Well it is over now; we made lots of new friends, learned new tunes, changed our approach to some of the music, altered completely some of the sounds we were making, have much more understanding of playing together in an orchestra, doing much more embellishing and adding character to our playing, and above all we have memories of a happy three days spent with friends and fellow musicians. Our Tutors were brilliant, they came out with us to the pub in the evening and played with us, they were approachable at all times and happy to give advice, and we had no doubt at the end of the weekend that we had worked hard but achieved much.
The organisation was excellent, there were always people to ask for help if needed but generally things had been well planned and happened seamlessly. The teaching was first class, the location was exactly what was needed, the choice of music was excellent and the amount of ground covered was considerable yet not over-stretching. The recording we made at the end of the weekend showed a really professional approach and a polished performance.
We learned that people liked to have the music in advance, albeit we sent out far more music than we actually then used, they liked to be able to refer to the sheet music if they so chose, and by learning it in advance they were able to concentrate far more on the things they had come to learn. The length of the workshop, two and a half days was deemed to be not too long, but enough time for all to be comfortable with each other and to enjoy the new friendships.
We shall be making two small but significant changes in 2019.
Firstly we shall be offering tea and coffee at registration (an oversight in 2018) and we shall be offering soup and buns at lunchtime on the Friday in the Hall.
Secondly we shall start the weekend with a real musical blowout, with everyone playing together something loud and simple, just so that they can blow away some of the inhibitions and show the tutors how they can play. Only after that will the various groups form with their specific Tutor and instrument.