I would like to thank ESTA Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund and sponsor Thomastik-Infeld Vienna for the enhanced bursary I received for both the ESTA Summer School and PGCert (String Teaching).
The whole Summer School was an enriching and thought-provoking experience. I especially enjoyed the Tango sessions with Caroline Pearsall where we had the opportunity to perform in a string ensemble and learn some of the techniques used in tango. This playing style was completely new to me and made me think about how our pupils might feel when learning something for the first time. I have introduced some of these techniques in my lessons and children love exploring new sounds and possibilities on the instrument. The session with Kathy and David Blackwell was very inspiring. Kathy and David highlighted the importance of establishing good routines to learn technique from the very beginning and the use of pictures and imagination when teaching. It gave me a lot of ideas of exercises and games to practise together with the book ‘Fiddle Time Starters’ (my pupils especially love the ‘Bow Hold Rap’). Conducting with Gavin Sutherland was incredibly helpful to improve my confidence working with large ensembles. We learnt some foundations of music conducting and had great fun putting it into practice with the group of colleagues.
The specific PGC sessions, which took place at the same time as the Summer School, were exceptionally relevant to me. The focus was on teaching technique for bowed string instruments and it included a general view of the whole instrument’s technique from the basics of bow holding and body posture to more advanced techniques such as vibrato, double-stops and harmonics. We had the opportunity to observe actual lessons delivered directly from the outstanding panel of mentors and exchange ideas with the rest of colleagues. The Simultaneous Learning session with Paul Harris gave me food for thought and reminded me of the importance of our job as music educators. I found very interesting his reflections about the use we make of language when teaching in order to create a positive mind-set and how to encourage positive practice at home, which I will definitely implement in my lessons. Overall, I must say that the PGC course is being really helpful and is allowing me to improve my teaching further through self-reflection and sharing ideas with a brilliant team of mentors and colleagues.
But apart from the lessons, I would not like to finish without mentioning how positive I found the general environment at the Summer School: The chats between classes with other colleagues sharing experiences and advice, meeting new people from different parts of the country and abroad and the great accommodation and infrastructure of the University of Chichester which really made a difference.
Once more, thank you ESTA Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund and Thomastik-Infeld Vienna for this amazing experience.