Cordova 4H Music Camp
Cart 0

Bluegrass Camp

(ages 9-18)

Bluegrass Camp is open to students ages 9-18. You must check in on the first morning of camp to pick up your nametag, songbook, schedule, and other information. A completed Registration Form, signed Release Form, and 4H Code of Conduct Form, as well as payment, are all due by Saturday, July 13th.

New Classes Available!!!!

  • Sound Class

  • Int/Advanced Ukulele

  • Hula


Mt. Eccles Elementary School
201 Adams St.
Cordova, AK 99574



July 15-19, 2019


Tuition for camp is $150 for Cordova locals and $250 for non-locals. You may now pay online with your registration!

Click above to register your camper, then click “add to cart” below to pay online.

Choose one:

Daily Schedule

Monday Only

9:00am - 10:00am - Registration

Monday through Thursday

9:30am - Morning Activity
10:00am - Class 1
11:00am - Class 2
12:00pm - Lunch
12:45pm - Class 3
1:45pm - Band
3:00pm - Afternoon Activity
4:00pm - Dismissal

Friday Only

9:30am - 10:30am - Class 1
10:30am - 11:30am - Class 2
11:30am – 12:30pm - Class 3
12:30pm – 1:00pm - Lunch
1:00pm – 2:00pm - Bands Around Town


Morning Activities:

Mon.- Registration and Sing-a-long
Tues. - Square Dance or Sing-a-long/Jamming
Wed. - Square Dance or Sing-a-long/Jamming
Thurs. - Square Dance or Sing-a-long/Jamming

Afternoon Activities:

Mon. - Band Workshop
Tues. - Camp Bands Hike to Ski Hill
Wed. - Camp Picture at 3:00pm/Jamming or Blackboard Concert
Thurs. - Jamming or Blackboard Concert

Morning and Afternoon Activities are a variety of all-campus activities, in which students get to meet and interact with their fellow campers doing activities such as jamming, square dances, blackboard concerts, performance workshops lead by the guest artists, and sing-a-longs. Hawaiian Campers are welcome to join with parent permission. “Bands Around Town” is an opportunity for the bands to travel around town to play their performance songs and other jam tunes for tourists and the lunch hour crowd. Donations to the bands will be given to the camp to help for next years’ expenses: new instruments, fixes to older instruments, new strings and picks, songbooks, etc. The Cordova Music Camp Board will select locations for each band, which will be listed at camp and on students’ schedules.

Family Activities

Open to all

Family activities are held in the evening during the camp, and are a big part of the Cordova Camp community! Further details will be listed on the students' schedules.


Square Dance in the Library Parking Lot - 7pm - 8:30pm

Teen Jam at Baja Taco - 8pm-9pm (13 years or older)


Staff Concert at Mt Eccles Elementary School - 7pm


North American Jazz Alliance Concert - 7pm @ The Cordova Center (learn more)


Hawaiian Night! Squirt Gun Fight, Blackboard Concert, and Potluck at Skater's Cabin - 6pm-8pm
Be prepared to get wet!


Camp Concert! Mt. Eccles Elementary School
Hawaiian Camp Performance - 6:00pm
Bands - 6:30pm


Old-time Square Dance 7 pm to 10 pm at the Pioneer Building


Class Electives

Students will be taking a different class during each Block for a total of three classes, plus a band class. Although your student will only be taking three classes, please indicate your top four choices in order of importance on the Registration Form. We will make every effort to give each student his or her top three choices for the three Blocks. If you have questions about what classes to sign up for, please contact us.

Please spend a few moments on your Registration Form to tell us about your ability: How many years you have played, what your favorite song is, what song you are currently working on, other capabilities, and your goals for camp. You may fill this out in the “Final Comments” section.

We highly recommend that students that sign up to be in an Intermediate, Advanced, or Master level class also sign up to be in a Jamming class. One of the great things about being able to play and learn music is to able to play songs with one another and our peers, and our Jamming classes encourage that growth in our more advanced students.


