chamber music became the cornerstone of Kinhaven’s mission, while Dorothy introduced the tradition of closing each session with group singing, often featuring a Bach cantata.

The camp’s central purpose has always been to share the joy of music through chamber music and singing.

Over the years, Kinhaven experienced significant growth. In the 1950s and 1960s, its core program, now known as Senior Session, served up to 90 students.

Jerry Bidlack, a prominent conductor, joined in 1967 and later became the executive director in 1981. The institution expanded to include an adult chamber music session and a camp for middle-school students.

The Legacy Continues

Today, Kinhaven’s legacy lives on under the leadership of Co-executive Directors Deborah Buck and Tony Mazzocchi. They are dedicated to upholding Kinhaven’s vision while ensuring its long-term sustainability. The institution continues to offer opportunities for musicians to immerse themselves in high-level music-making in a nurturing and supportive environment.

Kinhaven Music School stands as a testament to the enduring power of music education and community. Its commitment to fostering the love of music and shared learning remains as strong as ever.

Explore Kinhaven, and you’ll discover not just a school but a vibrant community where music thrives and friendships flourish!

Music Teachers' Association of California

Chamber Music: The Heart of Kinhaven Music Program

In this exciting musical journey, every high school student becomes part of a chamber group led by a dedicated coach. Together, you’ll dive into a musical masterpiece perfectly tailored to your group’s skills. But here’s the magic: your teachers aren’t just instructors; they’re your guides on a musical adventure.

Each week, there’s a special time for progress discussions and the creation of fresh, harmonious chamber ensembles. Imagine this: you and your peers, supported by a talented faculty coach, delving into a handpicked piece designed to complement your abilities and push your boundaries.

Once you’ve mastered and performed your musical gem, get ready for a thrilling twist! You’ll be whisked away to new ensembles, guided by different coaches, and presented with entirely new musical challenges.

It’s a dynamic journey of growth, collaboration, and the joy of discovering new melodies. Get ready to explore, create, and harmonize like never before!

Large Ensemble

Get ready for an exciting musical journey! The Kinhaven Senior Session brings together talented high school students like you to embark on a thrilling exploration of musical literature. In our large ensembles, you’ll dive into the captivating world of string orchestra, woodwind, brass, percussion, and mesmerizing combined ensembles.

It’s a chance to discover the beauty of music in various forms and instruments, and you’ll be at the heart of it all. Join them as they create harmonious symphonies, craft breathtaking melodies, and make music magic happen!


Step into the enchanting world of Kinhaven’s orchestra! Their musical ensemble takes you on a captivating journey through the rich and timeless classical symphonic repertoire.

Imagine nightly rehearsals filled with passion and dedication, leading up to a mesmerizing performance that graces the stage every Sunday afternoon.

What makes their orchestra genuinely unique is the spirit of collaboration and creativity. The seating arrangement is far from competitive; it’s a dynamic rotation that ensures everyone gets a chance to shine.

And to add to the magic, they welcome renowned guest conductors who infuse their unique artistic visions into the repertoire.

Here’s a glimpse of the musical wonders they’ve explored in recent years:

  • Brahms, First and Second Symphonies
  • Shostakovich, Fifth and Tenth Symphonies
  • Sibelius, Second Symphony
  • Tschaikovsky, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Symphonies
  • Mozart, Jupiter Symphony
  • Stravinsky, Rite of Spring
  • Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique
  • Mahler, First Symphony
  • Respighi, Pines of Rome
  • Hindemith, Symphonic Metamorphosis
  • Liszt, Les Préludes
  • Debussy, La Mer
  • Bartok, Dance Suite
  • Bernstein, West Side Story
  • Strauss, Till Eulenspiegel


Students unite as a chorus three times a week, forming a harmonious blend of voices spanning a spectrum of skills. In the first half of summer, they dive into the enchanting melodies of madrigals, chorales, and rounds.

The second half brings the crescendo as you prepare grand works, often Bach cantatas, for a spectacular final concert. In these communal melodies, Kinhaven honors the founders’ dream of creating music together.

Chamber Choir

For those with a passion for singing, the Chamber Choir beckons! Explore the intricate beauty of madrigals, chamber cantatas, and other gems tailored for a small choir.


Unleash your inner composer! Beginners can join group classes with Kinhaven’s resident composer (no prior experience required), while advanced students delve into private lessons and weekly group seminars.

Topics range from instrumentation and orchestration to score preparation and the art of musical analysis. Each summer, their Student Composers’ Concert showcases your chamber works, crafted before or during your time at Kinhaven.

