A Musician’s Life at Birch Creek

An engaging inside look at the students and faculty who make up Birch Creek Music Performance Center’s residential music academy in Door County, Wisconsin.

Birch Creek Music Performance Center is a Residential Summer Music Academy on the beautiful Door County peninsula of Wisconsin. Founded in 1976, Birch Creek is a unique academy that provides talented young music students (ages 13-19) advanced training and mentorship as well as the opportunity to perform publicly alongside top music professionals from the United States and abroad.

Birch Creek offers four 2-week residential summer sessions in Percussion & Steel Band, Symphony and Jazz (two sessions). The student-faculty ratio of 2-to-1 ensures that students receive hands-on mentoring from top music educators and performers. Additionally, students have numerous public performance opportunities before appreciative audiences who have come to expect only the best from Birch Creek.

Please note: Birch Creek will be following CDC and local public health guidelines at the time of programming. Programs are subject to change. This website will provide current updates on the COVID-19 page at the top of the home page.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, international applicants will not be accepted to the 2021 Summer Music Academy.

Summer Music Academy Programs

Registration for all 2021 Summer Music Academy Sessions is now open!


2021 grant support has been provided by The Les Paul Foundation.

Student Life

Birch Creek Basketball During each two-week session, students live on Birch Creek’s 40-acre rural campus in dormitory-style housing, with male and female students living in separate quarters. There are five live-in counselors (many of them musicians themselves) who oversee all student activities. Students, faculty, and counselors share meals in the campus’ dining facility, as well as the opportunity to discuss all matters musical.

During morning and afternoon sessions, students train under the guidance of Birch Creek’s faculty of music professionals, receiving individualized instruction, rehearsing in small and large ensembles, and participating in a variety of seminars and specialized classes. Most evenings feature public performances in the 500-seat Dutton Concert Barn, and students also appear in outreach concerts throughout Door County.

While study at Birch Creek is intense, there is free time. Volleyball, basketball, ping pong, chess games, and impromptu jam sessions are popular on-campus pursuits. Additionally, there are supervised trips to Door County’s beautiful beaches and state parks, and many unique shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Peninsula State Park, pictured right, is a stunning hiking destination and a favorite among Birch Creek students who are new to Door County. There is also ample time for practice, and private lessons are available. Pictured below is Wilson’s, the famous Door County ice cream parlor.