Scratch Bands

Go straight to pre-registration (username and password below)

Bluegrass and Old Time Music is meant to be played in ensembles of probably three or more people - not a strict rule, but this music is seldom performed by solo musicians. Whilst the main activity at Sore Fingers is based around individual instrumental classroom tuition, the skills you learn there are applicable to playing with others and learning to interact with several band members. We believe Sore Fingers Week is unique in offering structured band tuition and we are known to run one of the most spectacular Student Concerts in the business!

These activities are optional and there no obligation to join a scratch band if don't wish to. There are two streams: those bands which go forward to perform in the Student Concert and the non-performing scratch bands for those students who don't yet feel ready to step up to the stage and perhaps need a little help to get up to speed. On arrival, once you have registered with main reception, our scratch band tutors are ready to recruit you and place you in suitable line-ups for which ever stream you prefer.

Alternatively and a new way of doing things is to register in advance, applies to both streams. This process will save a lot of time at the school and allows the Scratch Band Tutors to get organised before you even get to Kingham.

Register for performing or non-performing scratch bands.


You can access the form from the link below:

Login: is as follows (don't type the " characters):
User: "musician"
Password: "sbands2024"

Registration form

Let's start with the bands who choose to take part in the concert... here are some quotes from students:

"I can't believe what I've achieved, it's given me so much confidence."

"Playing with others on stage is an awesome experience"

And here's a comment from an American Tutor:

"This is a unique part of the course. Students putting into practice what they've learned from us. We don't have this at American band camps"

The Student Concert

The now famous Student Scratch Band concert takes place on Thursday evening. The opportunity to play and sing with others on stage may seem a bit daunting, but we know, without doubt, that the experience has often rewarded students by boosting their confidence as well as providing a safe context in which to enjoy performing... possibly for the first time! Several previous participants have gone forward from these concerts to form bands and subsequently perform at Bluegrass and Old Time Festivals festivals across the UK and abroad. Once the student bands are formed, the Scratch Band tutors will ask you to prepare two numbers, one of which has to be a vocal number and allocate you your own practice area.

Bands are supported by a dedicated team of Scratch Band Tutors all of whom have played in professional or semi-professionals bands on the British scene. They will help you work up your songs/tunes to performance standards. They will also help you fine-tune your delivery and get you through any difficult bits you might experience as part of band - especially if it's your first time!

Your experience on stage will be nothing short of what a pro band would get playing in an Arts Centre with a fully equipped sound system and stage lighting. And you needn't worry about the audience, they will love you - your fellow students are the most supportive! There are special sessions for those who haven't ever worked on a professional stage including help with subjects such as mic technique.

We encourage you to take part in this activity especially if you haven't played in such an environment before - it's an unforgettable moment! And since it's a special occasion, you might bring something nice to wear on stage... appearances count. We actively encourage a spirit of togetherness and often, experienced performers volunteer to join a student band to give the "newbies" the benefit of their experience.

Non-Performing Scratch bands

The second stream is aimed at those who haven't played in bands before and wish to learn the skills required to play with other musicians in a way that works.

There are some basic principles applicable to being part of a band and just as the Concert Bands are mentored by a dedicated team, so will the non-performing scratch bands. The only difference is that you are not committed to performing in the concert on Thursday night, so there is no pressure... all the fun without the nerves!

The emphasis is to get you started and you will be provided with sample material, lyrics, chords, audio files and you will be set the task - with the help of your band mentor - of learning the material, arranging the tune/song effectively - e.g. intros and outros; order of solos - and bringing it up to performance level. You will also be allocated your dedicated practice area for the duration. Unlike a slow jam, you will be in total control and able to learn at your own pace with the support of scratch band tutors to help when/if you hit the wall and find it difficult to progress to the next stage. By the end of the week, you should be far better prepared to join your local session, learn to practice with a band and perhaps join the Concert Stream at the next Sore Fingers Week. A couple of years down the line and you could be on stage at a festival!