Private Lessons & Master Classes

Nurture your musical talent with personalized, one-on-one lessons on your primary instrument. Frequent teacher-student meetings ensure your progress soars.

Join studio/performance classes and embrace the spotlight. Plus, engage with world-class clinicians in inspiring master classes throughout the summer.


Beyond music, Kinhaven Music School’s 31-acre campus offers a haven of recreation. Dive into their serene swimming pond, volley on the court, kick it on the soccer field, or shoot hoops on the basketball court.

Challenge friends to a ping pong match, embark on scenic hikes or wander into town for adventures. Their Activities Staff organizes outings, games, folk dancing, and thrilling scavenger hunts. Don’t miss the regatta-style boat race or strawberry picking!

Art House

Explore your artistic side in our fully equipped pottery studio, equipped with kilns and potters’ wheels. Delve into sculpture, drawing, painting, carving, silk-screening, and even tie-dying.

Embrace the tranquility of afternoons for reading, practicing, games, or simply savoring the beauty of Kinhaven’s scenic hillside.

An African American female student inside a campus looking happy

A Day at Kinhaven Senior Summer Session

Imagine a day filled with music, learning, and fun at Kinhaven! Here’s a sneak peek into your daily schedule:

7:30 AM – Rise and Shine: You will kickstart the day with a hearty breakfast, fueling yourselves for the musical journey ahead.

8:30 AM – Practice and Private Lessons: It’s time to fine-tune our musical skills during practice and engage in inspiring private lessons.

9:30 AM – Orchestral Marvels: Delve into the world of music with the String Orchestra, Large Ensembles, and Chorus. The harmonious melodies fill the air!

10:30 AM – Chamber Music: As the morning progresses, you explore the intricate beauty of chamber music, creating melodies that resonate with our hearts.

11:30 AM – Artistry Continues: The musical journey doesn’t stop. You continue practicing, attending lessons, and immersing yourself in the enchanting Chamber Choir.

1:00 PM – Lunchtime: A well-deserved break to refuel your bodies with delicious food and share stories with fellow musicians.

2:00 PM – Recreation and Practice: The afternoon brings a blend of recreational activities and focused practice time, where you balance music with leisure.

6:00 PM – Dinner: You gather once more to enjoy a scrumptious dinner, sharing your musical experiences and forming lifelong friendships.

7:30 PM – Symphony Spectacular: The evening is a crescendo as you all come together for the Symphony Orchestra, creating unforgettable musical moments.

9:30 PM – Late-Night Snacks: A little midnight snack to keep your energy up as you dive into musical endeavors.

10:30 PM – Lights Out: As the day comes to a close, you head to bed, ready to dream of the melodies that await you tomorrow.

At Kinhaven, each day is a harmonious blend of music, camaraderie, and adventure, making our summer unforgettable!

Experience the Magic of Performances

At Kinhaven, your music journey is incomplete without the magic of performances. Every piece you diligently practice throughout the program culminates in a captivating performance.

These aren’t just any performances; they’re open to your families, friends, and the entire community! It’s a chance to showcase your musical talents and share the joy of music with a broader audience.

But that’s not all – Kinhaven’s extraordinary faculty members, who are world-class musicians themselves, take the stage every week.

Imagine witnessing their musical prowess and being inspired by their artistry. It’s a musical treat that awaits you!

Student Concerts: Where Stars Shine

For you, the stars of the Kinhaven Senior Summer Session program, there are special Student Concerts held on Fridays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

What’s even more exciting is that these concerts are streamed live, so even if your loved ones can’t be there in person, they can still watch you shine from anywhere in the world.

Faculty Concerts: A Night of Musical Brilliance

Saturdays at 7:30 PM are reserved for Faculty Concerts. It’s a night when accomplished instructors showcase their talents, reminding you all why they are considered masters of their craft. You won’t want to miss these mesmerizing performances.

Eligibility: Join the Musical Journey

If you’re in the eighth through twelfth grades, you’re eligible to be part of the Senior Session.

However, here’s the commitment – to fully immerse yourself in the musical experience, you should be able to attend all six weeks of the program. It’s a journey of growth, learning, and unforgettable music that you won’t want to miss!

So, get ready to be part of the musical magic at Kinhaven. It’s not just music; it’s a symphony of memories waiting to be made!

Which musical instruments are required for admission to Kinhaven Senior Summer Session?

