Several summer schools returned in full (as safely possible!) force. Here are two accounts of the experience, one at the LSG International Summer School at Bryanston, and one at Temple Dinsley Summer School:
It was a real privilege to be part of this year’s teaching faculty at Bryanston - an idyllic setting for a Suzuki intensive music study / teaching week! Here are a few lasting impressions and memories.
In master classes, group classes, and concerts I noticed students of all ages and levels of ability giving their best, inspiring each other with courage to try new things, the confidence to play boldly, to ask questions, to demonstrate through their examples. There were many truly exceptional student concert performances. With positive energy and persistence one can hear beauty evolving even in the space of a week.
It was so lovely to see the community of parents eating meals together, walking campus or hallways, connecting through smiles in moments before and after classes or concerts. Parents constantly interacted with other parents, teachers, and children; perhaps sharing some of their “I wonder how to…?” questions. In our Suzuki education and more broadly life in the world, parents play such essential roles as sources and resources, spreading encouragements; stabilizers to us all.
As a teacher one always gains new and many eye and ear-opening perspectives through coaching students of other teachers. The little students were delightful, and the teens showed themselves to be respectful interested learners, occasionally allowing their ‘smiling eyes’ to light-up their faces!
This Bryanston sketch would not be complete without mention of one of the most significant highlights afforded to its faculty - the opportunity to work side-by-side as a community of accomplished performer-teachers, musicians passionate about and committed to their art. For me, after so many months of quiet pandemic isolation, this colleague interaction carried so many inspirations whether it was collaborating in faculty concerts, being part of a listening community in live concerts, late night chamber music reading, social time sharing stories of our past, our “now” lives and aspirations for the future – perfect!
To the Bryanston directors and office staff, exhausted as you undoubtedly were by week’s end, this experience was such a gift.
TEMPLE DINSLEY SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
For over 30 wonderful years, TDSS (‘Temple Dinsley Summer School’) ran successfully and happily at the Princess Helena College in Preston, near Hitchin. So when we heard that the school had sadly had to close, we all wondered what would become of TDSS. Would it be possible to find a new venue in time? And even if we did, could it ever live up to the glory days at PHC?
Course Director Hannah Biss and Treasurer Tim Milner spent hours researching and visiting nearly fifty schools in a quest to find a setting that would not only be willing and able to accommodate dozens of small children and their parents, but that would also offer the facilities that had made previous courses so successful and memorable. On their list of non-negotiables were: boarding facilities, a field for the campers, a swimming pool, an art room, good food, and of course enough teaching and performance spaces to allow all of the many musical activities to take place as usual. At first, it seemed an impossible task; several of the potential sites ticked most but not all of the Course Director’s wish list, and the chances of finding the ‘perfect’ venue seemed like an impossible dream.
But then along came The Oratory School in Reading. It looked pretty promising on paper, and once the site visit had been carried out it was clear that TDSS had found its new home. The school offered plenty of performance spaces, including a chapel, a theatre and a beautiful reception room (‘The Tolkien Room’), as well as huge amounts of outdoor space, and the all-important swimming pool. The cafeteria was large, the catering was great, the camping field was spacious and, importantly, the school staff were friendly and welcoming. Furthermore, it offered facilities we didn’t know we needed until we got there, like the boarding house common rooms, the grass tennis courts, and the old chapel - a converted seventeenth-century barn which was the perfect place for the parents to indulge in a spot of late-night madrigal singing.
It goes without saying that this year’s course was a roaring success. Each day was a jam-packed whirlwind of lessons, orchestras, musicianship classes and concerts, all interspersed with time to relax and enjoy the swimming pool and the art room, or just play about on the lawns. After the children were safely tucked up in bed, the parents were able to spend some time socialising in the adult choir or adult orchestra, possibly with a glass of wine or three to hand. After four intense days, the final concert finished, in traditional fashion, with the TDSS goodbye song:
Goodbye everyone at Temple Dinsley, we’ve had lots of fun at Temple Dinsley.
Laugh everybody, play everybody, see you all next year.
We certainly will – and we can’t wait!