I hope this message finds you well and that you and your families are staying safe and healthy in these unprecedented times. As summer approaches, I have begun to get a lot of questions about whether or not Brass Camp 2020 would be occurring. After exploring all possibilities, it is with a heavy heart that I announce Brass Camp is CANCELLED for 2020. I had been waiting to make this decision for as long as possible in the hopes that the pandemic situation would improve, but it is now clear to me that the best thing to do is to cancel Brass Camp for this year. 

I know this comes as a great disappointment to many of you. I myself was very much looking forward to this summer of Brass Camp, as I was excited about the music, the prospect of recruiting more heavily to get larger ensembles, and more. However, I am sure that this is the best decision to keep our students and staff safe. 

In lieu of full group instruction, please be aware that myself and Miss Tori Cotter will be offering virtual private lessons. While I can't speak for Miss Cotter, I have had much success teaching lessons online via Zoom, and I'm actually holding a virtual studio recital this Friday via Zoom that all my students will perform in. If you want to check that out , you can do so HERE. To reach out and inquire about the possibility of virtual private lessons, please contact me and Miss Cotter at the email addresses below:

Michael Buckstein:

Tori Cotter:

Please be aware that we have every intention of returning for Brass Camp 2021 next summer! While details for that are scarce, I CAN announce that anyone in the Class of 2020 will be welcome to return and participate in Brass Camp 2021 since they have lost out on that experience this year.

Thank you for your patience and understanding regarding this decision. This was not an easy decision, but I truly feel that this decision is the best decision under the current circumstances. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I eagerly await Brass Camp 2021, where we can all experience the joys of making music together once more.

Stay Well,

Michael Buckstein

Executive Director - Brass Camp



Brass Camp is a summer ensemble made entirely of Pittsburgh-area student brass musicians open to 5th through 12th graders.  The group was conceived as an opportunity for these musicians to perform in a unique, fun ensemble during the summer months, supplementing what they had learned in their school's instrumental program. Age appropriate music is chosen that corresponds with a given theme, and is specifically arranged for the group to provide an appropriate challenge for all students, no matter their level of experience. Individual musicianship as well as the willingness and ability to perform with others are utilized.  Rehearsals are held on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer, and the camp culminates in a public performance.

Brass Camp is proudly sponsored by Johnstonbaugh's Music Centers!

Photos are provided courtesy of Harry Bloomberg, official photographer of the Pitt Band!



  • To create a fun and safe environment for brass students to learn the skills of playing their instruments while performing in a unique ensemble.

  • To supplement the skills students are learning in their school band programs.

  • To provide each student with a new tangible skill(s) that they can take with them to school in the fall.

  • To teach students the skill of making music with others.

  • To teach students the value of hard work and the benefits of overcoming obstacles.

  • To encourage each student's love of music so that they may reach their maximum potential on their instrument while discovering that music is a life skill.


Is there a registration deadline?


How do I know which ensemble my child is in?

Students are placed in an ensemble based on what grade they will be in for the 2020-2021 school year:

Junior High: Grades 5-8
Senior High: Grades 9-12, & Class of 2020

My child is in advanced ensembles at his school.  Can he/she move up into the senior high ensemble?

All students will play in the ensemble that is for their grade, with no exceptions to be made.  This is to ensure that ALL ensembles sound as good as they possibly can sound!

Students are placed in an ensemble based on what grade they will be in for the 2020-2021 school year:

Junior High: Grades 5-8
Senior High: Grades 9-12, & Class of 2020.

What is a brass instrument?

A brass instrument would be one of any of the following: trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, French horn, alto horn, mellophone, baritone, euphonium, trombone, bass trombone, or tuba.

My student doesn’t play a brass instrument, can he or she still participate?

Unfortunately, the music performed by the Brass Camp has been custom arranged for brass instruments only, so students who play woodwind or string instruments are not able to participate.  Check with your school's band director to see if they provide anything.  If not, the PYPO Summer Camp is a great option for all instrumentalists!

My student just started at the beginning of last school year. Can he or she still participate?

Yes, absolutely!  The Brass Camp is designed for students going into 5th grade and older, as long as they have been taking lessons on their instrument for the majority of the school year.  The music is custom arranged with these “beginner” students in mind.  If you think your child may need some more help on their music, please let Michael know.

My student is going to start playing an instrument this summer.  Can he or she participate?

Unfortunately, this unique ensemble experience is designed for students who have achieved a certain level of competency on their instruments, normally occurring after a full year of instruction.  A student who is just starting out now will not appreciate the benefits that Brass Camp would have to offer, and may even grow frustrated at the experience!  To ensure that this does not happen, Brass Camp is restricted to those students who have had a full school year of instruction on their instrument…but don’t worry, we’ll be back next year!  

Is there a cost for Brass Camp?

The cost for Brass Camp this year is $60.00, which must be paid in full before the first rehearsal.  For this low price, you receive: Five rehearsals, concert, guest clinician workshop, custom arranged music, and a commemorative poster.

How do I pay for Brass Camp?

The cost for Brass Camp is $60.00 and is paid directly to Michael Buckstein. Cash and check are both accepted, with check being the preferred method of payment. 

*NEW FOR 2020* Are there any discounts on Brass Camp registration I can get?

