Music Songwriting Summer Camps in NYC & LA | SOCAPA Music
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Summer Music Songwriting Camps

New York | Los Angeles | Vermont

Summer Music Songwriting Camps for High School Students & Teens

SOCAPA’s Music Camp for high school students & teens focuses on developing songwriting and musical performance skills. Vocalists and musicians all create their own original songs during the program, and are introduced to the professional workflow of music production— from song conception and developing their individual artistic sound, to writing and workshopping their lyrics and music, to music video production—and everything in between! All students then perform an original song that they’ve written and arranged at the end of camp during our Final Showcase. Core and Advanced Students also record their songs at a professional studio.

Studio writing and playing time is complemented by experiencing live performances, meeting accomplished musicians, and more, all in the heart of New York City or Los Angeles, home to Beck, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Eagles, No Doubt, the Black Eyed Peas, Tom Waits, Weezer, the Beach Boys, Van Halen . . . the list goes on and on.

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A Summer Music Experience
Like No Other
recording studio at music studio
Studio Recording

Record your original song at a multi-million dollar recording studio.

Music Video Production Studio
Music Videos

Collaborate with a filmmaking student to make a one-of-a-kind music video!

Cultural Arts Student with a guitar
Culture of Creativity

Collaborate and work in a creative environment that encourages new ideas, first tries, and bold experiments.

Choose Your Intensive

CORE Music

Singer-Songwriters & House Band


Studio Recording
Showcase Performances
Live Video Recording or Music Video (3wk only)


NYC, LA, and VT

Program Length

2 & 3 weeks

Core Music introduces students to the songwriting process and provides the guidance for them to write, arrange, and perform their own original songs, and to record at least one original song at a professional studio. Students may also collaborate with classmates on songs—many perform backing vocals or instrumental accompaniment on their friends’ work. All genres of music are welcome in the program, and no prior writing experience is necessary.
Mar 28, 2023

"My son had an amazing experience in the Songwriting program at SOCAPA NYC in 2022! It exceeded his and our (already high) expectations. The teachers/counselors were mature, creative and inspiring; t... read on google"

"My son had an amazing experience in the Songwriting program at SOCAPA NYC in 2022! It exceeded his and our (already high) expectations. The teachers/counselors were mature, creative and inspiring; the other campers were friendly, artistic and mutually supportive; the leisure activities were exciting and well-supervised. He was thrilled to create, record and perform his original song live, and found it very cool to collaborate with SOCAPA Film campers to make his video. He will be returning to SOCAPA! Highly recommend if you are passionate about your chosen Art."

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Jan 03, 2024

"My son just signed up for his second summer at SOCAPA VT for core music. He had such an amazing experience last summer honing his songwriting skills, meeting other like-minded kids and helping to mak... read on google"

"My son just signed up for his second summer at SOCAPA VT for core music. He had such an amazing experience last summer honing his songwriting skills, meeting other like-minded kids and helping to make a music video. His teachers were knowledgeable, creative and inspiring. Highly recommend and looking forward to the performance showcase!"

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Nov 15, 2023

"Socapa was the best experience ever! I got to meet so many new friends and I got to learn more about music theary! I love how they do a mix of music, dance, acting, filmaking, and photography! I love ... read on google"

"Socapa was the best experience ever! I got to meet so many new friends and I got to learn more about music theary! I love how they do a mix of music, dance, acting, filmaking, and photography! I love Socapa and thats why im going back next year!"

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Read More Reviews
Singer - Songwriter

The Teen Singer-Songwriter Camp provides the tools and time needed to develop voice and style within the discipline of popular music. Instruction consists of group workshops and individual coaching in melody, harmony, arranging, lyric writing, and stage presence. Each student will have the opportunity to write and arrange an original song to be performed live.

Rock Camp / House Band

While most students sing and accompany themselves on their original songs, students who do not play an instrument or who do not sing but who are interested in writing song lyrics and music are welcome to apply. All students in the music program will attend the same classes and produce the same outcomes (recordings, videos, etc). However, students who would like to focus on playing and not singing will play with the other students on their original songs during recording sessions and live performances. Session dates are limited depending on enrollment and needed instrumentation.

Studio Recording

Record your song in a multi-million dollar recording studio!

Our SOCAPA New York City camps, record at the famous Dubway Studios where the likes of Alicia Keys, Adele, the White Stripes, Vampire Weekend, Beck, Bjork, Philip Glass, Mumford and Sons and many more have worked before you.

At our Los Angeles camp, students have laid down their tracks at Red Gate and Village Studios, following in the footsteps of Christina Aguilera, John Lennon, Snoop Dogg, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Aerosmith to only name a few!

