The Violin Channel member Susan Wei, from the United States was keen to know: ‘Do you encourage your students to study at music festivals over the summer?’
We threw Susan’s question over to Colburn School of Music Violin Professor and Co-Director of String Chamber Music, Mr Martin Beaver:
“Yes, I certainly do! Summer music festivals offer invaluable opportunities for students to grow musically, instrumentally and personally, to take part in great artistic experiences and to meet their peers and form relationships.
There are several different kinds of music festivals to appeal to students at various stages in their development. These include festivals devoted to orchestral training, chamber music study, instrumental study, or offering a combination of these disciplines.
Whether a festival lasts for two or eight weeks, the benefit of an intensive experience is considerable. The opportunity for in-depth and concentrated study, whether in orchestral, chamber music or solo settings, offers a completely different experience than what may be possible during the school year (due to the demands of a complete curriculum).
For example, it would be a challenge for a string quartet to rehearse for several hours every day, receive daily coachings and give weekly or bi-weekly performances during a typical school year given the demands on each student’s time for practice, lessons, rehearsals, orchestra, academics and, of course, more practice! Yet, at several summer chamber music festivals where I have taught, this kind of schedule is maintained, often leading to astonishing artistic growth.
I believe the same to be true of festivals that offer a high concentration in orchestral training. The chance to prepare an orchestral program in-depth and perform at a high level is of immeasurable value.
Also, one should not overlook the social aspect of summer festivals. They are a great chance for young musicians to meet and hear one another and to form friendships and artistic relationships. Many successful groups and partnerships have grown out of summer festival encounters.
I hope this helps to shed light on some of the benefits of summer festivals and why I enthusiastically encourage my students to attend them!
Martin Beaver served as 1st violinist with the famed Tokyo String Quartet from 2002 until the group’s disbandment in 2013 | He currently serves a Violin Professorship and Co-Directorship of the String Chamber Music program, on faculty at the Colburn School, in Los Angeles
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