All your questions, answered.

Q – For whom is the Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR) designed?
The Retreat is designed for musicians who are interested in composition, improvisation, electronic music, performance, choral singing and/or music pedagogy. Those who consider themselves amateur musicians as well as those who are advanced and/or professional are welcome, along with everyone in between. The Retreat, however, is not designed for absolute beginners.

Q – What is the age range of participants at the Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR)?
CMR is open to applicants who are of college age and older, ages 18+. We anticipate that participants will be a wide range of ages. At previous Retreats, participants have ranged in age from 18 to 88. Applicants who are 18 or 19, but have not yet begun college or university study may be instead eligible for the Young Musicians Program, and NOT the Creative Musicians Retreat. Please inquire with our office if this applies to you.

Q – What type of musicians benefit from CMR?
Classical musicians, jazz musicians, improvising musicians, choral musicians, composing musicians, teaching musicians, popular musicians, avant-garde musicians and un-categorizable musicians will all benefit from and contribute to the Creative Musicians Retreat. All participants should be able to call themselves “creative musicians”!

Q – What is the schedule at CMR?
Participants enjoy a wide variety of activities and classes at the Creative Musicians Retreat. For a sample schedule from past years please visit

Q – What is your participant to teacher ratio?
Approximately 5-6 students per teacher. 

Q – At what level are the courses you will be teaching?
At your level! Our courses will be targeted to our participants’ interests and abilities. Some classes are very advanced, and some are designed for those with less experience.

Q – I would like to study electronic music at the Retreat. What courses will you offer this year?
We generally offer some combination of courses in Live Electronic Music in Max or Supercollider, Musique Concrète, Multimedia/Intermedia Composition, Analog Modular Synthesis, and/or Creative Analog Circuit Design. In addition to courses we will offer workshops that cover other electronic music and music technology practices. Curricular decisions for each retreat are based in part on participant interest and experience.

Q – I would like to take composition at CMR. May I do that?
Yes. Our faculty members and the Composer-in-Residence will give composition lessons and master classes. The members of our faculty have diverse compositional backgrounds and interests, giving students plenty to draw from over the course of the week. Most students who are interested are able to take at least two 30-minute private lessons during the retreat.

Q – I’m a music teacher interested in learning more about Walden’s Musicianship Course and pedagogical approaches. Is the Creative Musicians Retreat for me?
Yes! There are pedagogy workshops at CMR for music teachers (elementary through college) interested in learning more about The Walden School’s interactive approach to teaching music. Our pedagogy is applicable to a variety of learning environments, including classroom teaching, ensemble rehearsals, and private lessons. Some teachers have been sponsored by their school/university in the past to attend Walden’s Creative Musicians Retreat.

Q – I’m a choral singer. Is the Creative Musicians Retreat for me?
Yes! Everyone at CMR sings in the choir, which meets every day. The focus of choir is on community, healthy singing, exposure to a variety of repertoire and choral styles, and aural musicianship. Those interested in more singing and choral performance can choose to sing in the Chamber Choir in the afternoon. The Chamber Choir prepares 3-5 world premiere pieces by composers at the Retreat for performance on the Composers Forums.

Q – I’m a performer. Is the Creative Musicians Retreat for me?
Yes! We welcome instrumentalists and vocalists who are interested in working with members of our Ensemble-in-Residence. Participants will prepare chamber music (with repertoire primarily drawn from contemporary composition) for a concert and may also perform new music by composers at the Retreat on Composers Forums.


Q – What is a Composers Forum?
A Composers Forum is a public concert of new music. After each piece is performed, the audience and composer discuss the piece and the composer’s compositional process. This conversation is guided by a moderator (the Composer-in-Residence).

Q – Who is the Composer-in-Residence? Who is the Ensemble-in-Residence?
Each summer, an acclaimed contemporary music ensemble and composer-in-residence join us at the Creative Musicians Retreat. Recent composers-in-residence have included Amy Beth Kirsten, Lei Liang, Marcos Balter, George Lewis, Christopher Theofanidis, and Lisa Bielawa, and recent resident artists have included International Contemporary Ensemble and Mivos Quartet. Stay tuned for announcements of visiting artists and the composer-in-residence for summer 2024.