Did you participate in Brass Camp 2019? If you are a returning Brass Camp 2019 member, you are eligible for a referral discount. For every friend that you bring who's never been to Brass Camp before, you will get $10 off your registration! That means if you bring 6 friends, you could potentially attend Brass Camp 2020 completely free of charge. To receive this discount, you must indicate on your registration form the name(s) of the friend that you are bringing, and they must mention your name on their registration form(s) as the person who referred them. 

Is there a discount for siblings?

Due to the registration price being so low to ensure that all students are able to participate in the Brass Camp, there is no further discount for siblings.

When and where are rehearsals? 

Rehearsals for Brass Camp 2020 will be held at Bethany Presbyterian Church. The Junior High Ensemble will rehearse from 1-2:30 pm and the Senior High Ensemble will rehearse from 3-5 pm. The address for Bethany Presbyterian Church is: 740 Washington Ave. Bridgeville, PA 15017

When and where is the concert? Is there a charge for the concert?


Why do I need to fill out a medical form?

While your child will only be in our care for a brief period of time once a week, it is best that we are prepared for any medical emergency that may take place, and having a medical form on hand helps in case something were to happen.  All information will be reviewed by the director and kept private, only to be used in the event of an emergency.  If you questions or concerns regarding this, please contact Michael. 

I filled out a medical form last year, do I still need to fill one out?

To maintain your privacy, the medical forms are destroyed at the culmination of each Brass Camp; therefore, yes, you will need to fill out a new form.

Who are the clinicians this year?

The guest clinicians this year will be the Pittsburgh Trombone Project. The Pittsburgh Trombone Project is now in its 9th year and quickly becoming recognized as one of America's leading chamber ensembles. This trombone quartet has performed its diverse repertoire to audiences of all ages and at various venues throughout the country. The members of the “Project” are four of the leading freelance trombonists in the Pittsburgh music scene: Kevin M. McManus, Bob Matchett, James Nova and Chris Carson. The group is committed to raising the profile of the trombone as a chamber music instrument by demonstrating its versatility as a classical, jazz and pop music instrument. Through writing its own arrangements and commissioning new works, the Pittsburgh Trombone Project has expanded the boundaries of the trombone quartet and widened its appeal to an ever increasing audience. The group has given recitals and masterclasses at Penn State University, Slippery Rock University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), West Virginia University, Westminster College and Seton Hill University.  Twice a year, The Pittsburgh Trombone Project hosts "Trombone Sunday" at Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, PA. Always excited to promote music education, the PTP is active in delivering workshops and clinics to students of all ages and abilities from college music majors to elementary aged students. Members of the group have degrees in music and have attended some of the finest music schools in the United States. Members have also performed and recorded with some of the biggest entertainers and performers throughout the world. To learn more about the Pittsburgh Trombone Project, visit their website HERE.

I live far away from Bethany Presbyterian Church. What can I do while my student is in rehearsal?

There are many ways to pass the time. Grab a bite to eat at many local restaurants located within minutes of Bethany, such as Chipotle, Texas Roadhouse, or Burgh's Pizza and Wing Pub. You can also do your weekly grocery shopping at the Giant Eagle just down the road. 

Our family is going on vacation in July. Can I still participate in Brass Camp?

Yes! We understand that July is a common time for family vacations. When you register, simply indicate which date will be missed due to a family vacation or other obligation. This is no issue if it is a one time thing. If a student needs to miss 2 or more weeks of Brass Camp, that situation will need to be discussed with the director. 

What do I need for a typical Brass Camp rehearsal? 

For a typical rehearsal, all participants will need their music, instrument, a pencil, and a music stand. Music must be printed out at home! Our rehearsal space does not have stands, so everyone will need to provide their own stands. Folders and pencils will be provided, courtesy of Johnstonbaugh's Music Centers!

Is your question still not answered?  Please e-mail Michael at!



Executive Director

Michael Buckstein is an educator and performer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, at which he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and a Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology. Michael is also a graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), at which he earned a Bachelors of Science in Education Degree in Music Education. His primary teachers include Karl Priore (Pitt) and Dr. Kevin Eisensmith (IUP). Michael has a wealth of experience in the brass idiom, and has performed with various brass groups, including the Allegheny Brass Band, the IUP Legacy Brass Quintet, and the Plum Brass Quintet. He also maintains a private lesson studio where he gives lessons on trumpet and horn. For the past 3 years, Michael has worked as Assistant Band Director at Plum High School, where he works with the marching band and coaches chamber music ensembles. For a complete bio, click here.


Assistant Director

Tori Cotter is in her second year of being an assistant director of Brass Camp. She began her Brass Camp career as a student in the very first Brass Camp, which was held back in 2012. Tori graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2018 with her Bachelor’s degree in music education, trumpet concentration. During her time at IUP she participated in many ensembles including Symphony Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Ensemble where she held principal chairs during her sophomore, junior, and senior years. She has performed internationally in selective trumpet ensembles in 2016 & 2017. Tori now teaches elementary band and orchestra in the Ringgold school district, performs in the Perfect Fifth Brass Quintet, and teaches lessons within her private studio.


Assistant Director

Noah Kilgus is currently a student at Duquesne University entering his sophomore year of Duquesne's Music Education program. A graduate of South Fayette High School, Noah has been active throughout the South Hills region, participating in scholastic, interscholastic, and community-based music ensembles. Additionally, he has been a participant in every year of Brass Camp since its inception in 2012. Noah has been the student director of the Brass Camp Junior High Ensemble for the past three years .






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