More Song Recordings

From NYU to Pace University, Occidental College, and Champlain College, all of SOCAPA’s camps are run directly on college campuses, using the classrooms, dormitories, and facilities of undergraduates. Residential SOCAPA students enjoy the emerging independence of dorm life together with roommates and floormates under the supervision of SOCAPA’s staff.


Attend SOCAPA as a day student and save on room & board.

Music Videos

All musicians dream of having their very own music video. Music videos are an undeniable part of our culture and an enormous accomplishment for any musician. Three-week musicians get the chance to work with students in the summer film camp to create a music video of their own original work. In addition to having written and recorded the song, musicians get to meet with their filmmakers to discuss their creative vision and are very much collaborators in the process. Music videos are uploaded to our server and are available for students to share with friends, family, or as an impressive part of an application to a school or job.

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See More Music Videos
Culture of Creativity
“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.”
John Lennon

SOCAPA was founded by a culturally and artistically diverse collective of New York City artists and that's the way we run our camps. SOCAPA fosters an accepting and nurturing culture of creativity and collaboration that allows students to be themselves and to express themselves. Collaborate with SOCAPA's four other programs and make friends with and learn from young minds from around the world.

For All Students

There are some necessary tools students must possess in order to be successful at SOCAPA Music.

A working knowledge of music theory is important in our fast-paced learning environment. While we mainly focus on written chord symbols, a basic knowledge of reading music notes is also helpful. Above all, a deep passion for music and an understanding of basic musicianship is imperative in the life of any aspiring musician.

For Singer-Songwriters

Students may be self-taught, but we recommend at least one year of musical training. Vocalists should have an understanding of the voice as it relates to breath control and breath support and be able to carry harmonies and melodies. Vocalists should also be prepared to perform before an audience. Most singer-songwriters are also able to accompany themselves, though students may apply as singers only and collaborate on their songs with others.

For The House Band

We recommend at least two to three years of experience playing one or more instruments, and at least one year of formal musical training. Students should be familiar with playing ascending and descending major and minor scales, and be able to transition easily between different keys. They must also be able to play melodies and rhythms by ear on their respective instrument.

Audition Video

SOCAPA asks that all music students include a link to a sample of their musical work in the "registration details" section of our application. This can be a link to a video on YouTube, Vimeo, a personal website, or something similar. Please be prepared to share a video that:

  • Is 1-4 minutes in length
  • Features your performance abilities
  • Is of any video quality (phone recordings are acceptable)

We look forward to seeing and hearing your wonderful work!

Who We are

Kelley McRae

Kelley McRae grew up in Mississippi but called Brooklyn home for years before teaming up with guitarist Matt Castelein in 2011, when the duo traded in their NYC apartment for a VW camper van and hit the road full time. Thousands of miles and hundreds of shows later, they have toured coast to coast in the US, played to packed rooms across Europe, sold-out the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and continue to build a passionate and dedicated following on the strength of their live performances.

Drawing comparisons to Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch, the duo’s music is wide ranging – comprising haunting ballads, tender love songs, and energetic guitar driven songs full of hope. Paste Magazine’s 4 Star review raves “Kelley moves effortlessly from the mournful tones of the plantation to the celebratory swing of the saloon, from songs of loss and decay to hymns of love and grace.” Acclaimed film director Wim Wenders told the San Francisco Chronicle that Kelley’s songs move him to tears, and BBC Radio’s Bob Harris calls the songs ‘brilliant.’

Kelley's music has been featured in Lifetime’s Army Wives, MTV, commercials for American Airlines and Unicef, and numerous independent films. In 2015 Kelley released her latest album, EASY ON MY MIND.


Rebecca Jordan

Rebecca has been a professional songwriter for over 17 years. She has had three publishing deals, two major label record deals, and has released music independently. Rebecca has collaborated with John Legend, Busta Rhymes, Kelly Clarkson, Jerry Wonda, Phil Galdston, Barry Eastmond, Barrett Yeretsian, Matthew Wilder, Alice Smith, and many many more. Rebecca won the 2010 Abe Olman Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, was a 2011 Independent Music Award Nominee for Best EP and an ASCAP Foundation Selection for the 2013 Kennedy Center Showcase of Contemporary Composers. Rebecca continues to write and produce original music.


Mary Bragg

Mary Bragg is a Nashville based songwriter with six albums to her name. Mary tours regularly, playing at festivals and music halls across the country. Mary's music has been praised by the likes of USA Today, NPR, Rolling Stone, and Billboard. Mary has been dubbed an "Americana Queen", her work has been critically acclaimed, and her Southern roots have been recognized both in her own songs and in praise for her work. Mary self-produced and self-engineered her latest album, VIOLETS AS CAMOUFLAGE, in her home recording studio, in Nashville, collaborating with an impressive array of talented musicians along the way.


