I would like to thank the ESTA bursary committee for kindly awarding me the JDCMF bursary with a special thank you to my sponsor, Thomastik Infeld – Vienna.
I am incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to take part in the Intermediate Arpeggione course. I am really looking forward to going on this course, meeting new people and gaining experience to further developing my viola playing and overall performance skills.
I have not been on a residential music course before, so I am super excited to take part in this one.
Thanks to Thomastik Infeld-Vienna and JDCMF, I was given the wonderful opportunity to attend the Arpeggione Intermediate viola residential course in Milden Hall, a really beautiful place in Suffolk. It was brilliant! As this was the first time I had taken part in something like this, I was a bit nervous on the first day, but the staff and friendly children were incredibly welcoming and I was soon made to feel at home.
On the first night, I was very tired because it was the longest time I had ever played the viola in one day. Most of the girls slept in the barn, but 8 of us were in the bunkhouse where we shared a pretty spacious room.
I played in two chamber groups and the orchestra. Arpeggione also gave me my first experience in leading my chamber A quartet where I was viola 1. We played ‘Pieds en l’air’ from the ‘Capriol Suite’ Peter Warlock. I quite liked this piece of music because of its light and dreamy character. The tutors were very encouraging and supportive of us. The individual practice was very helpful for me because we all had to be in the same room and this made me listen more closely to everyone else’s parts. In chamber B we played Gershwin’s ‘Bess you is my woman’, which I thought was very nice.
After watching one of my room-mates practise endlessly to perfect the challenging Hummel solo, I became more inspired to practise more. The masterclasses was most beneficial to me. My masterclass, I think, transformed my piece – it sounded lovely by the end of the lesson. I was truly challenged on this course particularly with my sight reading, which has greatly improved since then.
Everyone became very competitive over the Easter egg hunt and we had so much fun! We even got extra eggs at the end. Arts and crafts were also very entertaining; we made lampshades out of sheets of coloured tissue paper and LED lights. They looked great all lit up together in the barn.
My favourite orchestra piece was the pop song by Laura Mvula called ‘That’s alright’ that was very well arranged for the viola. This was the most interesting piece of music to play especially because we used bamboo sticks over the strings for the percussion and did an adlib in the middle.
I would like to thank everyone involved for this experience, especially my sponsor, Thomastik Infeld-Vienna. I thoroughly enjoyed the course.