Frequently Asked Questions
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. Discounts are given for pre-formed ensembles. Or expand your current experiences by working with others, in a new ensemble, and learning a great choice of repertoire which we will choose according to your own abilities and previous experience.
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.
What do we do between the end of the course and the concert? If you live close enough to the venue to return home, before the concert, then we recommend doing this, and giving your child a little time to freshen up, returning at 5.40 to get their instrument tuned up. If it is not possible to return home (if you live too far away) then there will be staff present on the site. This time will not be structured time, though as the staff will be setting up for the concert, but it could be possible by prior arrangement for a small number of pupils to remain on-site in between the rehearsal and concert. Another option would be for parents or carer to bring a packed tea and they can stay with the pupil(s) on site and have some time to have some refreshments and a bit of a quiet time before the concert.
Are parents able to come to the concert? Yes, we will welcome families to the concert, and the performance hall is big enough that we can seat families in suitably distanced arrangements, according to current guidelines. We will need to know in advance how many people are coming to the concert in any family group. The concert will also be filmed and for those who give permission to be filmed, their performances can also be sent out to parents.
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.