Summer School FAQs

Below are answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about the Summer School. We’ve split them into six handy sections to help you find what you’re looking for.

If your question isn’t covered below, please call the Summer School Office on 01803 847080.

1. Courses

What level do I need to be to participate in a course?
Our Summer School courses all vary in level, exact details can usually be found in course descriptions. As a general rule we recommend most courses as being best suited to those musicians between grades 5 – 8. No formal certification is necessary for any courses. There are many classes which are suited to beginners or non-musicians including dance, writing and rhythm classes. For Big Choir participants we would recommend a reasonable level of familiarity with written music, whilst sight-singing is by no means required, you should be comfortable working from a score and understanding basic rhythms and ornamentation. For requirements of Advance Courses, please see here.

What ages are the Summer School courses for?
There are no lower or upper age limits on any of the Summer School courses, though the majority of participants are adults. For very young children please keep in mind the level suggestions detailed above. Courses are taught in an adult style and young children should expect to be sharing sessions and collaborating with adult musicians. It is up to each parent’s discretion to decide if they feel this is suitable for their child. Any under 16s must be accompanied by a guardian at all times.

What is the daily itinerary?
The structure of our sessions allows each participant to build a Summer School timetable tailored to their interests and capacity.  The daily itinerary around which this is built is as follows and repeats each day Sunday – Friday.

7.30 – 9am: Breakfast service
7.45 – 8.30am:
Morning movement classes
9 – 10.30am:
Session 1
10.30 – 11am:
Break
11am – 12.30pm:
Session 2
Midday – 2pm:
Lunch service

2 – 3.30pm: Session 3
3.30 – 5pm:
Session 4
5.15 – 6.15pm:
Concert 1
5.30 – 7.30pm:
Dinner service
7.45 – 9.30pm:
Concert 2 (with interval)
10 – 11pm:
Concert 3


What format will my course take?
All of our courses run differently with their own structure and teaching format. Some will take the form of group work sessions, whilst others a more like a traditional masterclass, some bridge both camps. For detailed information on the structure and teaching style of a particular course,

How much teaching time will I get during the week?
There are four 90 minute teaching sessions per day. The quantity of teaching time will vary depending on the courses which you choose to follow. For detailed information on the format of the course which you have selected, please see the course listings page or contact the Summer School office.

Will my course involve a performance?
Some courses do offer performance opportunities at their culmination, details on this can be found in the individual course descriptions.

Where will my course be held?
Courses are mostly held in the Medieval Courtyard rooms, Hex and Gym Studios, and Space Studios. We aren’t able to offer exact room allocations in advance as these often change in the run up to the festival. Room allocations are announced during the festival via our daily programme, this listings is published on notice boards around the site the preceding evening for residential guest. Please check the schedules each day as course do sometimes relocate during the week.

What is an Advanced Course?
Our Advanced Courses are aimed towards diploma level musicians, they are usually smaller groups than our regular courses and are working on technique and repertoire at a very high level. Our Advanced Courses are subject to an application process, full details on this process and the required supporting materials can be found here.

I was accepted on to an Advanced Course in a previous year, do I need to apply again?
Yes. Applicants are evaluated each year by the course tutor who will make a selection of students based on the merits of this submission. You may apply using the same materials as a previous year, but these will need to be resent as we do not hold previous applications on file.

Can I follow a different course each day?
All of the courses at the Summer School run for the whole week, it is not possible to follow different courses in the same session each day as a participant. The day’s four sessions should hopefully offer enough opportunity for variety, but if there are further courses you are interested in we would suggest putting aside a session to observe in your schedule. As an observer you can come and go between many of the different courses during the week.

Do I need to bring an instrument?
As a general rule, if you would be expected to bring your instrument to a concert as a performer, you will need to bring it to the Summer School. For example, a cello player will need to bring their instrument with them, but a pianist can expect to find an instrument in their course space.

Do I need to bring a music stand?
Yes, we require all course participants to bring their own music stand. Stands will be provided during any concert performances.

Do I need to bring hearing protection?
We encourage all participants to bring suitable hearing protection with them. Playing intensely for a week in intimate spaces can take its toll on the ears. For more information on hearing protection we recommend the following site https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/information-for-musicians. Disposable hearing protectors are available from the Summer School office by request.

