BMG Summer School 2024

Date: 14 – 16th June 2024 
Venue: Higham Hall, Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 9SH
Contact: / / 01768 776276

Venue Higham Hall is a handsome mansion that commands a pretty peep of the foot of Bassenthwaite Lake and a magnificent view of the extensive range of hills from Sale Fell in Wythop, to Torpenhow.

Directions The venue is on the northern edge of the western Lake District, between Cockermouth (3 miles) and Keswick (8 miles), a mile from the northwest tip of Bassenthwaite Lake. By public transport, the nearest mainline railway station is Penrith from where collection in Higham Hall’s minibus at 5pm can be pre-arranged (£40 return). Alternatively, local firm Davies Taxis charge a fixed price for car or minibus to Higham Hall – 01768 772676

The Weekend

  • Registration is from 4pm
  • Dinner at 7pm followed by class tuition.
  • On Sunday after lunch there will be a short informal concert
  • The weekend will finish with afternoon refreshments at 3.30pm.
  • There will be a joint class session and a choice of ‘Come & Try’ sessions.

Chris Sands: Finger-style 5-string Banjo
This course will concentrate on improving banjo technique. Participants will study solos and discover how alternative fingerings can improve performance. Also covered will be exercises for development of the hands. The course will be suitable not only for intermediate and more advanced players, but anyone with a sound basic knowledge of the instrument and a reasonable insight into playing banjo solos will be welcome. Students will need to be able to read music notation, however assistance with music reading will be readily available. Music will be available beforehand.

Roland Gallery: The Art of Playing in Ensemble
The course is suitable for intermediate to advanced players of any instrument in the mandolin family and guitar (including bass). Music reading skills will be required and music will be available beforehand. The primary focus of sessions will be to prepare ensemble pieces for performance, and during the classes there will be guidance, advice and instruction on most aspects of playing and performance. Topics to be covered will be warm-up exercises, technical improvement and maintenance, reading at sight, how to rehearse and work effectively in ensemble, projection and tone production, soloing and accompanying, interpretation, how to practise efficiently, and harmonic analysis where useful and appropriate.

Nigel Gatherer: Old Time Music
Old Time Music is American folk music, made up of traditional songs and dance tunes which were embedded in the everyday lives of ordinary people. Nigel will introduce this joyful music to all instruments, and players will work towards being a hillbilly string band. Some singing will be involved for those who wish to do so. As with all of Nigel’s workshops, the elusive element of fun will be in abundance. Music will be available beforehand. This course is open to all instruments and levels of experience.

Accommodation & Cost 22 of the 32 bedrooms are en-suite; standard rooms each with a private bathroom. Costs: Single ensuite £310, single standard £290, shared ensuite £290, shared standard £270, non-residential £210, camping/campervan/caravan £220.

Booking and Further Information To book, contact Higham Hall on 01768 776276. For enquiries, contact BMG Federation coordinator Sandra Woodruff 0117 9672286 email