The Manchester Music Festival Young Artists Programme 2018

One aspect of blogging that I particularly enjoy is the opportunity to highlight a variety of projects, festivals and young artist programmes. The Manchester Music Festival (MMF) Young Artists Programme is one such project. Now in its second year with  American Artistic Director Adam Neiman at the helm, it offers a wonderful chance for students to immerse themselves in a whole programme of music making. Occurring annually every summer in scenic Manchester, Vermont (USA), the 2018 Young Artists Programme will take place from July 9th to August 11th 2018.

The programme is a full scholarship for those selected to attend; a five-week intensive chamber music festival for string players and pianists, aged between 18 and 26. Young artists receive daily coaching sessions by a faculty composed of world-renowned artists and pedagogues. The primary focus of the programme is to intensively study and perform chamber music at a high level, and to benefit from the outstanding musical guidance offered daily by the illustrious artist faculty.

During the course, students can expect to study several chamber works, with ensemble sizes ranging from duos to octets encompassing repertoire spanning the centuries, from Baroque to Contemporary. Groups will be selected to perform in the weekly MMF Young Artists concert series. On August 11, 2018, the young artists will participate in an orchestral concert, performing symphonic works by Grieg, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius.

Those on the programme will also have the opportunity to perform in weekly public masterclasses and take private lessons with the faculty members. In addition, they will benefit from forum discussions addressing principles of entrepreneurship and career development designed to assist them in forging successful paths as professional musicians. Each MMF Young Artist receives a scholarship providing full tuition, free accommodations, and a modest weekly stipend.

The deadline is February 18th 2018.

You can find out much more, here and apply for the programme, here.


My Publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 level are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.


 

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Manchester Music Festival Young Artists Program

yapHere’s a wonderful chance for young pianists and string players to attend a Summer course in Vermont (US) with an illustrious faculty and exciting performance opportunities.

The Manchester Music Festival (MMF) Young Artists Program is a full scholarship, six-week intensive chamber music festival for string players and pianists, aged from 18 – 26. Occurring annually every summer in scenic Manchester (Vermont), the 2017 Young Artists Program will take place from July 3rd to August 13th, 2017. Young Artists will receive daily coaching sessions by a faculty composed of world-renowned artists and pedagogues.

The primary focus of the Young Artists Program is to intensively study and perform chamber music at a high level, and to benefit from outstanding musical guidance on a daily basis. During the course, students can expect to study several chamber masterworks, with ensemble sizes ranging from duos to octets in a broad spectrum of repertoire spanning the centuries, from Baroque to Contemporary. Groups will also be selected to perform in the weekly MMF Young Artists concert series.

On August 3rd, 2017, Young Artists will participate in one orchestral concert, performing Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony and the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, with Ignat Solzhenitsyn conducting and pianist Alexander Kobrin.

Young Artists will also have the opportunity to perform in public masterclasses and take private lessons with many of the faculty members. In addition, they will benefit from forum discussions addressing principles of entrepreneurship and career development which will assist in forging successful paths as professional musicians.

‘This is a full-scholarship program, meaning that we offer this opportunity to outstanding students at no cost to them, other than the application fee. This makes us quite unique in the world of expensive summer programs’ –  Adam Neiman  (artistic director of the MMF, concert pianist and professor of piano at the Chicago College of Performing Arts (Roosevelt University)).

Each MMF Young Artist receives a scholarship providing full tuition, free accommodations, and a modest weekly stipend. Students are responsible for their own meals.

Scholarships are made possible by the generous contributions of individual sponsors and endowments, and all of the Young Artists will have opportunities to interact socially with their patrons during their stay in Manchester.

The closing date for applications is February 15th 2017.

Download the Young Artists Program brochure

Visit the website here


My Publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 level are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.


 

A Master class with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Today’s post highlights an interesting chamber music master class given by French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. It was recorded live from the Daniel & Joanna S. Rose Studio at the Lincoln Center in New York on October 19th, 2015, and has been published by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The class features students from Yale School of Music, Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School.

You can find out much more about Jean-Efflam Bavouzet here.


My Publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 level are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.


 

Listening and focusing……

image

This might seem a rather strange blog title, but it’s a topic that I have been musing about for a while. There are, of course, many considerations when playing any instrument but particularly the piano. Elements requiring much thought include; co-ordination, notes, fingering, rhythm, pedalling, colour, sound and so on. The success of all  important technical and musical issues depends on how carefully we listen and focus totally on what we are doing.

It’s so easy to play with closed ears; not really focusing on what we are playing and perhaps not being fully engaged either.  That may sound daft, particularly as we are making music, but really it’s a very common problem and we are, more often than not, all guilty of these musical crimes. There are several issues here; the first is being able to hear what is being played beyond the notes, and the second, is to be fully focused and engaged as we practice.

It’s all too easy to practice physically, striving to improving technique, subsequently blocking out the actual sound being produced. Another mistake is to play without really thinking about what we are doing, merely ‘going through the motions’, our minds engaged elsewhere. So how do we learn to listen and focus on our own playing objectively every time we practice?

All musicians must adhere to the score so this has to be learnt thoroughly, but beyond the notes, musicianship takes over, or it should do. If you find that you are not dealing sufficiently with technical issues, then perhaps learn a slightly less demanding piece which will allow you to concentrate fully on the music. This may be the crux of the problem; technique often demands so much mental work that the sound world and musical structure can sometimes take second place, when really it should reign supreme.  When practising, there is a tendency to enjoy the physical sensations of playing and not really focus on the sound being produce.

One way to ensure total focus and complete concentration is to ‘hear’ the music in your head before you play it and then try to reproduce those sounds as you are playing. It’s a form of singing but in your head; visualisation but in sound instead of pictures (but visualising pictures may be useful too!). This technique can be especially helpful if you are memorising a work. Singing is a crucial element in any form of music making, but is particularly effective when applied to piano playing. It’s not actual singing (although this can be a good idea) but more specifically hearing melody lines in your mind, deciphering which musical lines need to be emphasized and coloured, and which can be allowed to disappear within the texture.

Thinking about musical texture in this way requires much mental work, so it’s not really possible to do it without engaging our ears and minds fully. This especially applies to pedalling, where far more can be achieved by listening to the sounds that are being produced as opposed to purely observing written signs. Whilst thinking about musical lines and textures, appropriate tonal sonorities are created too and chances are, you will produce a more beautiful sound. You will also learn to ‘hear’ where the music is going and be able to deliver a convincing account of a work.

Pianists generally don’t have as many opportunities as other instrumentalists or singers to work in a group; whether that be a choir or ensemble. This is a pity because playing with others also helps to focus our minds, forcing us to really listen. Whether chamber music or piano duets, it’s not possible to play successfully without total compliance. So if you find yourself losing impetus, then perhaps it may be time to find a musical partner or join a choir. Working with other musicians can be such an inspiring experience which can only help to improve mental discipline. We owe it to ourselves (and those we work with) to work at our playing with open ears and embrace the music by being totally present and ‘in the moment’ every time we touch the instrument.

You can purchase my book, So You Want To Play The Piano?, which is packed with practice tips and important piano information, here.

Image courtesy of www.factrange.com


My publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 level are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.