Do I need to purchase music for my courses?
Some courses do require participants to purchase specific music, these courses will detail this in their description. A comprehensive document will be emailed in advance of the festival and a steadily updating online list will be posted at the start of 2019.

What should I do if I change my mind about a course?
If you decide before the festival that you wish to change one of your courses please contact the Summer School office who will be able to advise on this matter.

I can no longer attend the festival, what should I do? Can I have a refund?
If you need to cancel your booking please consult our bookings terms and conditions for information on this process and our refund policy.

When do bookings close?
Bookings for courses are open right until the start of each week. Many courses will fill up early, for the most popular courses sometimes as early as spring. We recommend booking as soon as you are ready to confirm your plans.

2. Concerts

What time should I arrive for the concert?
We recommend all concerts attendees arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of the performance. For many concerts attendees will queue in advance, sometime up to an hour before hand, to secure particular seats. All Courses and Concerts Pass holders should take their seats no later than 10 minutes before the start of the performance.

How long will the concert last?
Usually our 5.15pm and 10pm concerts last 60 minutes. 7.45pm concerts generally last 90 minutes, plus an interval of 15/20 minutes. All durations are subject to variation as the programme dictates. For more information please speak to the Box Office or the stewarding team at the venue.

Will tickets be available on the door?
Tickets for all of our concerts are sold on the night from the Dartington Box Office (Barn Cinema) when available. Many concerts do sell out in advance though, so early booking is advised.

Where can I collect my tickets?
Tickets can be sent by post or collected on the night of the event from the Dartington Box Office (Barn Cinema). If collecting tickets immediately before your event please allow yourself sufficient time for this, on busy nights queuing will be necessary.

What discounts are available?
Students receive a 50% discount on all Summer School concert tickets. Discounts are not offered for seniors. For any further information on discounts and booking offers please contact the Box Office – 01803 847070.

Is this event suitable for children?
Most Summer School concerts will be suitable in performance content for children, the Box Office will advise on any exceptions. The concert experience can often be unsuitable for young children. It is left to the discretion of the accompanying parent or guardian and their judgement as to whether the individual child is able to sit quietly for extended periods of time.

What disabled access is there to the venue?
All of our Great Hall events are fully wheelchair accessible, please advise us when booking of any accessibility requirements so that we can fully brief our stewarding team on how to best meet them. For events in other space please consult with the Box Office or Summer School office for full details.

Where can I sit in the Great Hall?
Courses and Concerts Pass holders can sit any of the flat central seating, the side bench seats or in the balcony when open. Individual ticket holders will have purchased either a Central Rake or Bench seat as shown on their ticket and will need to sit according to this allocation. If you have any questions regarding the layout of the hall please contact the Box office or speak to our stewarding team at the venue.

Is there a dress code for concerts?
Though some participants like to dress up in the spirit of the evening, there is no audience dress code for any concert. Participant performers are requested to wear smart/casual and further notes will be sent to those involved. Bursary student performers in masterclass concerts are required to wear smart black concert dress.

I can no longer attend an event, what should I do? Can I have a refund?
If you have individual tickets for a concert which you can no longer use please contact the Dartington Box Office for information on cancellation and refund policy.

3. Passes

When can I check-in?
Check in for all residential guests is from 3pm on the first Saturday of your week. Non-residents and Individual Course pass holders can check-in at this point, or on Sunday before their first session.

Where do I check-in?
Foxhole residents check-in at Foxhole, all other residents and pass holders check-in at guest reception in the East Wing of the Medieval Courtyard.

What discounts are available?
Students and under 18s receive a 25% discount on all course passes, under 12s receive a 50% discount.

When do courses go on sale to local people?
Local resident are welcome to book a Courses and Concerts Pass as soon as bookings open. Individual Course Passes are available from 14 May.

Can I reserve an Individual Course Pass before 14 May?
Individual Course Passes are sold on a first come first served basis, it is not possible to reserve a space on a course. Some courses may not be opened for Individual Course Passes if they have already reached capacity from participants with a Courses and Concerts Pass.

Is there a discount for booking multiple Individual Course Passes?
A course schedule to run over two sessions in a day is priced at £180. There is no discount offered for booking multiple Individual Course Passes. For those looking to follow multiple courses and also attend concerts during the week the Courses and Concerts Pass represents a significant saving.

