ESTA Summer School 2017: Kate Skeet

/ESTA Summer School 2017: Kate Skeet

I am very grateful to the Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund and corporate sponsor, Stentor, for enabling me to attend my first (hopefully not last) ESTA Summer School. There are many challenges in taking time away from family in holidays, and having the financial aspect relieved made it a lot easier.

A couple of weeks on from the course, the themes that have stayed with me are musicality and pulse/ rhythm. From the early morning Daily Dalcroze sessions (waking up to Nina Simone is a definite recommendation), to the evening concerts, which I felt genuinely privileged to attend, through all the different tutors and presentations, a continuing pulse and feeling of phrase was a constant factor. I’ve downloaded two new apps thanks to the recommendations of Bojan which I hope will add fun challenges to scales and general practising, and am glad to add more new repertoire from Kathy & David Blackwell to my school string orchestra collection.

For technical aspects of teaching, it was great to see both the regular upper strings tutors, Bojan Cvetreznik (with the quiet support of Barja) & Ted Wilson, attending each other’s sessions, adding to the feeling of a community of learning musicians. Despite the differences in their approaches, Ted’s clearly tried & tested on decades of successful teaching, and Bojan’s more experimental approach, drawing on jazz, folk and pop influences, a commitment to good technique was crucial to both. A helpful idea from these sessions was to explore the extremes of hand position/ bow alignment/ violin hold so that the best sound and most efficient and healthy technique can be found by the pupils themselves.

On the subject of extremes, the Tango sessions with Caroline Pearsall proved to be a great musical icebreaker as we found ourselves doubling as percussionists, exploring parts of our instrument that we usually discourage our pupils from using, eg behind the bridge, the back of the instrument, extreme glissandi etc. Now I just need to think of a way of using some of these effects with pupils without a whole group lesson descending into squeaky chaos!

A report on the Summer School can’t be complete without a mention of the whole ESTA team. Sheila & Julia in particular kept everything running smoothly from registration to packing up, including setting & resetting rooms and being splendid bartenders and party hosts. And of course, all the other Summer School students whose collaborative wisdom over coffee breaks and lunchtimes added to and clarified points from the sessions with experiences from their own teaching. I hope to be back to meet these new friends & colleagues again next year if possible.


Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund
2018-12-19T14:59:45+00:00September 28th, 2017|