ESTA Summer School 2018: Kate Skeet

/ESTA Summer School 2018: Kate Skeet

Summer School Report 2018 – Kate Skeet

Thanks to the ESTA Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund Bursary sponsored by Hidersine, I was delighted to be able to attend the ESTA Summer School for a second time. The sponsorship makes it possible for me to take a week for myself out of family holiday time and prepare for the next academic year of teaching.

This year, the main idea that I hope to apply to my teaching practice is that of preparing pupils for advanced techniques right from the start of their musical journey. Although a good set up for pupils has always been important to me, it can feel hard to achieve, especially in group teaching, so it was great to experience the exercises used by Helen Dromey and Sarah Crooks, inspired in turn by the work of Mimi Zweig and by Dalcroze exercises. Using simple and enjoyable activities, techniques such as shifting, harmonics and even vibrato can start to be prepared from the very first lesson. Some of these exercises were also evident in Louis Pantillon’s sessions, and it was refreshing to hear that even his pupils in Switzerland have weeks when they don’t practise, or forget to loosen their bows (as we learned during his entertaining demonstration of making a ‘pinky house’ from tape)!
Musical understanding was stressed by a number of the presenters. Even if our pupils stop playing a stringed instrument, much of what they learn can be transferred to another instrument, or even to their general appreciation of music.
Another theme which emerged from Louis’ sessions was the importance of the teacher’s own personality. His ‘quotes of the day’ and his reminders for us to smile at our pupils kept us smiling, and therefore, probably learning!
It was great to have Cardiff Violins on site for the whole week, even if they, along with the trade stands, provided a great temptation to spend money. After their session on instrument repairs and maintenance, I will be adding a small bar of soap to my kit – it seems to cure most problems with pegs, strings and adjusters!
Although I was initially disappointed at the cancellation of the Dalcroze session, I was delighted that it was replaced by a session from James Halsey for non-cellists who find themselves helping or indeed teaching cellists. I learned a huge amount from this session and feel much more confident setting up my young cellists this year.
One of the joys of a residential course is the support outside of the official sessions. Tutors made themselves available for extra sessions with small groups or individuals, Rosamund Hoskins offered one to one Alexander Technique lessons, and post-concert discussions over a drink or two in Sheila and Julia’s excellent bar cemented some great international
friendships.

Once again, I feel I learned something new from all the tutors whilst enjoying the great facilities and food of Chichester University and I hope to return next year.


Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund
2018-12-14T15:02:47+00:00October 17th, 2018|