Bluegrass Camp at Swallow Hill Music

This camp has been canceled. Check back next summer for new dates!

Campers at our teen bluegrass camp will learn the foundations and traditions of bluegrass. Students will receive instruction specific to their respective instruments, and will also have the opportunity to play in a bluegrass band. We’ll also focus on singing, songwriting, fiddle tunes and more!

Our camp is geared towards beginner and intermediate players and will include instruction for guitar, mandolin, fiddle, upright bass and banjo. We may be able to accommodate additional instruments, please inquire!


Brian Nelson (Camp Director)
A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Brian Nelson has studied West African drum and dance at the Dagbe and Dagara Music Centers of Ghana, West Africa. In addition to touring the United States and Jamaica as a working percussionist, he has also worked as a dance accompanist for Boston University and University of Buffalo. Brian has worked extensively with all ages groups at Swallow Hill Music. This is Brian’s second year as counselor of Explore! Music Camp. Brian aims to make Explore! Music an educational, safe and most of all, fun experience for all the kids involved.

Bonnie Sims – Mandolin
Bonnie has been performing on stage for 15 years and started in the family band singing with her father while playing guitar and mandolin. Bonnie was awarded Best Female Bluegrass Vocalist in 2006 and 2007. Bonnie has played festivals from Rockygrass to the New West Fest. Currently, Bonnie fronts the six piece original band Bonnie & the Clydes with husband Taylor Sims.

Taylor Sims – Guitar
Taylor Sims is the current guitarist and singer for the Colorado-based band, Bonnie & the Clydes and founded the bluegrass band, Spring Creek (2003-2012). He has toured nationally and has garnered a reputation as one of the top bluegrass singers guitar players and teachers in the Rocky Mountain Region. Sims teaches all level of bluegrass and flatpicking styles of acoustic guitar as well as ensemble and vocal classes.

Josie Quick – Fiddle
Josie Quick enjoys teaching violinists the joys of improvisation in any genre. Whether it’s bluegrass, blues, jazz, or rock, Josie can show you how to jam with the best and have a great time doing it. Classically trained from an early age, Josie discovered a passion for jazz while studying at the University of Denver, where she received her Bachelor of Music in violin performance. She was also featured in a 2016 Denver Westword interview, highlighting “100 Colorado Creatives.”

Spencer Crawford – Banjo
Spencer Crawford has experience playing and teaching numerous genres including rock, pop, country, blues, jazz, bluegrass, cajun/zydeco, reggae, classical and folk. He relocated to Denver, CO in the spring of 2011 and continues to perform and teach music lessons in the Denver metro area.

Daily Schedule

The full schedule is coming soon, but here are the different classes students will participate in during the day:

  • Instrument Breakout: Students will break out by instrument to focus on technique, style and repertoire related to their specific instrument. Although skill levels will be mixed in these classes, teachers will be able to provide more advanced players with additional challenges.
  • Songwriting: Students will break into groups and work on writing songs as a group. The class will focus on student creativity, while also providing some instruction on the specifics of bluegrass songwriting.
  • Bluegrass Band: Students will be grouped with different instruments to create a band. Each day, the band will meet to focus on rehearsing the material for a final performance.

More Helpful Info!

Students 12-16

June 12 – June 16 @ Yale

Tuition and Scholarship Info

Scholarship assistance available for all camps to apply please e-mail Ashley Kidder ( with the subject Bluegrass Camp SCHOLARSHIP APP

Camp Schedule
Monday-Friday 9:00am – 3:00 pm
Performance Friday 3pm