ESTA Summer School 2018 Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund Bursary Report Melanie Rose
I would like to thank ESTA Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund Bursary sponsored by Pirastro for aiding me to attend another fantastic ESTA Summer School in Chichester University, without their generous sponsorship I would not have been able to attend this worthwhile course.
Already after just a couple of days rest over the weekend after I returned home, I am running out of time to try and fit in all the ideas and new approaches to both my own practise plus teaching because there were so many. Just this morning, I showed one pupil a new exercise as a warm-up courtesy of the Upper Strings Pedagogy Teacher Louis Pantillon which was ‘The Dolphin’. This is used to get the shaping of the right-hand for bowing and also loosens up the right-arm without children realising because it uses fun imaginative play.
We had access to try and learn from teaching materials both new e.g. ‘Vamoosh’ series by Thomas Gregory (of whom we got to meet and learn from in person) and old such as Geminiani all of which some are familiar and others a fresh insight that I wasn’t aware of before. But it wasn’t just books that were the main focus, this year I had the opportunity to learn from Luthiers about the process of making a Violin and its maintenance. This is something I have always wanted to learn about and
Cardiff Violins gave a very good demonstration about this topic plus stayed on throughout the week to answer questions and look over our instruments should we require their services.
The body as a whole should not be ignored and thanks to ESTA’s modern outlook they had many examples as to, like our instruments maintain and gain a better understanding of the physical playing process in many different ways during the Summer School. This started every morning with Alexander Technique sessions which had a good sense of kinaesthetic learning that involved tapping into your inhibition by lying on the floor to become aware of your body’s movements. I was grateful for these sessions that reminded me of my own previous group/private Alexander Technique lessons. This loosened me up each day for a fun-packed daily schedule.
Later on, in the week we had a focus on Hand injuries that looked into the fine motor skills that are so important for String playing. Any new exercise that I can incorporate into my daily playing and that I can pass onto my pupils is of great benefit. But when concerning the body, we should not neglect the mind so I was very much looking forward to the Psychology of Performance Presentation. I particularly find comparisons with other performing arts and sports very interesting
and with any demanding task the principles as we learnt from Mike Cunningham are the same. As an adult who is having lessons on my Violin and my new less familiar instrument the Drum kit, I can understand how the pupil (particularly children) want to aim to please their teacher, peers and family when it comes to performance or their standard in lessons. Louis taught me a vital piece of information regarding this that Communication is only 7 percent Verbal, very much the rest is based
on body language so even a simple smile to your pupil at the end of the lesson can make all the difference. This can easily be incorporated into other aspects of daily living as well.
Lastly, as the great Alexsey Igudesman or A.K.A The Dancing Violinist taught us in his fun, active workshop; some cultures do not have a particular word for ‘work’. Even the smallest of chores are turned into a game and that is what sums up this week. Every moment was pure joy and I look forward to having this kind of work-ethic to spread to others.