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Originally Posted by PianoGuyStuart
Have any beginners here ever attended this course?

(It's in France, so more doable if you are in the UK)

http://albignacmusic.com/piano-summer-school-faqs.html

The FAQs say - "For the Intermediate Class we do not stipulate a minimum standard. Enthusiasm for the piano and its repertoire is the only requirement. The atmosphere is extremely supportive, and even the most reluctant, rusty or nervous players feel inspired to contribute."

So, apparently there isn't a minimum standard. But the word 'Intermediate' for the course makes me very nervous.

I am definitely a beginner. Not intermediate.

So curious to hear if anyone who is a beginner has attended


If you look at the repertoire subsection, the intermediate needs to be at a grade 6 standard. Therefore I do not believe this coursework is designed for beginners, And I would not recommend that a beginner attend.


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Originally Posted by newer player
The 2018 Golandsky Institute Summer Symposium is Sunday to Saturday (5 days of activities/lessons/practice time/evening concerts) in Portland, Oregon. Per the web site, it costs $1,300 (includes housing and meals) or $1,025 (commuters). I had a great experience.

Previously, this was held at Princeton University in NJ and had a good percentage of foreign musicians. The level of players was generally quite high but there were some newer players. Everyone was very gracious and I met some fantastic people. I learned a lot and got a macro view on technique which is rather difficult during my weekly one hour lessons.

Especially relevant if you are interested in the Taubman Approach, have a Taubman teacher, or have been injured. Watch some of the videos on YouTube to see if this is up your alley.

EDIT - at Princeton, I suspect few people were practicing for hours per day; there were too many activities and not 200 pianos available. It's not really a band camp but for me the average day was: private lesson, a few lectures, a group lesson with say 20 people, a master class in the main hall, individual practice, an evening concert. Sleep in (nice) college dorm, eat in (nice) college cafeteria.


Another great suggestion! Thanks!



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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by PianoGuyStuart
Have any beginners here ever attended this course?

(It's in France, so more doable if you are in the UK)

http://albignacmusic.com/piano-summer-school-faqs.html

The FAQs say - "For the Intermediate Class we do not stipulate a minimum standard. Enthusiasm for the piano and its repertoire is the only requirement. The atmosphere is extremely supportive, and even the most reluctant, rusty or nervous players feel inspired to contribute."

So, apparently there isn't a minimum standard. But the word 'Intermediate' for the course makes me very nervous.

I am definitely a beginner. Not intermediate.

So curious to hear if anyone who is a beginner has attended


If you look at the repertoire subsection, the intermediate needs to be at a grade 6 standard. Therefore I do not believe this coursework is designed for beginners, And I would not recommend that a beginner attend.


It's a little more gentle than that - it says that for the workshops the repertoire should be at Grade 6 at least, and less advanced players can choose private sessions instead:

Quote
Participants can choose any repertoire and should bring at least one piece prepared, and one or two other pieces to work on during the course: there is considerable opportunity for practising. The range of ability is wide in this class - the most experienced can be beyond Grade 8 (Associated Board) - but it is advisable, for the workshops, to be at least Grade 6 standard; less advanced players may opt for private sessions.


I would agree that it doesn't sound suited for a true beginner though


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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Our program in New England is $1650US this summer, and it's 7 days (but it's full). Summer Sonata is charging about $2300US this year for their 10 days, or $1200 for 5 days. These figures include lodging, food, tuition, and pianos available to practice on for at least a couple of hours a day. Some of the programs make you find you own lodging and meals - e.g., in nearby motels, B&Bs, etc - and instead charge just a modest tuition. Rami's program and Summerkeys work this way. With all costs included except the travel to get you there, I'd say you could guesstimate $240US per day, times the number of days of the retreat, for any one of these programs. Not particularly expensive, and you would bond with fellow adult closet pianists and recharge your musical batteries. They are a great concept, and I wish there were more of them scattered about - but they are a lot of work to bring off. One needs zeal, good organizing skills, and a fleet of pianos.

Interestingly, we have had two participants from Australia and New Zealand. Each one found us online and just took a chance: each one has returned for a second retreat in a subsequent year. One lady was from Sydney, one lady was from Christchurch. Each of them stayed a little longer to travel or visit friends/family in the US.


Thank you for that info Peter. Out of my reach this year as I am travelling to UK. Maybe get another year or so's progress (and dolars) under my belt then consider it. Sounds lovely..