I can no longer attend the festival, what should I do? Can I have a refund?
If you need to cancel your booking please consult our bookings terms and conditions for information on this process and our refund policy.

4. Accommodation and Catering

When can I check-in?
Check in for all residential guests is from 3pm on the first Saturday of your week. Non-residents and Individual Course pass holders can check-in at this point, or on Sunday before their first session.

Where do I check-in?
Foxhole residents check-in at Foxhole, all other residents and pass holders check-in at guest reception in the East Wing of the Medieval Courtyard.

Can I check-in early?
It is not possible to check-in before 3pm, however you are very welcome to arrive on the estate beforehand and use the time to explore, eat or shop.

When do I need to check-out?
Check-out for all residential guests is strictly by 10am on Saturday.

Do I need to bring bedding and towels?
Bedding and towels are provided in all bedrooms, however you may wish to bring extra towels if you wish to use the swimming pool.

What is provided in my room?
The contents of bedrooms varies depending on your chosen accommodation, further details can be found on individual accommodation pages. If you have any questions about specific details please contact the Summer School office.

What discounts are available?
There are no discounts on Accommodation and Catering Packages. Students and under 18s receive a 25% discount on all course passes, under 12s receive a 50% discount.

Can I bring my pet?
Pets are not permitted in any of the Dartington accommodation areas or in teaching spaces, with the exception of support animals.

Can I stay for less than a week?
We only offer Accommodation and Catering packages on a weekly basis. Some participants may choose to arrive late or leave early depending on their commitments, please speak to the Summer School office for information on how this may effect participation in your selected courses.

Can I book Summer School meals on the day?
Summer School meals are only available to those booking a full weeks Catering Package in advance. There are multiple public catering options available on the Dartington estate. For further information on these please see here.

Can you cater to my dietary requirements?
We can cater to most specialist dietary requirements, please speak to the Summer School office for more information and include as much information as possible with your booking. Vegetarian options are offered as standard.

Do you have accessible bedrooms?
We do have a selection of accessible rooms with wet room facilities. For more information please speak to the Summer School office.

Who should I contact about lost property?
If you lose an item whilst still on site please visit the Summer School office. If you suspect after arriving home from the festival that you may have left something behind please contact the main Dartington Hall hotel reception.

Can I cook on the campsite?
Barbecues and open flame cooking is not permitted on the campsite.

I can no longer attend the festival, what should I do? Can I have a refund?
If you need to cancel your booking please consult our bookings terms and conditions for information on this process and our refund policy.

5. Travel

What is the best way to get to Dartington?
Most Summer School participants travel to Dartington by car or train. Dartington is located near the town of Totnes, which is located just off the A38.

Can I car-share to Dartington?
We do not administrate any car-share schemes ourselves, but encourage participants to explore car-sharing and recommend carshare.liftshare.com.

How does parking work at Dartington?
Summer School pass holders will receive a parking permit in advance of the festival allowing them to park for free in the specified permit car parks. A map of the various car parks will be sent out with the permits. Pay and display car parks are available for anyone else visiting the estate during the festival. Pay and display parking is priced at 50p per hour; £1 for four hours; £3 for all day. Parking charges are applicable between 9am and 6pm.

Which is the closest railway station to Dartington?
The closet railway to station to Dartington is Totnes. The station is just ten minutes’ drive from the Dartington Estate and can be easily accessed by road or foot. A shuttle bus will collect participants from the station each Saturday afternoon and drop people back the following Saturday morning. Exacting timings of these services will be published later in the year.

Which is the closest airport to Dartington?
The closest airports to Dartington are Exeter and then Bristol, though these are smaller airports and only served by a small number of routes and operators. Most international participants will generally elect to fly into one of the main London airports and complete their journey by train.

6. Volunteering

What positions can I volunteer for at the Summer School?
There are three main volunteer roles available at the festival: Steward, House Parent and Production Volunteer. More information on each role and details of the application process can be found on our volunteering page.

I am under 18, can I volunteer?
We regret that we are not able to accept any volunteers under the age of 18

Can I get work experience at the Summer School?
Due to the nature of our work we are not able to offer work experience placements during the festival. Office based opportunities may be available at other times during the year. Please contact the Summer School office with your enquiry.

What is a ‘Trog’?
The term ‘Trog’ is a longstanding nickname for our Production Volunteers, the exact origins of which are clouded by the fogs of time.