Construction began on the Finchcocks cellars in the late 17th century and its arched brickwork and intricate vaulted design are a feat of early georgian engineering. They were said to have been so strongly constructed that they delayed the construction of the house by several years, with the clay from the bricks being extracted from beneath the Finchcocks estate and fired on site in a kiln (which can still be seen in the woods to the south of the house).
Today, the cellars are the epicentre of our piano courses. The large central atrium houses our 7’6″ Grotrian Steinweg, which is used for for the workshop sessions and masterclasses. At the other end of the room, we have a relaxed seating area where coffee is served throughout the day.
Around the central atrium we have 6 practice rooms, each of them containing one of our grand pianos.
The vaults feel like they were built to accommodate a grand piano, and the acoustics are spectacular. Each vault is fitted with a specially designed glass door that decreases noise transmission from the other practice rooms to a minimum, but unlike practising at home, the process at Finchcocks is sociable and highly collaborative.
In between sessions at the piano, the chance to share your challenges, frustrations and triumphs with the group over a cup of tea and some homemade cake is a wonderful way of making sure that the process of learning remains enjoyable. There’s a wonderful buzz about the place when practising is in full swing and the chance to try out a different piano every time you play.
During the practise sessions, our course director can normally be found rotating round each of the vaults, offering advice and tips both in terms of repertoire and technique in between masterclasses and workshops.
In the evenings, our course director will normally give a lecture or recital lasting about an hour.
This is a chance for everyone on the course to relax and be inspired. No audience participation is required, and it is a wonderful uplifting way to end the day.
After the evening seminar, we all head over the Coach House for dinner.