Who can attend?
Basically, anyone interested in improving their instrumental or vocal skills can attend. You don't have to be a bluegrass or old-time fan and you don't need to be able to read music. Sore Fingers Week falls somewhere between a music school and an activity holiday and people have different expectations. Some come with the aim of learning a lot and take every opportunity to absorb everything their tutor teaches them. On the other hand, we have students who enjoy spending a week with like-minded people and having a great time playing music.
Can children attend?
Yes, but under the following conditions. If under sixteen, they must be accompanied by a responsible adult who will care for them during the week. Children under the age of twelve are likely to find Sore Fingers a little too demanding unless they are very able musically. If you would like to bring a very young person, please call us first for advice. All under sixteens are billeted in Plymouth House and supervised by a house warden in addition to their parental supervision.
How do I book?
Download the booking form from the website, completing the details and mailing the form with appropriate payment to the address indicated on the form. Payment can be made by cheque made out to "SFSS" or we also accept card payments.
When should I book?
Early booking is recommended to make sure you get a place on the course of your choice. We start taking bookings immediately after the previous course has finished.
What's the food like?
Brilliant, there's plenty of it, and there is a vegetarian choice for those who prefer. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided daily. Evening meal is provided on the day of arrival and breakfast on the day of departure. Where students have special dietary requirements please contact us in advance for advice.
What should I bring?
In addition to clothes and personal items, you will need your instrument and accessories (spare strings, picks, capos). A music stand and a note book will prove useful and many people now bring small recorders to capture parts of the lessons. Please note we do not allow video in class.
How should I prepare?
Practise for at least 20 minutes a day in the run up to Sore Fingers Week. Identify any areas of your playing you are having particular problems with and make a note of them so you can raise them with your tutor. Sore Fingers Week is demanding on the old body. Unless you are a profesional musician, you will be exercising parts of your body that are not used to such punishment (sore fingers!), so make sure you get plenty of sleep before coming!
What does the timetable look like?
There is a typical daily schedule which you can download here. That will give you a detailed preview of what happens at Sore Fingers Week. Do be aware the schedule may change in detail but the main format stays the same.
When do I arrive and when should I leave?
Your standard booking allows you to arrive after 3pm on the day before (Sunday afternoon) the classes begin. An evening meal is provided at 7pm. The bar is then open for sessions and general socialising! Most students leave after breakfast the day after classes finish (Saturday morning) and again this is covered by the standard booking.
Are there scholarships?
Yes. A number of organisations (including Sore Fingers Summer Schools) offer scholarships to help young people attend Sore Fingers Week. Most of the sponsored places are given to young people but there are no age limits and some scholarships have been awarded on merit alone. Sponsors who have participated in this initiative:
- The British Bluegrass Music Association
- The Cornish Bluegrass Association
- Arthur St Clair Robinson
- Kick Productions
- The Chris Metcalfe Memorial Fund
What happens besides the classes?
There are many additional activities to keep you busy for the whole five days. Tutors give evening workshops and there are other workshops covering subjects such as "How to make a band work", "Recording your first demo", "PA Seminar", etc. There are many jam sessions each day including a slow jam for beginners, you can form a band to perform in the student concert and much more! Students are encouraged to take in as much as possible to ensure they gain the best possible experience from the week.
Can I stay off site?
Yes. Alternative accommodation can be found at local B&Bs and hotels. Please see the accommodation page for more details.