All About Camp

CCMC's major focus is our annual summer camps. CCMC runs two independent, week-long sessions each July with beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes for adults in a variety of musical styles.

The price of camp includes all meals. Prices and other details are posted on the Registration page as soon as they become available for the current year, typically in February.


You’ll find answers to many of your questions in the videos about camp. You may also be interested in reading comments from attendees. If you have questions that aren’t answered in the videos or in the FAQ below, please contact us.

Click any question below to expand or collapse the answer.

The Big Picture

What's a typical day at CCMC like? 

There are three class periods per day. There is free time after the last class until dinner. You can take a workshop (or offer your own), jam, practice, swim, or hike. Or take a nap—it’s all up to you. Evening activities include song circles, a teacher concert, coffee houses (basically an open mic without the mic), a swing dance, a rock dance, the big student concert, and jamming, lots of jamming.

I won’t know anyone; will I be the only first-timer?

No, first-time campers make up a quarter to a third of each week’s enrollment. There’s an orientation session for new campers on the first afternoon, and the activities and classes in the first few days will help you find people with similar musical interests. Returning campers are eager to make music with new as well as old friends. And, you can always bring a friend to share the whole experience!

Is everyone who goes to CCMC from California?

Many are from California, but CCMC alumni are from all over the US, including Hawaii. We’ve had campers from Great Britain, France, Japan, New Zealand and other countries.

The Music

Do I have to audition?

No. Everyone is welcome regardless of experience or playing ability. CCMC tries to offer classes at all skill levels.

Do I need to know how to read music?

No. Most classes emphasize listening and hands-on instruction. Reading tablature is helpful because some instructors provide charts, but it’s not necessary.

What if I'm a beginner?

Check the class listings and you’ll see lots of classes each week with “Beginning” in the title, for players and singers alike. The beginning classes are often among the most popular, attended by people just starting out on an instrument or returning to an old one.

Who are the teachers?

They are professional musicians—composers, performing artists, and music teachers who have been chosen not just for their talent, but their teaching ability and accessibility to students at all proficiency levels.

We always ask for student feedback on teachers and take it quite seriously in our annual decisions on who will be invited to join the faculty. This year’s teachers are described in our class listings. Teachers from previous years are listed here.

What’s an “instigator?”

Each week, one or two teachers are assigned the role of instigator. An instigator helps campers with similar interests connect with one another.

What’s a “camp instrumentalist?”

One or two teachers are dedicated to providing instrumental and stylistic support on a variety of instruments for classes, jams, and other musical events at camp.

I’m out of practice. Will I be able to keep up?

CCMC attracts a wide variety of students, from the absolute beginner to advanced players, from people who only play for their cats to those who perform in public regularly. If you're ready to dust off your instrument or start singing again, you’ll find opportunities that match your musical interests and skill.

Do I have to play a stringed instrument to attend CCMC?

No. Band classes in many genres—swing, Latin, blues, and other styles—always welcome other instruments. We have regular campers who play saxophone or other horn or sing, but play no stringed instruments. Their music stands out on dance night and during the student and faculty concerts and they add dimension to any jam session. Bring your sousaphone, flugelhorn, trombone, congas, bassoon or vibes and join the fun!

I’m not much of a “folkie.” Will I fit in at CCMC?

While there is usually a strong folk music contingent at CCMC, classes span a wide variety of musical genres. Check the class listings under Classes & Teachers  to see what styles are offered this year and have been featured in prior years.

Do I have to sign up for the classes I want?

No. You'll receive a class schedule when you arrive at camp. The first night of camp is “Meet the Teachers” night, when instructors introduce themselves and briefly demonstrate the skills they’ll be teaching that week. After the introductions, each teacher is available personally for students’ questions. After you’ve decided what to take, just show up at the class location at the appointed time. You can switch classes if you wish.

Accommodations & Food

What’s the facility like?

CCMC is held at a retreat facility in Placer County, about three hours east of San Francisco. The 400-acre site is in the Sierra foothills in a pine forest. All meals and performances are in a central dining hall.

  • Flat terrain

  • Wheelchair accessibility

  • Plenty of parking

  • Easy unloading and pack-up for cabins and tent cabins

  • A campfire circle where we can make music all night (although fires are not permitted during fire season)

  • A large swimming pool, with bathhouse

  • Nearby stores in Foresthill, about 10 minutes away

  • Medical help (EMS) no more than 10 minutes away

  • Sixty-seven miles from Sacramento International Airport (SMF)

What will I eat?

Camp tuition includes three meals a day, plus evening snacks. We attempt to meet the needs of vegetarians and other special diets. If you have highly specialized food needs, you may want to bring those items with you. Some refrigerator space is available for food storage at a couple of sites around camp, where you can also leave other snack items and beverages.

We don’t want to feed the wildlife or let them think they can help themselves, so never store food or anything that smells like food in your tent.

Where will I sleep?

