A cacophony of scales and arpeggios permeate the air around the whole school as I wake at 6 am, when I walk towards the canteen, to eat and finally lay to rest every night!
From 5 am the students are up and busy with tasks, such as breaking enough eggs to constitute a satisfactory breakfast portion for all 160 students. Everyone shares in the workload. By 6am they’re busy standing amongst the school grounds on the mountaintop, blasting their instruments and waking anyone who hadn’t yet been woken by the general bustling about.
I am grateful for the acceptance I have received from the teachers, as well as the students. They have such an extraordinarily strong community and musical ethos.
After a few days, I note that not only is their musical technique already incredibly advanced (sight-reading, scales and arpeggios, classical musicianship), they are also taught to have perfect pitch from the age of five years old! It is evident, however, that the art of music is a serious, practised subject with not much room for fun and feeling.
At last, (and I think I speak for both Nick and myself) we found something that would help in their musical education (other than teaching subjects they have no teachers for). We’re going to get them having fun!
I have been utilising emotions and dynamics in my classes. Using these as the main tools for learning, which my students can use to improve their own ability with the instrument – rather than formally teaching them a piece of music and correcting their
techniques. With my more able violinists, I am encouraging improvisation. Engaging them with listening techniques and creating games to play. Furthermore, with the help of the incredible piano teacher, Vladimir, we have had a few excellent musical improv sessions, which are opening up a process of learning that they have not engaged with previously.
This more facilitative style of teaching is more comfortable for me than being strict and regimented in my ways, and I am seeing it
also allows students a more creative and relaxed environment for the process of self-exploration with their instrument.
That’s all for now.
Love and abundance to all,
N x x