No prerequisite. Students must be ten or older due to the length of the banjo. This class is an introduction to the three-finger style of bluegrass banjo playing. Students will learn basic rolls, chords, and an easy banjo tune.


Students will begin to improve on rolls and increase their repertoire of rolls and chords used in bluegrass tunes. This class will teach how to read tab as well as teach students 3-4 basic bluegrass tunes on banjo.


Students should be comfortable playing at least five chords and rolls on the banjo, as well as most of the basic bluegrass tunes, and also feel comfortable in beginning jam scenarios. Students will learn the nuances of the role of the banjo in bluegrass jams and bands and learn how to solo, as well as increase their song repertoire.


No prerequisite. Students will learn how a bass fits into a jam or band. They will learn 4-5 chords and how to back up a guitar on some simple singing songs.


Students should have been taking lessons in orchestra or otherwise for at least 6 months. Students will learn chords to back up a guitar, as well as scales, patterns for following new chords, new songs, and how to “walk” bass lines.


Students should be comfortable in beginning jam sessions, should be starting to hear chord changes, know all of the major chords, and should be fairly comfortable with their rhythm. Students will learn theory behind the Nashville Number System, how to solo on the bass, different scenarios for moving from chord to chord, and the nuances of how the bass fits into a band or jam.


Students should have been taking lessons in orchestra, band, or otherwise for 6 months to a year. Students should be fairly familiar with the notes of the bass and how to play in rhythm. This class is an introduction to how to play electric bass on bluegrass and folk songs. This is similar to the Intermediate Bass class, but will be taught on electric bass instead of acoustic stand-up bass.


Students should have been taking lessons in orchestra, band, or otherwise for 2 years. Students should be very familiar with the notes of the bass, how to pluck in different rhythm and genres, chord changes, and at least starting to solo on the bass. This class will cover how to play electric bass on bluegrass and folk songs, for more advanced players. This is similar to the Advanced Bass class, but will be taught on electric bass instead of acoustic stand-up bass.


No prerequisite. This class is geared towards students who have no or very little background in playing fiddle or violin. Students will learn how to correctly hold and bow the instrument as well as a few basic fiddle tunes.


Students should have been taking fiddle for one year or be in Suzuki Book 1, and/or know songs like Boil Em Cabbages, Buffalo Gals, Old Joe Clark, Cripple Creek, Angeline the Baker, or Camptown Races. In this class, students will work on becoming stronger players and learn a few basic fiddle tunes in first position.


Students should be in Suzuki Book 2 and/or be fairly comfortable playing basic fiddle tunes such as Over the Waterfall, Arkansas Traveler, Soldier’s Joy, etc. Students will increase their fiddle tune repertoire, and begin to learn how to put together a solo to singing songs.


This class is geared towards students who already know most of the basic fiddle tunes, like Blackberry Blossom, Fisherman’s Hornpipe, Wheelhoss, Squirrel Hunter, etc. Students will learn the nuances of bluegrass fiddling, including bowing, tunes, fingerings, improvisation, backup, and other techniques.


Students must also be signed up for Intermediate, Advanced or Master Class Fiddle. This class will teach students how to find and play harmony parts on the fiddle. Students will learn the lead and harmony part to a few different fiddle tunes.


No prerequisite. Students will learn 4-5 basic guitar chords, how to strum with a pick, and a few basic bluegrass and folk songs.


This class is geared towards students that can play 4-5 chords comfortably and the boom strum rhythm. Students will begin to flatpick, along with strengthening their chord and rhythm knowledge.


This class is for students who are comfortable with many chord changes: Most of the major chords, and a few minor and seven chords. Students will increase their chord and theory knowledge, as well as work on basic soloing and begin to learn how to improvise.


The Master Class for Guitar is for students who are very comfortable with their rhythm and chord changes and are ready to explore the nuances of how guitar fits into band and jam scenarios. Students will also continue working on creating a great solo and how to improvise.