You have four options:

  1. Your own tent: Bring your own tent and camp in the woods. There are communal bathrooms and shower facilities in the tenting areas. You can bring tables, chairs, and other camping amenities. The site has plenty of flat, shaded tent campsites.

  2. Cabin without plumbing: These primitive cabins have no plumbing but do have electric power for lights, fans, and medical equipment. A centrally located bathroom/shower house is provided.

  3. Cabin with bathroom: Each regular cabin has a sink, toilet, and shower with hot and cold water in addition to electricity. Stay in a cabin with bunkbeds and a sink, toilet and shower. Although the cabins are designed for 10 or 12 campers, we purposely don’t fill each cabin, except in rare special circumstances, such as when a group requests it. Cabins are designated women-only, men-only or co-ed; some are designated quiet cabins, with quiet hours after 11 p.m. Generally, everyone gets a bottom bunk and uses the top bunk for their personal belongings. Cabin space is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. When you register, you can request a particular cabin or roommate and we’ll do our best to accommodate everyone. 

  4. Bring your own small camper or van. There are no hookups, but there are lots of level spots for your rig. There is a $25 fee for RV parking for the week.

Do I need to bring bedding?

Yes, either a sleeping bag or sheets and a blanket, and a pillow. The cabins and the lodge have bunks beds with thin mattress pads.

Can I stay at a motel or hotel nearby instead?

CCMC does not allow or provide any off-premises options.

Is there a place to store refrigerated medication?

Yes, camp has several refrigerators for camper use.

Coming to Camp

Where is CCMC and how do I get there?

Camp is held at a retreat location in Placer County, about 3 hours northeast of San Francisco. Maps and driving directions are mailed to all registered campers about a month before camp begins.

We encourage carpooling and can help you find a ride or riders. If you’ll be flying in for camp, the Sacramento airport (SMF) is about 1.25 hours away. Other folks fly into San Francisco (SFO) or Oakland (OAK). Let us know your arrival times and we'll try to arrange a ride to camp for you.

How do I register?

When registration is open, you will see that choice in the menu, and a button on the home page. There are three ways to register:

  1. Register online and pay with PayPal

  2. Register online and pay with a check

  3. Print out a registration form and pay with a check

Registration typically opens in February, at which point instructions for each method will be posted on the Registration page.

How much does camp cost?

The price of camp includes all meals. Prices and other details are posted on the Registration page as soon as they become available for the current year, typically in February.

Can I bring my electric guitar or bass?

CCMC is an acoustic music camp. We don’t allow amplifiers for classes or jamming. There are some exceptions, however. If your instrument is a solid-body electric upright bass, bring a small portable amp for classes and jams (some class and jam sites have no electricity). However, we ask that you to keep the sound levels comparable to acoustic basses.

There is an electric keyboard in the main dining hall for classes. concerts and jamming. Other amplified instruments usually show up at the dances on Wednesday night. See the Welcome to CCMC video for more information about the dances.

What if I forget to bring something?

There are no stores conveniently nearby, so try to bring everything you need with you (check the list of items to bring). The camp store sells some basic music-related items—picks, strings, batteries, and so on.

Do I need to bring money?

The camp store sells some musical supplies as well as other merchandise (CCMC logo items, thumb drives for storing concert recordings). A few classes might want you to purchase additional materials. You can pay as you go or run a tab until the end of the week. We accept cash or check (no credit cards).

Can I bring beer, wine, or other alcohol?

Yes. However, we ask that you drink alcohol from an opaque container, such as a travel mug. (A flask is not considered an opaque container, nor is a paper bag.) Here’s why:

  • Respect for others. Some campers cannot or choose not to use alcohol. An opaque container helps those who don’t want alcohol “in their face,” without infringing on your freedom to enjoy the beverage of your choice.

  • The trash factor. If everyone walked around with beer bottles, camp would be littered with them and we don’t have the staff (or the desire) to pick them all up. However, if you take your beer or wine from the refrigerator and pour it into a container, you can recycle your empty on the spot. Likewise, if you pour your beverage at your campsite, the empty bottle is in your space, not everyone else’s.

We greatly appreciate everyone’s cooperation in using alcohol responsibly.

What if someone needs to reach me (or vice versa) while I’m at camp?

Cell phone service is unreliable, but free wi-fi is available at several locations around camp—you can use it for e-mail or Skype.

When you register for camp, you’ll be given the camp’s land line number, which you can provide to friends and family. If you’re not near the phone when it rings, someone will take a message. You can also call out from these phones using a calling card (or by calling collect).

Will there be a doctor at camp?

You are responsible for your own medical care and needs, but for most weeks of camp, a doctor or nurse attends camp and is on call for medical emergencies. If you have particular issues or concerns you wish for them to know about in case of an emergency, you can provide health information to the medical person. Forms will be provided and kept confidential with the designated medical personnel. There is a small medical clinic about 10 miles away and a hospital about 30 miles away.