Music Discovery Workshop & Youth Collegium 2017

by Yuko Tanaka

As you know, for many years SFEMS has offered a wide range of early music workshops during the summer appealing to both pre-professional musicians and adult amateurs. But do you know that SFEMS also offers a premier summer workshop entirely for the kids in grades 1–12?

Originally founded by Lee McRae in 1994, the SFEMS Music Discovery Workshop is a unique gem among music workshops for kids, whose reputation has spread far beyond the Bay Area. The focus of the workshop is to introduce children to early music from the Middle Ages to the Classical period, while immersing them in the music’s historical and cultural context, all in a fun, hands-on way through songs, theater, and arts and crafts.

Many families return year after year, and as participants have grown older, we all felt that Music Discovery Workshop needed a little growing up, too! In 2015, we launched the Youth Collegium, a concurrent program designed for older, more experienced students who want to explore early music in greater depth. In addition to having semi-private lessons, students dedicate their time in an All-Collegium band or choir. Just because the students are more experienced and serious, though, does not mean they need to forego the fun of the Music Discovery Workshop. They still get to participate in drama, dance, and art electives!

It is especially gratifying to share with you that many of our former Music Discovery Workshop & Youth Collegium students have gone on to attend SFEMS’ various workshops for adults!

All subjects are taught by our faculty, in semi-private classes. We are proud to keep a very low teacher-to-student ratio, between 1:2 and 1:5. Ensembles work together to make their pieces concert-ready in just five days! A highly imaginative and one-of-a-kind theater production is also readied in just five days to delight families and friends.

So what is it like to be a ten-year-old at the Music Discovery Workshop & Youth Collegium? Tag along with Colin as he goes about his typical day at the Workshop:

9:00–9:20 Morning Workshop-wide Singing led by Jonathon Hampton
9:20–10:00 Semi-private voice instruction with Jonathon Hampton
10:00–10:40 Arts & crafts class with Amy Luper
10:40–10:55 Morning snack break (feed the tummy and brain, yummy!)
10:55–11:35 Period dancing class with Louise Pescetta
11:35–12:15 Chamber ensemble with Farley Pearce
12:15–1:00 Lunch and playtime: play structure, basketball, soccer, and more!
1:00–1:20 Afternoon Workshop-wide Singing led by Jonathon Hampton
1:20–2:00 Theater with Allison Rolls
2:00–2:40 Games with Farley Pearce
2:45–2:55 Afternoon snack break (much needed!)
2:55–3:35 Musicianship with David Sego
3:35–4:00 20-minute Wrap-up: various classes will present a show and tell of their work in progress—all parents are welcome to join!

At the end of the week on Friday, after a full workshop day, families are invited to the Final Performance. This special evening begins with a concert by chamber ensembles and the Youth Collegium, followed by a theatrical production, including music, dance, costumes and props made during arts & crafts. The evening would not be complete without a final pot-luck celebration, all the while looking back at the newly forged friendship and camaraderie. As families depart, we all make a renewed promise to see each other again the following summer—and many families do indeed return year after year!

We are so lucky to be in the San Francisco Bay Area’s rich early music community. The faculty are a dedicated team of experienced music educators, who also happen to be the very people that you hear performing with your favorite groups all the time right here in the Bay Area! Each year, the Workshop begins with a faculty concert, not to be missed. This year, our faculty includes:

Vida Bateau, Recorder
Jonathon Hampton, Voice—Youth Collegium Vocal Director
Amy Luper, Arts & Crafts
Farley Pearce, Baroque Cello, Viola da Gamba
Louise Pescetta, Baroque Dance
Allison Rolls, Theater
David Sego, Violin—Youth Collegium Instrumental Director
Yuko Tanaka D.M.A., Harpsichord—Music Discovery Workshop-Youth Collegium Director

June 18 – 23, 2017

School of the Madeleine
St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Berkeley, CA

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Drop-off starting at 8:45AM; aftercare is available for an additional fee. For questions about aftercare, please contact Workshop Director Yuko Tanaka at


Wunderkind’s Grand Tour

This summer, take yourself back to 1763 Salzburg: Seven year old Wolfie and eleven year old Nannerl are getting ready to embark on their magical Grand Tour of Europe! Pack your bags, hop on a carriage and travel across Germany and Belgium to reach the great cities of Paris and London. While visiting the great courts and cultural capitals, don’t forget to perform the most amazing concerts, astonishing princes and princesses, an empress, heads of state, even the future queen of France! Meet and learn from some leading composers of the day, and when you are not busy performing, dash off your own compositions! And while traveling through the Black Forest, keep your eyes open as you may spot Papageno and Papagena! Are you ready to join Wunderkind’s Grand Tour?

And don’t forget: you are invited to our Final Performance on Friday evening as our guest of honor! Mark your calendar for Friday, June 23 at 6:00 p.m., in St. Mary Magdalen Parish Hall, 2005 Berryman Street, Berkeley.

Registration for the Music Discovery Workshop and Youth Collegium opens January 31. Tuition is $490 on or before April 30; $525 thereafter. There is a Sibling discount of $50 and SFEMS/EMA/ARS member discount of $10. Questions about registration? Contact us at For workshop questions please contact director Yuko Tanaka at

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Written by Jonathan Harris
San Francisco Early Music Society