sonatina1Summer Sonatina is an international piano camp for students (ages 7-16) held in a large historic mansion in Old Bennington, Vermont. The summer of 2014 will be our 45th season.

  • Philosophy Encourages students to become dedicated, serious musicians who develop resourcefulness, thoughtfulness and self-discipline.
  • Musical progress proceeds according to each student's ability, often at a surprisingly rapid rate. Emphasis is on all aspects of music, and also on lasting personal relationships with fellow musicians.
  • A group atmosphere is created which allows children to grow responsibly with peers and as a member of a wider musical family.
  • Students also participate in concert rehearsals, sight reading, chorus, theory and composition classes, master classes, musical discussions, as well as many recreational activities (dances, movies, ice cream trips, musical productions, plays, theater, weekly trip to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center or Tanglewood Music Center, arts and crafts, baking, blueberry picking, composing, hiking, picnics, museum trips, sports, swimming, sigtseeing tirp to downtown Bennington).
  • There are 42 students per week (Sunday through Sunday) and stay under one roof with the Director, faculty and staff.

Philosophy: encouraging students to become dedicated, serious musicians who develop resourcefulness, thoughtfulness and self discipline. Emphasis is on all aspects of music and on lasting personal relationships with fellow musicians. In a carefully created group atmosphere, children grow responsibly with peers and as members of a wider musical family.


Dates for 2014:


Week 1 (June 22-June 29)

Week 2 (June 29 - July 6)

Week 3 (July 6 - 13)

Week 4 (July 13 – 20)

Week 5 (July 20 – 27)




  • All levels are welcome, no auditions required
  • All levels of ability, non-competitive, supportive, nurturing environment
  • Students work with several teachers and many different pianos



  • 4 one-hour lessons per week, multiple teachers (one on one lessons, working on repertoire, technique and refining the musical expression.
  • Faculty will work on pieces you bring to camp or they'll supplement to your current repertoire and/or assign new pieces.


  • Polly’s sister, Tasha, invented the practice wheel at age 9
  • Rotating shifts, morning, early and late afternoon, lessons 1-1.5 hours
  • Camp chores may include: sweeping, dishes or surprise vacation!



  • These are lessons with an audience: students perform while others listen and follow the score. Faculty works with the individual and provides comments.
  • Immediate results by describing what the music is doing and how to improve technique
  • Live-streamed on our web site,



  • Classes are held every morning, not conflicting with your practice time. Topics include basic to advanced theory, lectures on music and art interpretation, learning the blues, technique, how to approach contemporary (and avant garde) music, as well as setting up a dress rehearsal for the final concert.



  • Students present two concerts each week; Thursday (6:00 pm at the Bennington Center for the Arts) and the more informal Sunday morning (concerts at 10:30 am on the back lawn) The public, family and friends are welcome to attend.
  • Concerts are professionally recorded and available as audio CDs with by Mountaintop Studios (Joel Patterson - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
  • The concerts are live-streamed on our web site,


A typical day at SSIPC:

7:30 - 8:00 a.m. Arise, make beds and clean bedrooms

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Breakfast

9:00 - 10:00 a.m. Piano practice and/or private lesson

10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Do assigned chore for the day

10:30 - 12:00 p.m. Participate in recreational activities

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Supervised off-shift activity

2:00 - 2:50 p.m. Piano practice and/or private lesson

2:50 - 4:10 p.m. Summer Sonatina singers rehearsal

4:10 - 5:00 p.m. General music, theory or composition class

5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Piano practice and/or private lesson

6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Dinner

Evenings: Outdoor sports, then evening events

During the evenings musical discussions, concerts, master classes or lectures are presented by the Faculty.