I want to give a big thank you to The Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund and Universal Edition for the much appreciated bursary which allowed me to participate in this ESTA Summer School course.
I am a violin teacher and performer, and this year I participated in ESTA Summer School 2017 in Chichester for string teachers. It was a very enjoyable experience and I learned many things that I am now going to apply in my own performance and teaching.
All the sessions gave me something to take away and I immediately knew how it would help me. In the Upper Strings by Bojan Cvetreznik an idea was presented, to ask the pupils to make a short video of how they practice, maybe a certain technique or a piece, which would allow me to see if they understood what they were asked to do. I liked this thought as I am always concerned if my explanation was understood and if the pupil will know what to do at home once I am not there to help. I will definitely try this out if I see someone struggling even after a few lessons of trying. Also, I liked the concept of giving a new exercise card after each lesson to take home, rather than overwhelm them with too many things to do.
‘Manage your Performance Nerves’ by Charlotte Tomlinson was a very helpful session which I took to heart, as I myself do struggle with a stage fright. The symptoms, whether the mind going blank, hands sweaty or cold, body trembling are something that happens to all of us, to some more than others. Charlotte gave advice of possible ways to control them, such as to stop criticising ourselves and try to become an objective observer which is something we have to be for our students as well, so as not to make them start criticising themselves.
The Conducting class given by Gavin Sutherland gave me the opportunity to try conducting, which I haven’t done before and the technical aspect of how it works was explained in a very easy and understandable format in the class before the practical one. Although I was unsure if I would be able to do it, I started to relax and listen to the music the group was making and I realised that I could do it. It will take a few practices to get used to looking at and listening to the music, as well as conducting, but this is something that many schools want from the teachers so I found this class very beneficial for my future and I enjoyed it lots!
These are just a few things I learned from particular classes. All the other sessions gave me many other ideas to take and apply to my teaching such as sight reading, upper strings techniques and many more. The whole music school experience was very interesting and exceptional. The evening concerts gave an opportunity to hear some brilliant performers… David Le Page, Julia Wagner and James Halsey, Bojan Cvetreznik and the Terrafolk.