Dear JDCMF and Thomastik-Infeld Vienna

I would like to say a big thank you for sponsoring me on a full Bursary to attend the Arpeggione Residential course from the 8th to 12th of April 2018 and ending with a concert in London on 14th of April.

I was opportune to learn about this course from my Viola teacher last year and had just qualified for it as well, but due to my family circumstances I could not attend then. As the time for the course drew near again this year, I began to feel anxious that I would miss it again, but thanks to your sponsorship that will not be the case. I’m really grateful to you for that.

I am writing to say a huge thank you for coming to our aid. I am eagerly looking forward to the course. I have done some Chamber music courses with Ms. Jacky Woods recently so I know this is a wonderful opportunity to help me move my Chamber Music experience to an even higher level.

I look forward to having a wonderful time on the course, as this will be the first time I’ll be away on a musical course with only musicians and working on music for that length of time.

I want to say thank you again and I will write to update you on how I fared on the course.

Yours sincerely


And after:

Thank you to Thomastik Infeld –Vienna for the bursary you provided through the JDCMF. My heartfelt gratitude goes to you for the sponsorship I enjoyed, you are the reason I was able to attend and participate in this outstanding course by providing me with the bursary. I am truly thankful.


The Arpeggione Intermediate course is designed to encourage young viola players to aspire and reach greate heights of their musical careers by learning and playing unfamiliar pieces within a short period of four days. This is why I had always wanted to attend and be a part of this great development. During rehearsals, everyone was completely focused on the task at hand and the teachers were very helpful; putting in fingerings for us to make it easier, helping us in every area we were struggling with encouragement and expertise. With each rehearsal the quality of the piece improved more and more. The atmosphere was electrified with the sound of viola music from all sides, there were several groups of both orchestral and chamber music but I will focus mainly on the chamber aspects I participated in on the course.


One of the Chamber groups I played with played Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square: My position was viola 5 in this arrangement. This was a pleasant tune that can be classed as modern, I enjoyed learning and playing it, but a challenge I faced was having to play a section in half position. The main difficulty with this task was that it was quite hard to get the fingerings in tune and there were a few times where I slipped up but I eventually overcame this hardship by continuous practice and being surrounded by excellent violists, I got a lot of assistance.


I was also part of a string quartet that played Pieds-en-L’air. I was viola 2 in this classical piece. The group worked well together, but as with any new experience, there were challenges, for example as a group we sometimes struggled to stay in time with each other, but once again these challenges were eventually dealt with as we were given tips from the various instructors that helped us.


There were lessons learned from this experience and to mention a few:

One important lesson learned is that every part is important, be it viola 5 or viola 6 it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are any less important member of the group. This is because you might have the bass line that is always essential to a chamber group.


Secondly, I learnt that communication is key to a good performance. By communication I mean being able to signal other members of the group when to come in or when something crucial to the piece is coming up. Having a technique to do that is very important especially since chamber groups have no conductor in these performances.


Lastly, you always have to look at whoever is leading you in. The leader is very important because without them we don’t know when to come in. So always keep an eye on the leader or else it won’t work.


Thank you so much.

Nathan (11)

Joan Dickson Chamber Music Fund