Fiddling on the Hill

String Traditions

Age: 9-14 (CITs ages 15-18). Open to violin, viola, cello students.

Cost: Summer 2023 registration fee: $15, Summer 2023 Tuition: $625. Limited financial aid is available - scroll down for more information.

String Traditions 2023 will run the week of July 24-28! Registration will open on January 3 using the button in the purple box below.

String Traditions is a full-day, one-week strings camp for students ages 9-14 (and CITs ages 15-18). Explore the challenging fun of fiddle and “new string” styles, learn music by ear, improvise and arrange in string bands, and find your own unique voice!

Who should participate?
We welcome all string students ages 9-14. Participants should have been playing for one year or more, feel ready to learn a few new tunes in the span of a week, and be excited to try something new. Whether you’ve been fiddling for years or just want to see what it’s all about, there’s something for you!

A CIT program is available for musicians 15-18 who wish to assist with the younger classes. CITs will have the opportunity to perform in an advanced ensemble directed by one of our teachers.

What will the week be like?

Our focus at Strings Traditions is to explore all the fun ways to use our instruments: playing fiddle and popular music, improvising, thinking creatively, feeling rhythm and groove, and working collaboratively.

You’ll meet the repertoire and styles of different fiddle traditions including Irish and Scottish, American, and more. You’ll play creative games and experiment with open-ended, curious ways of playing that seek to “see what happens” musically, rather than trying to reach a preconceived result.

You’ll also have opportunities for some crafting and outdoor games. When the weather cooperates, we’ll spend as much time working under the shade of our local trees and in the fresh open air as we can. At the end of the day, we’ll have fun making some noise as a camp band, arranging some easy tunes with harmonies and rhythm.

Explore traditions and build your skills…
We’ll spend the week steeped in string repertoire from outside the classical world. We’ll work with music from a variety of fiddle traditions – both old and new – and develop skills such as:

  • Learning and collaborating by ear
  • Playing, arranging, harmonizing (and maybe singing!) in a string band
  • Finding and using rhythm and “groove”
  • Understanding chord progressions underlying the melody
  • Creative thinking, improvising, and composing
  • Crafting a sense of individual style and expression
  • Building the foundations for a lifetime of music and musical friendships within the vibrant and thriving Boston-area fiddling community… and beyond!

Summer 2023 Program Information:

July 24 – 28

Monday – Friday, 8:45 am – 4:00 pm

Ellery Klein: Artistic Director, creative ability development instructor, fiddle instructor

Sample Schedule

  • 8:45-9:00 Arrival / Morning Meeting
  • 9:00-9:55 Celtic / Old-time / Bluegrass fiddle repertoire
  • 10:00-10:25 Snack Break
  • 10:30-11:25 Celtic / Old-time / Bluegrass fiddle repertoire OR workshop
  • 11:30-12:15 Creative Ability Development (improv games)
  • 12:20-1:15 Lunch and Recess
  • 1:20-2:10 Composing and Songwriting
  • 2:10-3:05 Art or Outdoor Games
  • 3:05-3:10 Afternoon Break
  • 3:15-4:00 Celtic / Old-time / Bluegrass fiddle repertoire

After-Care Option (Late Pick-up)

  • 4:00-6:00 M-Th, $75
  • Single-day drop-in price: $20 (Please call to arrange this)

Faculty Bios

Ellery Klein

Ellery Klein has been Powers’ fiddle and violin teacher for 8 years. While she primarily performs Irish fiddle, she teaches students a range of styles and encourages them to find their interests. She trained in Alice Kanack’s Creative Ability Development in 2019 and works to foster her students’ ability to be fearless, have fun and think creatively on their instruments.

Valerie Thompson

Valerie Thompson (Cellist/Composer/Educator) is a Boston-based musician who has performed in the U.S and abroad as a cultural ambassador for American Music Abroad (U.S. State Department), in rock bands, string quartets, and chamber folk ensembles.  A cellist versed in multiple genres, Valerie currently tours with the indie-folk-pop band, Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards.

When not on tour Valerie maintains private cello studios in Cambridge & Brookline, MA. She has been on faculty at the Brookline Music School, the CelloBello Cellokids Online Program, the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, (Boulder Creek, CA); Miles of Music Camp (Lake Winnipesaukee, NH); CCE Music and Dance Week (Bethesda, MD); CelloChan Woods (Ann Arbor, MI); and Illinois Wesleyan Cello Camp (Bloomington, IL.)

B.M., Performance, Berklee College of Music; M.M., Contemporary Improvisation, New England Conservatory of Music

Summer 2023 Financial Aid

Thank you to the Agnes M. L:indsay Trust and Watertown Savings Bank for their support of Powers’ financial aid program!

Financial aid applications will be accepted for summer day programs only until all available aid is exhausted – no private lesson or group financial aid is available at this time.

All returning financial aid students should reach out to Tristan Bouchard directly for instructions at Your application will consist of updated financial documents to be submitted via email.

All new financial aid applicants must complete the following steps:

  1. Fill out the Music Scholarship Information Sheet (Google form).
  2. Submit your confidential financial documents to Tristan Bouchard at with secure information blacked out (or mail to Powers Music School, PO Box 398, Belmont, MA 02478). These documents include:
    • Copies of latest Federal Tax Returns and W2s – mandatory for all applicants. If parents are married but filing separately, copies of financial information for both parents must be submitted.• If applicable, records of non-taxable benefits such as veteran, social security, AFDC or ADC, and welfare or non-taxable income from pastoral work.• Documentation of other pertinent financial information you wish to have considered.
Still have questions?

String Traditions

Schedule: MON - FRI, 8:45 AM - 4:00 PM

Location: 160 Lexington Street (Main Building)


Dates: Jul 24 - Jul 28

String Traditions After-Care

Schedule: MON - THURS, 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Location: 160 Lexington Street (Main Building)

Dates: Jul 24 - Jul 28

Program Sponsors

Thank you to the Agnes M. L:indsay Trust and Watertown Savings Bank for their support of Powers’ financial aid program!