Matt Castelein

Matt Castelein teamed up with Kelley McRae in 2011 as a guitarist and co-writer. The duo together has performed more than 500 shows worldwide in NYC, LA, London, Berlin, and Paris. Their latest release, The Wayside, debuted at #7 on the Euro-Americana charts and hit #4 on the Roots Music Reports Top 50 Contemporary Folk chart.


Lucciana Costa

Lucciana Costa has relentlessly pursued the enjoyment of life through music. She was seventeen when she returned to the piano and began her relationship with the instrument as a writer. Having cut her teeth on the Ann Arbor, Michigan music scene, she put together a crew of the area’s best to produce her first album, Last Chance For a Pony in 2009. She spent the next three years touring around the country and composing for short films, documentaries and animations. After releasing Locksmithing in the winter of 2012, a collection of songs she recorded in her living room, Lucciana hit the studio to record what is now her second LP, Structurally Sound. Highlighting her band “The Lucky Bastards” on most tracks, the album also features Nashville-produced cuts with Lindsay Jamieson (Ben Folds) and James Haggerty (The Autumn Defense). Now a Los Angeles resident, Lucciana continues to build a varied career based off of a sharp wit, a penchant for pounding the lower half of a piano, and an infectious enthusiasm for the world around her. More at


Jonathan Mann

Jonathan Mann is a singer-songwriter who has been composing music since the age of 12. Jonathan has recorded music under the names Forty (or 40) Second Song, The Nympho Leprechauns, Novox the Robot, GameJew, The Mario Opera, and Jonathan Mann. He is best known for creating and publishing a new song and video each day since January 2009, under the YouTube channel "Song A Day." “Song A Day” received national attention after several songs went viral and Jonathan was interviewed by CNN in 2013. Because of his vast quantity of material and speed of composition, his songs often reference immediate current events and popular trends of the very day the video is uploaded. His biting satire and musical versatility have been referenced by Steve Jobs, Paul Krugman, Rachel Maddow and Steve Wozniak, among many others. Jonathan continues to write a song a day, from his home in Brooklyn, NY.

More at

Girls in Little Italy, New York
Nights and Weekends

Every evening, Monday through Friday, we plan an activity for the students, whether it be a barbecue on campus, a dinner in the city, a cool-off swim, a theater/musical performance, or a film screening. On the Saturday afternoons that are not devoted to shooting and performing, we organize a group excursion. This could include a trip to a museum, the beach or a show in the city. Past evening and Saturday excursions have included trips to Coney Island Amusement Park, live tapings of MTV's TRL, outdoor concerts (The Roots, OCMS, TV on the Radio, etc.), Universal Studios, Pilobolus Dance Group at the Joyce, Disco Bowling, Broadway Shows such as Spring Awakening, Hair, Rent and Avenue Q, Six Flags Amusement Park, Fourth of July Fireworks, Bryant Park Film Screenings, and off-Broadway hits such as Fuerza Bruta and Stomp, to name a few.

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Master Classes

At least once per session, SOCAPA invites a top industry professional from the New York or Hollywood film or performing arts scene to come to campus and lead a master class for all students, regardless of focus. Some past guests include Academy Award-Winning actress Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Frozen River, 21 Grams), writer/director John Hamburg (I Love You Man, Along Came Polly, Safe Men, Zoolander, Meet the Fockers, Little Fockers), actor Luis Guzman (Traffic, Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love, Carlitbacko's Way, Anger Management), writer Hawk Ostby (Iron Man, Children of Men, Cowboys and Aliens), actor Brendan Sexton III (Empire Records, Welcome to the Dollhouse), the four lead characters from American Teen, filmmaker Peter Sollett (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Raising Victor Vargas), actor Sarah Clarke (TV show 24, Thirteen) screenwriter Andrew Marlowe (Air Force One, End of Days, Hollow Man), director Morgan J. Freeman (Hurricane Streets), comedian Matt Walsh (The Daily Show, Bad Santa, Upright Citizens Brigade), and the cast of Hair and Spring Awakening on Broadway.

Drop us a line

If you have any questions, please send us a message. We will contact you ASAP.

TOLL FREE USA: 1.800.718.2787

LOCAL NY + NON-USA: 646.828-3558

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"a life-changing moment for Ally... she emerged from the program with emerging confidence and the belief that she could have a future in the arts... I wish I could have left her for 2 more weeks."
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"a taste of what college life will be like"
Sue M, Washington, DC
"Simply stupendous!"
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" an intense and exciting three weeks! ...The instructors were the best! Two thumbs up!"
Chole R, Washington
"...came home very confident and motivated about pursuing her dreams. The only thing we would change would be for her to stay longer."
Laura C, Maryland
"as far-reaching as they come..."
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"provided the necessary artist’s environment she needed as she explores and makes big life decisions as she enters her senior year in high school."
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