For decades musical vacations have provided kids with a superb way to learn more about their musical interests, develop their singing or instrumental skills, and mature as a person.
Whether embarking on band camp, going on an overseas tour with a choral society or joining in with your school orchestra as it plays across the nation, here are a few excursions and breaks to open the mind of your musical child.
Cleveland has turned around its fortunes and, far from the city that was once infamous for its burning river, is now a bustling metropolis. At the heart of its success is the world renowned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a museum and exhibition center dedicated to the history of music’s greatest genre – Rock and Roll! Learn about the history of this most exciting form of music, the songs that propelled it forward as the world’s favourite thing to listen to, and the bands who marked their names in the history books forever. Visitors can read about and listen to legends like Elvis Presley and the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and U2, all the way to modern greats like the Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Guided tours inform and enthuse, and if your child is lucky they can even take in one of the regularly scheduled concerts held here. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is a must for any kid with a promising garage band, and hey, at least it gets them out of the house!
Every August, Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, receives over 2 million visitors who flock to experience the wonderful Edinburgh Festival, the world’s biggest arts festival. That’s not all, however, as the Edinburgh Fringe also attracts almost 30,000 performers, who come to take part in comedy shows, theatrical events, musical performances and more. And your child could be one of them! In fact thousands of performers at the Edinburgh Fringe are students from around the globe, who put on operas, choral renditions and plays for the benefit of the public. Staying in gorgeous surroundings, looked after by experienced staff and teachers, and performing to packed, appreciative crowds each and every night is an experience that is hard to beat.
Though not as big as London or New York, Vienna is still the undoubted classical music capital of the world, with everything from chamber music, symphonies, operas and orchestral balls on offer in a magical environment. This is the city of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Strauss after all, who each came to this refined and elegant capital to hone their craft.
Vienna continues to lead the way for classical music lovers, so kids involved in choirs or orchestras in their school, or those trying hard to perfect their piano or violin harmonies, are well advised to head here. Whether traveling with parents or in a wider, supervised group, there are plenty of opportunities to listen to great music and special classes, educational tours and performances can even be arranged to help you get closer to the music. Top tip: Make sure to stop off at the Burgtheater, the Staatsoper and the Wiener Musikverein when in town to get the best out of Vienna’s world class musical offerings.
More famous for Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, Orlando is also home to America Sings!, one of America’s premier singing events for teens. For more than 20 years this organisation has nurtured young people from across the US, encouraging them to get the best out of their talents in a non-competitive, well-natured environment.
Yet you don’t have to be a budding Caruso or Pavarotti to excel here, for American Sings! is open to kids from all backgrounds, and the friendly, experienced nature of mentors ensures that kids mature and learn in all sorts of ways, from giving to charity to conducting worthwhile and rewarding community service. With dedicated concerts, a massed choir finale and much more besides, America Sings! in Orlando is bound to be an unforgettable memory and something that your child will cherish forever.
John is a travel writer who has written about everything from educational tours in Patagonia to rock-climbing breaks in the Rockies.