from beginners to advanced
We normally begin each day with a workshop session. These sessions are interactive and generally focus on technique. No preparation is needed, and everyone is given the chance to try out new ideas in front of the group.
For anything more tricky, the Course Director will often demonstrate a particular topic, then give everyone the chance to practice private to practice what is being demonstrated on one of the seven grand pianos in the adjoining practice rooms.
Masterclasses are normally held in the afternoon and are normally focused on repertoire and performance.
Each student gets the chance to play in front of the group, discuss their repertoire and build up confidence to perform. The discussion might involve the interpretation of their piece, or a trouble shooting session for a section which is particularly tricky.
For intermediate courses, it is really useful to bring a piece that you’ve started, or used to play well. If you’re a bit rusty, that’s absolutely fine – in addition to the Masterclass sessions, there is plenty of time to practice privately throughout the day, and plenty of guidance on hand from the Course Director throughout.
Duets are enormous fun and we try to organise at least one session per weekend course, and several sessions for mid week courses.
As well as offering a bit of light relief from technique and repertoire, playing duets does wonders for your sightreading. It also gives you the chance to play alongside someone else of different ability – if your partner is better than you, you’ll get the satisfaction of playing something really impressive and if you’re more advanced, you might have to hold it together whilst your partner gets the hang of it.
Either way, duets are a highlight of the course and as well as causing a lot of laughter, really help build general musicianship and performance confidence.
There’s plenty of opportunity to brush up your pieces and technique between the Workshop and Masterclass sessions.
There’s normally an hour in the morning, and two to three hours in the afternoon. All of our practice rooms have grand pianos and they surround the main seminar area of our wonderful 18th century vaulted cellar. Unlike practicing at home, the practice process is very sociable – coffee and cake are served regularly and there’s plenty of time to chat with your fellow students.
The vaults are fabulous acoustically, and the chance to play a range of different grand pianos offers the chance to pick a piano based on your repertoire. The Grotrian Steinweg is good for Bach, the barless Broadwood is wonderful for Beethoven (in fact he had one exactly like ours) and the Bluthner is a delight for all things Romantic.