I am still a novice in the piano playing community, and the more I reflect, the more I am convinced how good the week has been! The quality of teaching was superb – it really was. The ambience, the pianos – it has made me aware of where I am, the path ahead of me and the endless opportunities to take my piano playing further.
I can thoroughly recommend the Summer School for Pianists, held at The Performance Hub in Walsall. A great deal of planning and thought goes into the programme by the Directors. A very varied, fascinating and enjoyable set of activities, including talks, lectures, invited speakers, recitals and concerts, runs alongside the excellent masterclasses given by the tutors. I found all of this really valuable in setting my attempts to play the piano in a wider musical context. The facilities were also excellent, with good grand pianos for the classes, and a large number of practice rooms. Last but not least, the atmosphere was friendly and supportive.
I have just returned from my fourth year’s Piano Summer School and can honestly say it was the best one so far – a wonderful experience! We had fabulous concerts from the tutors who also gave us interesting lectures and entertained us, as well as giving us inspiring tuition. The whole atmosphere is very friendly and it was lovely to meet up again with piano friends from previous years.
If you want to recharge your pianistic and musical batteries there is no more enjoyable way to do it than to join the August Summer School for Pianists, now held at Wolverhampton University’s Walsall Campus. Throughout the week course members receive excellent tutoring and guidance on pieces they have prepared from a great team of accomplished recitalists and teachers. In the evenings the tutors give a splendid series of recitals. I have been coming to the Summer School for many years, and for me there are a number of distinctive features. It is a community of pianists of all ages with a core aim of developing their performance and interpretation of a wide range of piano repertoire. It is not competitive and I have never known a tutor who does not blend expert guidance with positive encouragement and a lively sense of humour. For course members who wish to gain experience of playing in public, there is the opportunity to participate in one of the three student concerts.
Friendliness is the hallmark of the course and I enjoy chatting to other course members and tutors at coffee breaks and mealtimes or in the bar after dinner. After a hardworking but pleasurable week the final dinner and barn dance make an experience not to be missed.
The campus has en suite rooms which are comfortable, there are good meals, and coffee breaks are in an open plan concourse which encourages conversation and getting to know other course members. The practice pianos are of a high quality and I had no difficulty in booking a practice session each day.
Also, I particularly appreciated the campus swimming pool, and for the even more active there is the campus gymnasium.
Perhaps for non-pianists a summer school might seem a week of purgatory, but for me it gives a fresh spur to try new pieces, improve pieces I am familiar with, and a greater appreciation of works that I know I will never play but want to understand what the composer was saying.
Just to say also a very big thank you to yourself and to all the tutors for the wonderful Summer School for Pianists week which as you know I attended for the first time this year. All was excellent – masterclasses, tutor recitals and talks and the whole course extremely well organised. Additionally, what a welcoming and encouraging group of people – participants and tutors! After learning piano as a child and only returning to lessons again 18 months ago and never having played in front of more than two people, I can hardly believe by the end of the week I had the confidence to sightread in the masterclass setting and play a full Mozart Sonata duet with the tutor in front of the masterclass (and two of the movements in the larger duet class too)… I think the mix of tutor styles was a real positive of the course. The barn dance, following the formal dinner, was a fun way to end the week.
I have attended the Summer School for Pianists for a number of years at different venues but the Campus of the University of Wolverhampton at Walsall is an ideal venue for pianists because of the many practice rooms at hand with very excellent pianos. We are lucky to have excellent Tutors who both teach and then perform many varied styles in their own concerts. The week culminates in student concerts of the highest standard given in a professional manner.
For those who enjoy food … this year the food was excellent. Also the Staff are always helpful and friendly, making our week comfortable in the Student residential blocks in which we reside. There is a bar in the evening where we can get together to discuss the day, and the music heard.