Last edited by Bach_ingMaddie; 05/04/18 10:50 AM.

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Originally Posted by newer player
The 2018 Golandsky Institute Summer Symposium is Sunday to Saturday (5 days of activities/lessons/practice time/evening concerts) in Portland, Oregon. Per the web site, it costs $1,300 (includes housing and meals) or $1,025 (commuters). I had a great experience.

Previously, this was held at Princeton University in NJ and had a good percentage of foreign musicians. The level of players was generally quite high but there were some newer players. Everyone was very gracious and I met some fantastic people. I learned a lot and got a macro view on technique which is rather difficult during my weekly one hour lessons.

Especially relevant if you are interested in the Taubman Approach, have a Taubman teacher, or have been injured. Watch some of the videos on YouTube to see if this is up your alley.

EDIT - at Princeton, I suspect few people were practicing for hours per day; there were too many activities and not 200 pianos available. It's not really a band camp but for me the average day was: private lesson, a few lectures, a group lesson with say 20 people, a master class in the main hall, individual practice, an evening concert. Sleep in (nice) college dorm, eat in (nice) college cafeteria.


Thank you for that info Newer Player. Something to consider in a year or two.


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This just in...

The Adult Midsummer Piano Retreat in the Berkshires has been fully enrolled since February for this year’s forthcoming workshop (July 7-14). Recently, however, one of the two dozen participants has had to withdraw due to surgery, and so there is now an unexpected opening. Any hobby pianist is most welcome, at any playing level. Lessons, ensembles, concerts, enduring friendships, and a lovely campus in the northwest corner of Massachusetts. See the website for details and a contact person:
https://pianoretreat.wordpress.com/

(If you mention my name, they might throw in a free metronome or something.)

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Hello all,

I thought I would bump up this thread three years later… In case, despite the pandemic, some have had more experiences at piano camps! crazy

My main interrogation is to do with how useful it could be to attend one of those when you're a beginner… I'm currently probably playing at about Grade 2/3 level. I'm working on Grade 3 theory.

I was looking for a holiday for February and found out there is a castle not to far from me where you go and stay and play piano with others for a week. You get one lesson in the morning, and in the afternoon, you get to play with others.

I don't find this kind of thing cheap, but if it's worthwhile, it might be nice. Have others had any experiences of this kind of thing as beginners?

Thanks!

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Hi RoseMary
I’ve attending multiple piano camps as an advanced student, not as a student with 2-3 years of experience. However, the two different US camps I attended did have a couple of students— two or three with about your experience level and one with about six months of lessons prior to the camp; they seemed to really enjoy themselves and expressed that they found it motivating/ learned a lot. Daily lessons are wonderful.

We did play for each other— with the instructor and the students all providing feedback. I learned from the comments re each student, regardless of their level.

Would I recommend you attend? Yes. Only with the reservation that your enjoyment will somewhat depend on your openness to have students at all levels hear you play and comment. At every camp I have found all participants to be supportive of everyone.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi RoseMary
I’ve attending multiple piano camps as an advanced student, not as a student with 2-3 years of experience. However, the two different US camps I attended did have a couple of students— two or three with about your experience level and one with about six months of lessons prior to the camp; they seemed to really enjoy themselves and expressed that they found it motivating/ learned a lot. Daily lessons are wonderful.

We did play for each other— with the instructor and the students all providing feedback. I learned from the comments re each student, regardless of their level.

Would I recommend you attend? Yes. Only with the reservation that your enjoyment will somewhat depend on your openness to have students at all levels hear you play and comment. At every camp I have found all participants to be supportive of everyone.

Thank you very much, dogperson!

I've just spoken on the phone to the person in charge of the residential I'm looking at, and it sounds super enticing, and what you say comforts me in thinking so.

You get a daily lesson of 30 or 50min (depending on what you pay for), plus in the afternoon you are part of a chamber music ensemble of a level that makes sense for all, and you play together for 1hr20min. You also get a daily 40 min rhythm workshop, and a daily 40min singing workshop.

Adults only play with other adults or older teenagers. The teachers are experienced. On two evenings you get to listen to a concert, and on another night there is a lecture about something musical.

I must admit, it sounds great, especially as I currently get great weekly lessons, but online on Zoom, on my Roland FP-30, and it would be nice to have in-person lessons and some interaction with other learners, as well as get to play on an actual acoustic piano…

I can't see any negative. Especially if I go with an open mind open to encounters and constructive criticism, like you say. And the numbers might be a little down because of Covid, so there might be plenty of opportunity to play outside of lessons too…

Really, really tempted here! More expensive than most holidays I've had, but you only live once!