No prerequisite. This class will teach students the basics of how to hold and play the mandolin. They will learn a few easy mandolin chords, some bluegrass tunes, and mandolin rhythm.


Students should be quite comfortable playing 2 finger chords. They should also be able to play a few basic tunes like Boil Em Cabbages, Shortenin’ Bread, Old Joe Clark, Cripple Creek, or Angeline the Baker. Students will learn how to play closed finger chords, work on their rhythm, and lead on a few new fiddle/mandolin tunes.


Students should be comfortable with three or four finger chords, and should be able to jam on some easy tunes. Students should also be able to play lead on tunes such as Soldier’s Joy, Over the Waterfall, Fisherman’s Hornpipe, Arkansas Traveler, etc. Students will increase their tune repertoire, learn how to jam on some more difficult tunes, and be introduced to the Nashville Number System.


Students should be very comfortable with all of the three-or-four-finger major chords, and should know some minor chords, as well being comfortable playing more complicated tunes such as Blackberry Blossom, Opus 23, or Wheelhoss. Students will learn the nuances of how a mandolin fits into a jam or band, how to create a great solo, and how to backup a singer or lead player. Students will also begin to explore improvisation techniques and genres: Dawg, jazz, and blues.


The mountain dulcimer is an American folk instrument which grew out of the southern Appalachian Mountains in the early 1800s. It's easy to learn to play and no prior musical background is needed. Part of what makes it easy is that there are only three strings and fewer frets that a guitar (which means fewer wrong notes!) We will be learning to play fiddle tunes, as were heard in the Appalachians and are still played by Old Time and Bluegrass musicians, plus chords to use in accompanying singing or other instruments. Cardboard instruments will be available for your use if you register before Thursday, instruments so that you can continue to play, they will be available for $50.


This class is open to all levels and will explore piano as a folk instrument. Students will learn to build scales and chords to jam along with their favorite songs, and the finger technique to pull it off. They will also learn about chord progressions, melodies and useful accompaniment patterns. Since this is a folk-based piano class music-reading is not a requirement, but we will use some musical notation for reference.


No prerequisite. Students will learn basic chords on the ukulele, how to strum and tune the instrument, and a few songs.


Students should know basic ukulele chords and be able to follow a chord chart or songbook. Students will increase knowledge about ukulele chord structures and strumming patterns.


This class is for middle and high school students who are proficient in their instruments and are ready to improvise. On two of the class days, they will have instruction by famous visiting jazz musicians who play the bass, piano, trumpet, saxophone and drums.


No prerequisite. Students will learn fun singing songs to sing with a group, a guitar, or by yourself.


Ages 12 and up. This class is geared for older students, who will work on harmonizing and the finer techniques of singing, while building their repertoire. You don’t need to have any singing experience to take this class.


This class is geared for our older and/or more experienced students. Students must at least be at an intermediate level in their instrument, or be 11 years old. This class will learn the art of to how to write songs, from instrumentation to lyrics.


Students must be signed up for an Intermediate class in the instrument of their choice, or be an older student (ages 12 and up). Students must have a basic understanding of their instrument, and be able to play 1-2 tunes like Boil Em Cabbages, Old Joe Clark, Cripple Creek, Shortnin’ Bread, Buffalo Gals, Camptown Races, or similar songs OR be able to play 3-4 chords and rhythm. Students will learn how to jam with their peers by learning basic jamming tunes, the different elements of a jam, and jamming etiquette.


Students must be signed up for an Intermediate or Advanced class in the instrument of their choice, or be an older student (12 and up). Students must have a basic understanding of their instrument and be able to play 4-5 tunes like Soldier’s Joy, Arkansas Traveler, Turkey in the Straw, Over the Waterfall, Liberty, or similar songs OR be able to play the 5 major chords, and 2-3 seven chords and minor chords. Students will continue to increase their jam tune repertoire, and begin to take leads in singing songs.


