ESTA Summer School 2019 Bursary Report Sally Riddex


Having worked as a cello teacher for 20 years I was beginning to feel that my teaching needed rejuvenating. I was therefore delighted to be awarded a Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Bursary sponsored by Hidersine as without it I would have been unable to attend the ESTA summer school.

Steve Bingham’s session and concert gave me ideas of how to use technology in my teaching. I was really inspired by the beautiful effects that he created by “looping” on his electric violin. I immediately downloaded an app which can perform this function and am looking forward to trying this out with my pupils. It could be of particular benefit for pupils who struggle with music reading.

It was really interesting to learn about the world of American traditional music and how it can be improvised on from Mark and Maggie O’Connor. Their evening concert was full of energy and it was amazing to watch the speed at which Mark’s fingers moved. I hope to incorporate some of these songs into my teaching and to be able to develop these, as explained by Mark, by adding bass lines and changing rhythms.

The final concert of the week was a mesmerizing performance by the Artesian Quartet of Barber’s String Quartet and Dvorak’s American Quartet. They played with incredible vigour and enthusiasm.

Lucy Hare’s sessions “Proud to Practise” and “The Magic of Making Mistakes” and Paul Harris’s session ”Getting the best from your pupils” were insightful and encouraged me to think about things in a different way. Sarah Upjohn taught us about anatomy and how to prevent our pupils from injuring themselves – a very important topic!

The highlight of the week for me was the daily classes with Joanne Erwin who introduced us to her methods of teaching beginners. This was based on Paul Rolland’s principles of flexibility, freedom of movement and balance. I have lots of new ideas to add to my teaching to ensure that my pupils develop sound technique right from the start. The exercises in developing left hand strength are particularly useful as this isn’t something that I’ve previously incorporated into my teaching. I also now finally understand the purpose of doing left hand pizzicato with pupils!

The week was incredibly varied and encompassed a wide range of teaching topics. On top of this we had the opportunity to attend daily classes in yoga for musicians run by cellist, Jane Fenton, and the chance to meet fellow musicians and make new friends. Thank you ESTA NJNF and Hidersine!


Nannie Jamieson Nutshell Fund