Kinhaven Senior Summer Session welcomes students who play instruments from the following categories:

  • Orchestral strings (including violin, viola, cello, and bass)
  • Orchestral winds (such as flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon)
  • Orchestral brass (including horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba)
  • Orchestral percussion (encompassing snare/traps/keyboards and timpani)
  • Piano

Application Process

Here are the steps to apply for the Kinhaven Summer Session:

  1. Fill out an online application form. The link is available on their official website. The applications for Summer 2024 will open this November 15, 2023. So mark your calendars, aspiring musicians!
  1. Prepare your audition materials or recording.

When you feel prepared, upload them to a cloud-based platform of your choice, such as YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, etc. Recordings should be no older than six months.

An important tip to remember: Kindly refrain from sending recordings as attachments, as they won’t have the capability to access them.

Tuition & Financial Aid

The comprehensive cost for the summer of 2024 amounts to $7,950.

Please note that tuition fees are non-refundable, except in cases of forced cancellation.

Assistance in the form of financial aid is accessible to eligible students who can demonstrate financial need. If you have inquiries regarding financial aid, you are strongly encouraged to complete an application and get in touch with Kinhaven Music School’s office.

Music sheet, laptop and coffee in a tzble

What Makes the Kinhaven Senior Summer Session Special?

Imagine receiving world-class instruction from accomplished musicians and educators who are as passionate about music as you are.

At Kinhaven, this dream becomes a reality. Whether you’re a violin virtuoso, a piano prodigy, or a clarinet connoisseur, there’s a place for you.

The Kinhaven Senior Summer Session Special daily rehearsals and private lessons are your path to musical mastery. Dive deep into your chosen instrument, refine your techniques, and unlock your artistic potential. Kinhaven is where your music becomes an extraordinary symphony.

Forge Friendships That Last a Lifetime

Picture being surrounded by peers who share your unwavering love for music. At Kinhaven, you’ll find kindred spirits who will become lifelong friends. The bonds you form here are not just notes on a score; they’re the harmonies of enduring friendships.

Collaborate with fellow musicians, create breathtaking ensembles, and experience the pure joy of making music together. The stage isn’t just a platform for solos; it’s where your collective talents create a symphonic masterpiece.

Ignite the Stage with Inspiring Performances

It’s your moment to shine under the spotlight! Showcase your musical prowess in the program’s weekly concerts and recitals. Share your passion for music with an eager audience and experience the sheer exhilaration of performing.

But the magic doesn’t end there. Prepare to be mesmerized by captivating performances by renowned guest artists who will expand your musical horizons. At Kinhaven, they believe that inspiration is the fuel for your artistic fire.

Nature’s Serenity: The Stunning Vermont Location

Kinhaven’s home in Weston, Vermont, offers more than just musical beauty; it’s a natural wonderland waiting to be explored. Immerse yourself in lush forests, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and find inspiration in the serenity of nature.

Personal Growth: Beyond the Music

While Kinhaven is a haven for music, it’s also a place where personal growth and leadership flourish. Gain confidence as you step onto the stage, independence as you navigate your musical journey, and a deeper understanding of yourself as you evolve as an artist.


Kinhaven Senior Session program is a transformative experience for high school students who are passionate about music. It’s a place where melodies meet friendships, where skills are honed, and where creativity knows no bounds.

Throughout this article, we’ve uncovered the magic of Kinhaven – from its breathtaking Vermont setting to the dedicated faculty and the inspiring fellow musicians you’ll meet. We’ve seen how the program nurtures your musicality and helps you grow as an artist and a person.

Kinhaven Senior Summer Session offers a unique chance to immerse yourself in the world of music, explore your potential, and form connections that will last a lifetime. It’s not just about playing notes; it’s about discovering your voice, your passion, and your place in the world of music.

So, high school musicians, as you consider your summer plans, remember that Kinhaven Senior Session isn’t just a destination; it’s a musical journey waiting for you to embark on.

Whether you’re a seasoned performer or just starting your musical voyage, Kinhaven welcomes you with open arms.

As you prepare for your own musical adventure, remember that Kinhaven Senior Session is where your symphony begins, where your musical dreams take flight, and where lifelong memories are created. Embrace this opportunity, and let your melodies soar!

We hope this blog has been a source of inspiration, and we can’t wait to see you at Kinhaven, where the music truly comes alive.

If you’re seeking assistance in gaining admission to summer or pre-college programs, it’s valuable to seek advice from experts in college admissions, such as AdmissionSight. With more than ten years of experience, our team has successfully navigated students through the challenging admissions process, ensuring their acceptance into prestigious universities worldwide. Don’t hesitate to schedule your first consultation with us!


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