Students must be signed up for an Advanced or Master class in the instrument of their choice, or be an older student (12 and up). Students will continue to learn how to create a successful jam with their peers - taking leads when appropriate, how to sing verses or choruses, and keeping background rhythms for the group. They will also delve into the different genres of acoustic music, and learn some traditional jamming tunes that are commonly played.


Students will learn basic hula dances, taught by master dancer, Alyssa Reyes from the Ke Kukui Foundation in Vancouver, WA.


Students will learn how to set up and take down a sound system, basic sound knowledge, how to run a sound board, and participate in Blackboard concerts and dances.


Band Electives


For middle and high school students who are proficient on their instruments and want to improvise on songs. On two of the band class days, they will have instruction by famous visiting jazz musicians who play the bass, piano, trumpet, saxophone and drums.


This style of music was pioneered by Bill Monroe in Kentucky around the 1930s and incorporates flat pick guitar, stand-up bass, hard driving fiddle, rhythmic mandolin, three-finger style banjo, dobro, and three part harmonies. Lead and harmony singing is a huge part of bluegrass music, as well as each person taking a solo. Usually, bands or jams only have one or two of each instrument, versus Irish or Old-Time, which can have more fiddlers.


This style of music is one of the oldest traditional musics in American and came out the Appalachian Mountains. Old-Time is a very rhythmic music, where everyone plays the melody at the same time. Typically the guitar does not take solos in Old-Time music, but is a very important part of the rhythm section. Old-Time can usually have more fiddlers then Bluegrass and Folk. Typical instruments include fiddle, mandolin, guitar, claw-hammer banjo, and stand-up bass.


This style of music is coined “the people’s music”. Singing and thoughtful lyrics are big parts of this genre. Typically the instruments are meant to “back up” a singer or songwriter, but can be used to take solos during the song. Folk is a large genre and can be taken in many directions. Typical instruments: All instruments!!


This style originated in Ireland, and is known for its quick fingered fiddle and pennywhistle tunes. Like Old-Thyme, Irish music usually has more fiddles then other instruments. Irish music does not usually have singers, but is well known for its few beautiful songs that highlight Ireland. Typical instruments include fiddle, mandolin, guitar, piano, tenor banjo, bodhran drum, penny whistle, and accordion or concertina.


This style will explore the bands and people that inspired the genre of rock to become what it is today: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Nirvana, Van Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and others. Instruments could include: electric or acoustic guitar, vocals, electric bass, piano, and mandolin or fiddle. Students should be fairly advanced, as this class will explore challenging rhythms, barre chords, and more difficult chord changes and structures.


This band will explore Reggae and Hawaiian music and how they influence traditional styles today. Instruments that are commonly seen in Reggae and Hawaiian are ukulele, guitar, slack-key guitar, bass, strong vocals and sometimes mandolin and fiddle.


The Director will choose for you based on your class preferences.

Camp Policies


Students are welcome to use our Camp Instruments while at camp, or bring their own. We are very careful about instrument care at camp, and one of these aspects includes keeping instruments well labeled. When students arrive at camp, there is an Instrument Tagging Station where students may label their instruments and cases. Please remember to label the instrument, case, bow, and shoulder rest. There will also be a volunteer there to help. The tagging system works like this: On one side you will put your name. On the other side you may put one of two options. If you are not loaning your instrument, write “No”. If you are loaning your instrument, write a “Yes” and put a numbered sticker/s for which Block/s the instrument is available for loan. For example, if your instrument is available for loan during Block 1 and 3, please put a "1" and a "3" sticker on the tag. Please allow us to help you with the Instrument Tagging by tagging the instrument at camp, and not at home. Tags, stickers, and pens will be available at the Instrument Tagging Station. Again, there will be a volunteer there to help, so you can direct any questions to them when you arrive at camp. After camp, students that live in Cordova may have the opportunity to rent instruments for the year, for a small fee.


