Tuition: $920

Coached Ensemble Option: $175 per week.

Five private lessons length determined by instructor; use of private practice studio two hours daily; daily group classes.

The Violin/Viola Workshops began during the 1997 season under the same basic precept as the original piano and cello programs: an intensive practice/study vacation for busy adult amateurs (who rarely have this kind of time to devote to their instrument during the rest of the year) in a breathtakingly beautiful setting on the Maine coast. We’re adding more weeks to our string programs, with the goal of offering expanded opportunities for ensemble to all those participants who want this.

Adult violinists/violists at any level are welcome. An absolute beginner with no previous instruction would be encouraged to attend more than one week.

Coached ensembles are encouraged, not just among the violinists and violists, but also with the overlapping programs (piano and/or flute, clarinet, guitar, and cello). Faculty sets up coaching sessions for ensembles according to student schedules. Late afternoons are given over to group rehearsals.

Evening activities involve a social (Mondays), a faculty concert (Wednesdays) and performance classes (Thursdays and Fridays) for those who wish to participate.

There is no audition and no minimum skill level. The premise is: Come as you are to enjoy the study, the work and the beauty of our historic fishing village.

A Word from your Instructor & Testimonials

Fran Berge, Instructor

The adult students who come to Summerkeys are an amazing and intensely interesting group of people! Often very well-educated, these are people who have a strong sense of aesthetics and a real desire to continue learning for the pleasure of it. I don’t know what would make better students than individuals with these priorities! And it makes it so fun!

Lizzy H

My desire to learn the violin came from Fran after a few years of watching her classes perform. I think she is a brilliant teacher with much experience. Being with her creates a desire to learn and get out of my comfort zone. I will likely always be amazed at how she can still smile teaching me the violin, even when it’s way out of tune!

Chris D

Thank you so much for all the tuition and advice and for helping with my confidence in performance. It was awe-inspiring to have such a talented musician and performer teaching me.

Instructor Articles, Fran Berge

I love teaching adults and am truly thrilled when I hear from my adult students that they are proceeding to explore what they have begun developing at SKS.


Sometimes this means hearing about the continuation of a friendship which was started with another participant at the camp. I had a couple of students last year who became ‘pen-pals’ in relating their experiences in practicing to one another, goading each other along with great humor through each hurdle they met in their daily lives. They did this all year and then planned a duet to play together in the following year. I also witness and experience music friends encouraging one another through difficult health situations. They continue to make at least tentative plans for the next summer. It really helps a person get busy with the exercises that would make that possible.


This year, I am encouraged that a student who is just getting the idea that listening skills can be developed and that singing is a good way to practice this.. is telling me that she is about to go take an ear-training course and that she is trying hard to get over her shyness in singing.


A student who is still a beginner on the violin, but who has significant musical background working with choirs, is learning how to arrange music for strings. Over the year, she put a lot of effort into making an arrangement of a popular secular hymn for two violins, which she was then ready to polish and perform during SKS the next year. She also found that there were other participants who were quite in awe of her ability to improvise harmony lines to folk songs on the violin by ear, when people got together casually.


One clever piano student decided that to have more opportunities to play with others in his own community, he needed to focus on what the priorities of a good accompanist would be… for accompanying beginners and for possibly working with professionals. He studied for a succession of several weeks with three faculty members who were not pianists, in order to get their ideas on this. Each of us presented this from a slightly different angle, and certain basics kept being confirmed.

Photo credit Fred Pierce
Photo credit Fred Pierce
Photo credit Fred Pierce

Introduction to Summerkeys

Workshop Dates

  • June 17-21
  • June 24-28
  • July 15-19
  • July 22-26
  • July 29-August 2
  • August 5-9

Violin/Viola Faculty

Nash Ryder

Nash Ryder

      Hailed by violinist James Ehnes as “mesmerizing,” Dr. Nash Ryder began playing violin at […]

Ina Litera

Ina Litera

Ina Litera, violist, is an active freelance and chamber musician performing with the many ensembles […]

Fran Berge

Fran Berge

Fran Berge performs widely on both historical and modern instruments. She plays with Tempesta di […]

SummerKeys Violin/Viola WorkShop

A Music Adventure in Lubec, Maine