I really enjoyed the ESTA course this year. It is always an amazing time to get to know fellow teachers of a high quality and make new friends
There were many aspects of the course that I loved, but the one that has refreshed and reinvigorated my teaching the most was Dalcroze Eurhythmics which I had studied this at college and already used a little in my teaching. Getting in touch with the rhythm through my body was wonderful. I found Sian’s approach very clear, kind and easy to follow.C She put us all at our ease, whilst still challenging us to try things we thought we couldn’t manage. I have used this with my pupils a lot since the course, especially bouncing balls to find the bar time of pieces. We have often sung our pieces whilst bouncing the ball. They love it and their rhythm and sense of pulse have improved markedly. This has also helped us to sing far more in our lessons.
In the sessions with Bojan singing was also encouraged. In these we used a lot of Kodaly, again something I had studied at college. This is such a great way of developing the inner ears of my pupils. Several of the books I use have some solfege in them and in the past, I would sometimes shy away from these tunes, but not now. My pupils are really enjoying the challenge of singing better too.
I thoroughly enjoyed the folk aspects of Bojan’s classes. The pieces he chose were really challenging and often we had to learn them by ear. Because he was also a classical soloist his principals of technique were very grounded but it was exciting to try them out in a different style of music.
The sessions I enjoyed less were with Ted. Although I learned some new things I found his style quite patronising and did not agree with many of his ideas on technique. I also found the musical material he used often did not properly exploit the techniques he was trying to teach.
I really enjoyed the talk on performance anxiety, but did not rate the one of sight reading as I did not feel it considered how anxiety can affect pupils sight reading in exams. However, his session did remind me about “simultaneous learning” and I have been using this a great deal more in my teaching. The conducting sessions were great fun and he was a wonderful speaker.
The concerts are always great and playing and hearing live music always reminds why I love music so much and how important it is to pass this on to our pupils.
Thank you so much for the funding for this summer school, as you can see I feel I have gained any awful lot.