We have a closed campus policy meaning students are to be signed out at the end of the day. On the Release Form, parents may choose to not sign their child out, which means the child may leave camp without a parent signature after the day ends. If a parent indicates that they would like to sign their child out, they must come inside and sign the child out each day, or provide a handwritten note at the beginning of the day. If no ones signs a child out, Cordova 4H Camp calls the parents around 4:30pm. We do NOT require a sign-in for the morning as we take roll each day and a phone call is made to the parents if there is a child absent. If you would like to call in a student absent before or during camp, please contact Kate at 907.350.2562.

Students 13 and older may choose, with parent permission, to leave campus during lunch. They must have permission from a parent, and must sign in and out for lunch. Students must return to class on time. Parents may give permission when they register thier student for camp.


The Cordova 4H Music Camp will be centrally located at Mt. Eccles Elementary School, 201 Adams St, as well as other locations around town. Hawaiian Camp will be located at St. Joseph’s Parish, 220 Adams St. Details on other locations will be on student’s schedules, as well as available at camp.


Please bring your instruments, water bottle, and a coat or rain gear. Lunch is provided by the Cordova School District, but you are welcome to bring your own. Students are expected to be responsible and prepared for every class: bring their instrument and songbook to each class, and tune their instrument, or if they are still learning how to tune, bring it to the Instrument Table to be tuned by a volunteer.  Students are welcome to bring cell phones or ipads as recording devices, but please be courteous to your instructor and fellow students by putting away phone calls, texting, social media, etc. while in class.


We have many opportunities for parents to volunteer and become involved in the camp. You may choose to sign up on this registration form, online when you register, or anytime during camp. Someone will contact you to confirm, as well as put your name on the Volunteer Board located at camp. When you arrive at camp, please find Kate to receive your job duties.

Camp Volunteer jobs include:

  • Preparing for Camp (up to a month before camp) - Print and bind songbooks, shop for camp supplies, make nametags, put schedules in books, collect donated instruments and food, put up posters around town and school, promotion and marketing as needed by Board, put together mailers.

  • Camp Set-Up (2pm-5pm, Sunday) - Put schedules in songbooks, set up chairs and rooms, tune and tag instruments, set up Stations for Registration, help move instruments to apppropriate rooms.

  • Registration (8:30am Monday) - Manage a Registration table, welcome students and parents to camp and direct to stations, hand out schedules to teachers after being printed.

  • Morning Caretaker (9:30am-1:30pm, each day) Afternoon Caretaker (1:30pm-5:00pm, each day) - There can be different volunteers for each time slot. Jobs include: keep camp area secure, help students to class, help students and teachers find instruments, make photocopies for teachers as needed, answer parent questions, gather band names and band songs for Camp Concert Program, make and print Camp Concert Program, make sure students sign out at the end of the day, supervising lunch area, help to prepare lunch for teachers, cleaning teacher lounge if needed, make sure coffee, tea, and water are available for teachers, etc.

  • Lunch Duty (12:00-12:45pm, each day) - Supervise lunch area

  • Evening Family Events - Depends on which evening you sign up for, but duties can include: setting up chairs, sweeping, helping to set up the sound system, grilling food for the potluck, supervising students, etc.

  • Bands Around Town (12:30pm-2:00pm) - Help escort or drive bands to their Bands Around Town locations, take pictures for the Cordova 4H Music Camp.

  • Concert Set-up (5pm, Friday) - Set up chairs, help with sound system if needed, pass out programs, welcome parents

  • Camp Clean-up (2pm, Friday) - Put away chairs, vacuum, take down signs, collect teacher supplies, put instruments in cases and take them back to where they belong, etc.

  • Concert Clean-up (after concert, Friday) - Put away chairs, mop floors, etc

We would also appreciate donations of fish, meat, or veggies (fresh or frozen) for staff meals. If you would like to donate any of these items, please indicate so on the Registration Form.