Hornby Island Career Development Practicum For Emerging Musicians

Hornby Festival Develops a School For Emerging Artists!

From August 4th – 7th 2017, the Hornby Festival held its very first Practicum at the Hornby School for Emerging Artists, thanks to financial support from private donors, Creative BC and the BC Rural Dividend Fund. As part of our pilot phase, 10 students took part in an intensive practicum that included mentoring from established touring artists, performance teaching by Daniel Lapp, and business courses for artists by experts in the field. The program was capped by a one hour performance by the students on the main stage of the Hornby Festival!

Another program will be offered in 2018, so do contact us if you are interested in partaking!

Practicum Description

This practicum is intended for high-level, emerging musicians (players of any portable instrument, vocalists/singer-songwriters) looking to launch their career as touring professionals. In this intense, innovative, practical immersion experience you will work on all aspects of what it takes to make music your career – from your musicianship, to practical business guidance, to performance experience on our Festival stage. Throughout, you will work in a group environment with a nationally recognized, internationally touring, highly skilled artist as your mentor. You will also receive instruction and guidance from each of the other mainstage artists who will be performing as part of our Festival on the dates of your practicum. You will receive sessions from our highly skilled Festival staff on subjects such as: how to approach grant writing, what you need for promotional materials, how to approach applying for performance opportunities, developing your technical rider, stage plot and hospitality riders, advice on recording, getting your gear together for touring, and more.

Who is this for? We are looking for students who have reached a high level of proficiency on theirs instrument and are aspiring professional musicians – musicians on the cusp/nearing the cusp/or just over the cusp of touring/recording careers. Players of any portable instrument are encouraged to apply as are vocalists/singer-songwriters. We will be selecting 8 – 20 students and hope to have a blend of backgrounds and instrumentation.

Location – Hornby Island

Tucked in the Salish Sea, our community will feed your creative energies. Renowned for its natural beauty, Hornby Island – “the jewel of the the gulf islands” – is a world of sandy beaches, lush forests, and picturesque farmland. It is also a recognized creative mecca – home to many professional artists with active careers in dance, music, literature, the visual arts, production and theatre. We attract thousands of visitors seeking creative/natural beauty experiences.

Accommodation – The Hornby Island Dive Lodge

All students will stay at the Hornby Island Dive Lodge. The Dive Lodge is located on two acres of property at picturesque Ford Cove. It is comfortable but simple – bright and cosy with lots of skylights and great views of the ocean, mountains, sunsets… It is the ideal space for this practicum as there are many communal spaces for instruction, jamming and socializing. Delicious, healthy, homemade meals are prepared by our experienced cooks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are covered in our accommodation fee to allow for optimum learning time. If you have food allergies or special dietary requirements, please notify us before you arrive.


The 2017 Faculty

All our our instructors are high level professionals currently and successfully making their careers in the music industry.

Lead Mentors . Students are assigned a mentor who will work with you throughout your stay. This mentor is a nationally recognized, internationally touring, highly skilled musician. In the Summer of 2017 the mentor was Daniel Lapp, for the inaugural cohort.

 Daniel Lapp is a world-renowned singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, teacher, archivist, band leader, sideman, producer, promoter and – no kidding – the list goes on. And like the true-blue Canadian he is, Daniel does it all with trademark energy and warmth.  As a fiddler, jazz trumpeter and singer/songwriter, Daniel Lapp has played on over 100 albums and performed across Canada, United States, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Finland and Germany with some of the world’s most renowned Folk and Jazz musicians. Daniel is the winner of the B.C. Fiddle Championship and has appeared as a soloist with the CBC Chamber Orchestra as well as the Prince George, Victoria, and Vancouver Symphonies.  A legendary force in Canada’s fiddle scene, in addition to his outstanding performing, Daniel has been musical mentor to hundreds of students—many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the music industry.

Supporting Mentors – All of our musicians who will be performing on our mainstage during the practicum will give a session to you on musicianship/career guidance. So, not only will you be learning from your mentor, you will have access to three other internationally touring bands/musicians.

2017: The O’Pears

The O’Pears are a Toronto-based contemporary folk trio made up of Lydia Persaud, Jill Harris and Meg Contini, three songwriters who weave stories that stir the spirit and capture the timeless character of folk music. Like Those Nights, their debut album, captures soaring harmonies and a seamless blend, evoking the profound intimacy of Nick Drake, the sister-like blend of The Staves and the dynamic harmony of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Live performances turn the loudest bar into the warmest house concert, with their endearing, unabashed personalities balancing the intimate sincerity of the songs. They recently performed to high acclaim at festivals such as Summerfolk, Great Heart Festival, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, garnered radio play across Canada, including CBC, and have been featured live with Royal Wood, Good Lovelies, Michelle Willis, and Coco Love Alcorn. Each band member a distinctly talented musician with a stand-alone voice, style, and stage presence, when these three come together it is breathtaking.

2017: Clinton Fearon

If you know reggae, you know Clinton Fearon. He is a composer, songwriter multi-instrumentalist and singer from Jamaica. He became the bassist, vocalist and lyricist of the mythic reggae band The Gladiators at age 19. He is counted among Jamaica’s most talented musicians by peers and professionals in the Reggae music industry. His infectious bass lines, guitar licks, percussion accents and powerful vocals make Clinton Fearon a living legend among reggae musicians and fans. Now living in Seattle he formed the Boogie Brown Band with whom he has recorded 7 albums. In 2016, the 65 year old Fearon released what he considers to be his best work to date, the magnificent This Morning with 13 brand new original songs.

2017: Tom Landa / The Paperboys

Tom Landa is the frontman of the Paperboys, Locarno and the BC World Music Collective.  The Paperboys is perhaps Landa’s best know and most popular band. They play Mexican Son Jarocho mixed in with Irish Jigs and Reels and a good dose of Country and Bluegrass. It has healthy servings of Ska, Soca and African Highlife and they’ve been known to throw in a little Reggae. Of course it also has strains of Soul, Pop and Funk although it is by no means a funk band. It is mostly acoustic although they also like electric guitars. It is Singer-Songwriter based but not the coffee house variety. It is definitely FOLK music, but not in the Kumbaya style. It has a deep respect and appreciation for tradition (Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Son) but it’s by no means traditional. It rocks incredibly hard and is extremely danceable, but that is not to say it can’t be mellow and slow and beautiful. It can be heart breaking, but also joyous. It is World Roots Music. It’s POP music. It is GOOD music. As Rock n Reel Magazine writes,  “It defies labeling, but hey, who cares, it is just brilliant music!”

Business Mentors

Technical input – Our Technical Director, Adrian Dolan (multi-instrumentalist, producer and sound/lighting engineer) has extensive experience in the technical world. He will give one session on developing your tech rider/stage plots/having appropriate gear for touring as well as working effectively with a sound technician, advice on where and when to record and how to prepare, etc.

Administrative input – Our Artistic Director, Dierdre Atkinson, will give a session on business steps towards career development which will include grant writing, applying to festivals and concert halls, promotional material, working with the media, etc.

Promotional material that works – Graphic Designer, John McLachlan, will give a session on how to know where to put your energy and resources in this potentially very expensive but necessary part of self promotion. How to get the most impact for the best price.

What to expect for your schedule

Please download the School schedule, subject to change.

Admission requirements – This is a program for emerging musicians. To apply, you must have:

  • Completed a high level of training on your instrument
  • Be intending to, or having recently launched a career as a touring musician.
  • Any portable instrument and vocalists/singer-songwriters

Application process for 2018:

At this time please just send an email expressing your interest. As the program takes shape we will require application forms along the lines below:

A two page letter of interest highlighting:

  1. What you would like to get out of this course?
  2. Your past experience in the music field
  3. Your intentions for making music your career
  4. What is your instrument?
  5. Musical sample, if possible (youtube link preferred, or other digital forms)

Course requirements

  • Willingness to work intensely for the duration of the practicum
  • A computer with initial efforts at promotional materials, tech rider and stage plots
  • Intention to build a career in the music industry


Thanks to the support of our funders, a good portion of this program is covered by scholarship in an effort to support BC’s best.

The following costs will be charged to students:

$400 for 4 days of instruction

$700 for accommodation and food costs (some scholarships may be available for this as well)

Total: $1100 – please inquire about additional subsidies that could apply on an individual basis.

All expresisons of interest for 2018 should be sent to Dierdre Atkinson, Artistic Director.  artisticdirector@hornbyfestival.bc.ca