An Introduction to Sonata International Piano Camp

If you are a piano enthusiast or music lover of any kind, Sonatina International Piano Camp is the place to be in Southern Vermont. Located in a 124-year-old Colonial mansion in Old Bennington, The Sonata house is alive with music. There is a piano in almost every room ― seriously, almost every room!

Sonata, or Sonatina for those aged 7-16, has been a gem in the quintessential Vermont village of Old Bennington since 1969. Piano players of all levels are accepted into the program. The absence of auditions means a passion for piano is the only prerequisite. Everyone is encouraged to take part in the joy of music.

After founding Sonatina, the kids’ portion of the camp, Ms. Rosamond Van Der Linde, soon realized its potential as a camp for adults. Now adults from as far away as Alaska, Oregon and the Caribbean make repeated treks to Bennington to participate in the adult piano program.

Since 1991, the piano camp has flourished under the leadership of Rosamond’s eldest daughter Polly Van Der Linde. The unique and well run camp has caught the attention of local and national press such as The New York Times, NPR, Seventeen, CNN, Yankee magazine and so many more.

lady piano player downtown bennington vermont
Downtown Bennington is alive with music. Photo credit: Lorianna Weathers.

Sonata Piano Camp for Adults

For the adults, this experience might just remind you of your childhood camp days: dormitory style lodging and a chance to meet engaging camp-mates — except the food is better. A whole lot better! The fee, ranging from $2,300 to $2,500, includes accommodations, private lessons, masters’ classes and workshops. Come week’s end, if you are looking to show off your new skills, you’ll have the option to participate in a recital.

If rooming dorm style is not your cup of tea, other housing options are available with multiple Vermont inns and Bennington hotels near the Sonata house who are happy to accommodate you during your visit to Vermont.

While there is plenty of time to play piano and practice your pieces, there is also free time for you to explore beautiful Bennington, Vermont. A nearby golf course, artisan shops lining downtown Main Street, the historic sites of Old Bennington, and Vermont mountain lakes and hiking trails ― you get the picture!

If you don’t think you can get away for an entire week, Intermezzi offers a shorter Sonata experience for those who can’t be there for the weeklong program. While all other aspects of the Sonata experience remain the same, Intermezzi also introduces duet pieces which require four hands and a lot of teamwork!

sonatina piano camp stomp downtown bennington
Sonatina campers celebrate Sonatina’s 50th anniversary with a flash mob downtown Bennington, Vermont. Photo credit: Alicia Holden.

Sonatina – Piano Camp for Kids and Teens

For your little ones and teens, Sonatina will give them a summer that combines their love of piano with the magic of a Vermont vacation in the mountains. With one-on-one lessons with highly qualified teachers and frequent outings into downtown Bennington, Sonatina is the perfect Vermont summer camp. Ice cream, swimming and blueberry picking are only a few of the fun activities that keep them entertained outside of their daily piano routine.

With 42 Sonatina students per week and five week-long sessions per summer, Bennington is brimming with young musicians. Longtime Sonatina student and now junior faculty member Gracey Carroll shares that “Sonatina isn’t really about the piano” but about “the family and the community that the piano builds”. “Finding people who share your interest allows you to form these close-knit relationships that you can’t get anywhere else. The bowling, the ice cream sundaes, and trips to the ballet or orchestra are all just bonuses!” With so many things to do in Bennington, it’s no wonder that many parents come for drop-off and stay for their own Vermont vacation. The amount of attention that is given to each student is unsurpassed with 42 students each receiving five 45-minute private sessions per week. The seven faculty members, three junior faculty and six junior counselors make sure that every student is getting special attention. Sonatina is also a great way to get your children off of their electronics.

With a “no cellphone” in the house rule, they can focus on building friendships that will last long after their camp session ends. 

Adult, teen or child, the fact that you do not need to be a professional piano player to participate is one of the things that makes Sonata the perfect Vermont vacation. This experience will push you out of your comfort zone and allow you to make memories that will certainly last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on this amazing program, right here in Bennington Vermont!