Brent Hutto wrote:Matthew,
Let me ask something that I've been discussing in another thread...
When the materials describe the Retreat as being suitable for all levels of player, including beginners, just how "beginner" are we talking about? And specifically, to what extent could perhaps a second-year classical guitar player be able to participate versus being there more as an observer or listener?
Not that I have the means or opportunity for a UK trip this summer anyway but it sure does look tempting. Maybe even in 2011 but I am concerned about possibly being a bit of a lost soul given that my playing skills don't scale up well to playing with others or for that matter in the presence of others. Then again a year is a long time...
You are one of quite a few people who make inquiries like this regarding level when thinking about attending courses.
I gave these sort of queries along with many other factors much consideration when designing the educational elements of the Classical Guitar Retreat.
I hope that the information below can answer your questions! From your brief indication of where you are with things at this stage you would benefit greatly from a course like CGR.
The course is suitable for all levels of players and all elements of the course can be tailored to varying degrees of skill and accomplishment.
For the Classical Guitar Retreat it doesn't matter if a participant is self taught, has no formal training, been in regular lessons for years, or has had Julian Bream & John Williams teaching them since birth! (Wouldn't that be nice!)
The teachers that have been chosen to work on the Classical Guitar Retreat course have been picked for their inspirational teaching and dedication in imparting their knowledge onto others (alongside their wonderful performances as players of course!). Each teacher has there own particular level and area of expertise and this means all levels of player can be individually catered for.
All the music for the Guitar Orchestra and Chamber Music Workshop's is sent out to each individual participant, the level of difficulty of each part will be carefully chosen so the player can become comfortable with the music and has a good chance to look over the material under no pressure in the run up to the course. This method of providing the music far in advance of the course should help a participant find their feet with on their own before joining the Orchestra during the course. I take time in the months leading up to the festival to give out parts that participants can master and be happy playing - this way they would get much more from the experience of playing in an ensemble - participants really enjoy the experience rather than trying to hang on which often happens at festivals.
So when we come together to play as an Orchestra or with the other instruments in the chamber music workshops people are not under pressure with sight reading and the feeling of having been thrown in at the deep end, they have already had time with the music and can enjoy working on it as a group.
I also contact all the participants and find out any specific areas that people may want to improve upon - the limit on numbers is really a quality control level so I can work with
the guest teachers and performers to make sure that all the participants really improve upon an area of their playing or musicianship that they themselves feel lacking in.
The feeling and general ethos behind this event is one of everyone having the opportunity to participate fully in every part of the course, masterclasses will have experienced and high level students performing and also much lower grade beginner performers this way everyone can learn from each other and there is no 'them and us' scenario.
Hope that helps!
Certainly in the future if you want to attend the CGR just get in touch with me and I can help you out with travel plans and reserve you a place.