Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Sydenham? 
Sydenham is situated in South East London, close to Dulwich and Crystal Palace. Trains run on the East London Line to Sydenham, connecting up with Central London at Whitechapel, Canada Water and Highbury and Islington. You can also reach Sydenham from London Bridge, Clapham Junction or Victoria.

My child is grade 8, will it be challenging enough?
YES! There is music to suit all abilities, and we especially love to coach groups who are able to play really advanced repertoire. Why not come along to the course as a pre-formed ensemble, with friends from school or a music service, or junior conservatoire, so that you will know the others who you are playing with and know that they will be equal ability to you. You could benefit from extra coaching time by coming for the whole day, as some advanced pre-formed ensembles have done. Discounts are given for pre-formed ensembles, and those who come for both morning and afternoon sessions. This could be a chance to really get a fantastic chamber music experience for you and your colleagues.

My child is about to take grade 5, should she be on the senior course or the junior course?
If your child is still young (primary school age) you might find that there are more people of similar age on the junior course, and they might prefer to be with pupils of similar ages. Similarly if your child is at secondary school, they might find prefer to be on the senior course, with pupils of similar age. I always make sure that what ever repertoire they are learning is appropriate for their ability.

My child is 16, and doesn’t think a holiday course is what he wants to do this summer, will he still find it fun?
One of the main reasons that I became a professional musician was because it was such fun. I attended many summer courses when I was young, and I have tried to combine the best elements of each, to mix in as much fun as possible, to go alongside the hard work.

Students get different things out of the course at different stages of their career. A younger student will have a wonderful time, experiencing for themselves (probably for the first time) the delights of playing chamber music, and how much they can achieve in a very short space of time. Older pupils will get to play much more advanced repertoire – previous years courses have included Dohnanyi’s serenade for string trio, Borodin’s piano quintet, Brahm’s sextet in B flat Major, Schubert’s cello quintet and a Mendelssohn piano trio. Opportunities like this to play such wonderful repertoire, are rare. Every pupil works hard, but combined with the fun of meeting new friends, the pupils all seem to thrive on the challenge.

My daughter has not yet done grade 1 will she be ready?
If she is a good sightreader and is confident with playing in a few different keys, then she will be fine. The coaches are always very understanding and helpful, and we always make sure that pupils are put in appropriate groups with other pupils of similar ages and abilities.

 I have one child on the junior course, and one on the senior course, this will make a lot of travelling for pick -up and drop off, what should we do?
There are babysitters working at the course, mostly looking after the children of some of the tutors on the course. Sometimes pupils who have got an older  sibling on the course also have stayed on and had fun with the babysitters in the afternoon while their brother or sister is on the advanced course. Advanced pupils who might need to come for the whole day are very welcome to come and help out in the morning, with the junior orchestra, and doing a bit of admin assistance such as photocopying and taking registers etc.

How do we apply for scholarships?
If you do need assistance to attend, we will always do what we can to help. We would be very happy to hear from you and will  do what we can to help with the fees. Scholarships are offered on a discretionary basis according to need. Whilst we do a lot of fundraising throughout the year, to enable a scholarship fund to exist, please do inquire also with your school first to see if they can offer any financial assistance. Many schools do offer such help to enhance a student’s interest in music or sport, outside of term time.

What parking facilities are there at Sydenham High School?
There is free parking on the near-by residential roads.

What are the best transport facilities?
Sydenham rail station has connections to London Bridge, Clapham Junction and London Victoria mainline stations, and the East London line connects up to the tube network at Canada Water, Whitechapel and Highbury and Islington. This makes it very accessible for students from across London. The fast train from London Victoria on the Bromley lines goes to Penge East and then a number 227 bus can be taken to close by the school. Other buses which run close-by from Central London are 176, and 3 and from Elephant and Castle no. 363.