Q – Can I write a piece to be performed on a Composers Forum?
Yes. The Retreat includes three Composers Forums of works by composers at the retreat. All participants will have the opportunity to have a composition/work-in-progress presented on a Composers Forum. Composers write for members of the ensemble-in-residence, and artists-in-residence, and may also include electronics, performers on our faculty, and fellow CMR participants. Some composers (usually 3-5) are selected to write pieces for the Chamber Choir each year.

Q – Are Composers Forums recorded?
Yes. Each composer will receive a professionally-engineered audio recording of their piece.

Q – Will the ensemble play an older work of mine on the Composers Forums?
Perhaps. We prefer that all composing participants present a new work during the Retreat. If you would like to submit a work previously composed/performed, please contact Caroline Mallonee, Director of the Creative Musicians Retreat, to discuss.

Q – I have been studying composition for a number of years. Is the Retreat a good place for me?
Yes. The retreat is designed for composers of all levels: undergraduate students, graduate students, serious hobbyists, and professional composers.

Q – Will I have my own room?
Yes. All participants have their own rooms. Bathrooms are shared with other residents of the dormitory.

Q – How much free time is there?
As little or as much as you would like! There is almost always something “going on” at the retreat, but you may take advantage of large amounts of optional time each afternoon, as you like. Free time is built into each afternoon and some evenings. Please refer to the schedule for more information:

Q – Which meals are provided?
Walden provides breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The first meal provided is dinner on arrival day (Saturday); breakfast is provided on departure day (Sunday).

Q – Can I bring my family?
Yes! We aim to be a family-friendly program, and there are a variety of ways that we can welcome participant family members to Walden. In the past, children, spouses/significant others, and other family members have accompanied participants to Walden, paying a reduced fee. Please be in touch with us in order to explore this possibility.

Q – Will I have Internet access?
Yes, there is wireless Internet access throughout the buildings. Everyone will get a username and password for the network.

Q – Will I need to bring a laptop computer?
No. You may bring a computer if you wish. The electronic music lab will be available for those working in the electronic music program. Please note that there is no notation software on Walden’s computers in the electronic music studio, and those computers are not available for checking email, surfing the web, etc.

Q – I use computer notation software on my computer. Will I be able to print at the Retreat?
Yes. There will be a printer available for participants. However, there is no notation software on Walden’s computers, and Walden staff and faculty are not available to instruct people how to use notation software.

Q – Can I bring a car and will parking be provided?
Yes. You may bring a car and park it for free on campus. All dorms and facilities in which you will be working are within walking distance of each other

Q – Where is CMR held?
The Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat 2024 will be held at Dublin School in Dublin, New Hampshire. There is a small regional airport 75 minutes from Dublin in Manchester, New Hampshire (Manchester-Boston Regional or MHT), an Amtrak station 60 minutes away in Brattleboro, Vermont, and a bus station 20 minutes away in Keene, New Hampshire. Walden offers shuttle service for an additional fee from these transit terminals.

Q – What is the campus like?
Dublin School is a high school boarding school campus, with dormitories, classroom buildings, a dining hall, a gym, and athletic fields.

Q – What is the price of the Creative Musicians Retreat?
The total tuition price for the 2024 Creative Musicians Retreat is $3,100. Tuition covers housing, meals, all classroom instruction, individual tutoring and lessons, coachings, rehearsals, performances, workshops, transportation costs during the session (excluding shuttle service at the program start and end), a Composer Forum recording, as well as a retreat t-shirt and program photograph. All admitted students are eligible to request an interest-free payment installment plan. A non-refundable application fee must accompany the application.

Q – Is financial aid available?
Yes. There is need-based financial aid available. A completed financial aid application and 2023 tax documentation are required to be eligible. The Walden School is committed to making our programs affordable for as many financial aid applicants as possible to participate, and please understand that we have a limited financial aid budget which we try to apply as broadly and fairly as possible.

What had the greatest impact on me was the course on computer music, which greatly expanded my thinking on what music is.

– Creative Musicians Retreat Participant

Summer 2024

Start your application today.