CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Music Mad Families choose to holiday at a Devon Summer School which gives children a lifelong passion for music

PUBLISHED: 14:11 02 July 2014


Families who are passionate about music are choosing the International Summer School at Dartington, South Devon to inspire their children with a range of courses ranging from “Dirty Electronics” to an Orchestral Workshop, Songs from the Musicals and a Gospel Choir. The Summer School runs for three weeks from 26 July to 16 August and is located on the magnificent Dartington Estate in Totnes.

This year the Summer School is seeing an increase in interest from families who want to choose an educational break that all the family can enjoy. Programme Manager, Justine Peberdy, comments, “The Summer School is ideal for families with children who have perhaps already been introduced to classical music; maybe they are learning to play an instrument, or they sing in a choir already, whatever their level of expertise Dartington will inspire them. They will be surrounded by people of all ages whose common bond is a love of music, the keen beginner, the enthusiastic amateur and the talented student aspiring to the level of the top performers who form the teaching faculty and give concerts.”

There are programmes of courses which are open to anyone of any age and any ability and for which no musical experience is necessary. In each week there is Tai Chi Qigong in the morning, Exploration Sessions in the afternoon and a fabulous evening concert.

The Messenger family from Rural Yorkshire has spent many years coming to the Summer School and tells how the School has played a key part in their family holidays. Now in his early fifties, John Messenger says, “We have four children aged 12 to 19. My wife first attended DISS when she was a student around 1980 I think, and I first attended in around 1986.” The family has spent many holidays at DISS subsequently and have seen the benefits of introducing their children to classical music.

“Our children are all musically accomplished, from enthusiastic learners to post-grade 8 players, and one is likely to make music his career. Most of them play more than one instrument to a good standard. Their first instruments are violin and ‘cello, but there are other instruments in the mix including jazz trombone, piano and bassoon.

“Dartington provides many unexpected opportunities, and one year I found myself performing my favourite choral piece, Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia with the chamber choir which was later broadcast on Radio 3. For a very amateur tenor, that was a big thrill. Typically we will join either the main choir or the main orchestra for the morning session, and then do chamber music or other courses during the rest of the day. Our children also do choir or orchestra and have very much enjoyed the Gamelan and the Jazz courses.

“The evening concerts are an important part of the DISS experience and I have strong memories of hearing things which I would never have listened to otherwise, such as the complete Bartok string quartets. The summer school can be a very intense experience, totally filling one’s life for a week from waking to sleeping, and typically culminating in a performance on the Friday night which is fulfilling and successful, in a way that as recently as Thursday morning one would not have dreamed possible.”

The Messenger family recommend camping on the Dartington Estate as the perfect recipe for a successful Dartington family experience. Families can either bring their own tents, caravan or campervan and the cost is £464 for an adult and £230 for a child aged between 5 and 15. The cost covers the pitch and all courses. There is also a tented village which provides a tent and all meals. The cost for this is £567 per adult and £400 for a child aged between 5 and 15. A whole range of other accommodation is also available ranging from luxurious rooms in the Medieval Courtyard to basic hostel style.

When asked if the Dartington experience was worthwhile and represented value for money, John Messenger comments “In terms of value for money, I have no doubts. The experience is priceless and can be instrumental in enlivening one’s interest in playing or singing, whether for an adult or a child.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Tue, 16:33

With breathtaking beaches, rolling countryside, stately homes and unique villages, it’s no wonder high-profile film productions flock to Devon - how well do you know the movies that have set up camp here however?

Read more
Tue, 15:17

Whether it’s on our beautiful beaches, in our magnificent moors or within our stunning stately homes, film productions are constantly setting up in Devon. Here are 16 that you might not know used the county as a filming location

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

From angry spirits to headless horses and ghoulish monks, Devon has more than a few supernatural stories to get your skin crawling. We have picked 11 haunted places in the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October is the perfect time to discover the joys of Exmoor. Jennette Baxter of Visit Exmoor suggests five great ways to enjoy autumn on the moor

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The South West Coast Path is celebrating 40 years by calling on people to help raise £40,000. To show their support, teams from Devon’s top tourist attractions are preparing to take to the trail. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Away from the hustle of places like Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, North Devon is peppered with tiny coves, empty beaches and wooded walks leading to secluded bays that feel a million miles away from the tourist trail. BECKY DICKINSON reveals her pick of the best kept secrets on the North Devon coast

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

As part of her regular series where she visits Devon’s best places for 24 hours, Lydia Tewkesbury has this time been to Sidmouth

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ranging from rocky and windy walkways along the South West Coast Path to the sandy beaches on the picturesque coastline, the district of North Devon is one of the prettiest coastal areas in the South West of England. In no particular order, here are 10 of the prettiest villages in the district of North Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Devon’s towns and cities there’s an awful lot you can do in just 24 hours. For her regular feature, Lydia Tewkesbury travels to see what you can do in a day in Kingsbridge

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Villages in Devon are some of the prettiest in the South West. From beautiful little hamlets on the outskirts of the moors to seaside communities, we pick 10 villages in Devon you need to visit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search