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Hi Rosemary
Glad it sounds appealing! I don’t see from your schedule that there is practice time scheduled? You’ll need it. I hope you can schedule the 50 min lesson

If you decide to go, could you kindly report back when you get home?
Just to be around other adults that are practicing, like to discuss music and composers is great. It’s not cheap, but I’ve never regretted spending the money


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi Rosemary
Glad it sounds appealing! I don’t see from your schedule that there is practice time scheduled? You’ll need it. I hope you can schedule the 50 min lesson

If you decide to go, could you kindly report back when you get home?
Just to be around other adults that are practicing, like to discuss music and composers is great. It’s not cheap, but I’ve never regretted spending the money


Hi dogperson!

Practice time seems to be outside those formal times I said and it's up to each person how much time they spend at the piano. As they assume numbers will be down, they think there will be plenty of pianos to go around.

Do you really think I should pay extra for 50 min lessons? I was half-wondering whether that's too much as it's everyday and I'm only a beginner… I currently get 45 min lessons and they go FAST, but they're weekly…

The setting is also a castle and the board and meals all provided, so it sounds great. I will definitely let you know how I find it, but just so you know, it's in France!

The course director did mention, like you do, that mealtime chats, etc., amongst music lovers are great.

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Hi Rosemary
I can only use myself as a reference point for the lesson length —- taking lessons every day, i found there was always new ground to cover during the next lesson and my increased practice time. My lessons during camp have been 1 hr daily; at home they are 1.5 hrs weekly. I never felt like the 1 hr daily camp lessons were too long.

I don’t know if this helps or not—- maybe your regular teacher can advise?


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Rosemary, the important thing is to discern whether beginners are welcome, vs tolerated, in any residential piano course. You can tell by the bios of the faculty if they are experienced in and comfortable with teaching recreational adult pianists. You might also ask to correspond with, or telephone, some adult early-level pianist who has attended this program in the past.

If you are the only early-level participant, you might feel overwhelmed or intimidated.

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Summerkeys will be open this summer (2022), at least that is their plan, after taking two years off. I am planning to go in July sometime, if everything works out.

I have only had experience with Summerkeys (I have been 9 times I think), but I would say that it is worth it, no matter what your level. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it, of course. Just having a different teacher for a week will serve to inspire you and keep you motivated. If I were a beginner I would suggest signing up for the daily lessons, and spend as much time as you can practicing during the week. Also, take every opportunity to play for the other students. A lot of people are scared of playing in front of others, but Summerkeys has time set aside where no teachers are allowed, you just get together to play for your fellow students. That is about as low-pressure as you can get.

I also find it interesting to play on all the different pianos. Adapting to different sounds, actions, and pedal is good experience.

You do need to find your own lodging and food at Summerkeys. Personally, I like that option!

Sam


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Thank you all for your advice!

Yes, I'm definitely an early beginner. I noticed afterwards that dogperson mentioned 2/3 years' experience… If you put together the bits I've done (without elbow break breaks, etc.), we're closer to 8-10 months. But I'm starting on my first Grade 3 pieces and it's going well. I've spoken to the man in charge on the phone and I didn't get the vibe that I would be only barely tolerated; I gathered that it could be very useful to me – he wasn't trying hard to sell it either, but rather very matter-of-fact. They adapt the music sheets to your level and match you with people it makes sense to play with… I hear what you're saying, Peter K. Mose, I need to be prepared to perhaps be the player playing at the lowest level there! I think it's unlikely I would feel overwhelmed… When I tried taking up the clarinet a few years ago, I joined a harmony group after just 2-3 months, I have no shame! laugh

What I look forward to first and foremost is having the opportunity to practise on acoustic pianos. Like Sam says, I would be able to try different ones out, probably. And having a different teacher will be refreshing, even though I love mine. It will be nice to have lessons in my mother tongue too, for a change.

I think I will go for the 50 min lessons. What gave me pause is that they're more than double the price of the 30 min lessons (I can't understand why…), but I guess as I'm already spending quite a bit on this course, I might as well pay the extra 125 euros to have longer lessons.

The fact Sam has gone NINE times to piano residential courses must mean they're good! In my case, I love the fact that bread and board are included. I will take it as a meditation retreat, but for piano practice. smile

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