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Clarinet & saxophone workshops a success.

(September 20, 2010)

Last year I decided to run a couple of small work shops in order for my own students to experience playing as part of a small ensemble. After receiving very positive feedback and a chorus of "when's the next one?!" I of course wanted to repeat the events this year.

This year I ran TWO work shops for Clarinet, and ONE for Saxophone students (I was initially to run two saxophone work shops but as many players were away on holiday on the date specified it wasn't viable in the end).

The level 1 work shops were to encourage those who were fairly new to playing or wanted a very gentle (and painless!) introduction to group playing. I hear from so many people who have had a bad musical experience in the past, so this work shop was to be an entirely positive and encouraging event. Students were given sheet music up to three weeks before in order to prepare.

I must say I was delighted with all who took part; some were very nervous, I could tell, but soon started to relax when they heard that everyone was parping out the odd wrong note, or several! The giant cookies at break time happily refueled young and old(er) alike, with a quick 5 minutes on our 14 ft trampoline to stretch muscles, burn off excess enery, and focus the mind after an hour of sitting! There were a few 'hairs on arms tingles' at times where participants began to 'get it' (ie playing as a living breathing group) and certain pieces were highlighted as favourites along the way. Socially, the work shops are so valuable and it is great to see students sitting together and catching up with one another at our student concerts and work shops. Learning music is supposed to be fun and sociable for goodness sake!

In the level 2 work shops, more confident students were given the opportunity to lead in directing the tempo at the end of the piece for example. More challenging repertoire had been given to these, although still mostly within their own comfort ranges.

I will be running work shops again next year no doubt but with some changes...... I will be inviting students from a wider field (ie not purely my own students), be holding the events in a bigger venue, and they will probably feature some new and original music.

As they say, watch this space............

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