I’ve just returned from the ESTA summer school and am so impressed with the quality of the presenters and the many insights that I have gained.

I had never come across Dalcroze in my teaching thus far and realise the far-reaching benefits that children can gain from doing these musical games when they are using their bodies to move and be creative. I was very interested that (for instance) it’s useful to introduce a rhythm using words and clapping before we show them what it looks like. I actually had a lesson today with an autistic girl and I tried this out on her. I clapped, she copied, I wrote it out and then she clapped it again whilst looking at what I’d written. There was a big smile on her face when she saw what her clapping looked like. Then she clapped a rhythm and I wrote it out. Then I clapped and she wrote it out perfectly right!! Brilliant! We also did some stamping of the pulse whilst I played along and she really enjoyed that.

Bojan was very hot on the beat being even right from the start and today I had a complete beginner (adult) for his very first lesson and I decided to talk a lot more than I normally would, about the pulse in music. I demonstrated the metronome with it’s different speeds and he had to clap along. I talked about the time signature, crotchets and rests all in the same first lesson. So when he was saying the note names on his first tune (open strings) I made him say their names in a beat to reinforce how they should be played. He did it really well.

So far so good and I’ve only done 2 lessons since the summer school.

Conducting isn’t something I do (formerly) as I teach individually but I am not amazed at how tricky the co-ordination is when you have to keep beating time and show dynamics with the other hand and bring instrumentalists in and know the score inside out, very impressive.

Paul Harris’ sightreading lecture was so useful. He explained about his simultaneous learning which was new to me and it’s amazing how imaginative and effective this teaching is and it affects the whole brain . Exploring and connecting the fundamental ingredients in music is something that is much more interesting for the student and I will definitely be reading his book and taking this further with my teaching – partly also because it makes it more interesting for me!

Huge thanks to the Nannie Jamieson and the Nutshell fund jointly with Pirastro for helping me with the cost of the course.

Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund