"Having previously attended the same course last year, I decided to attend again due to how beneficial I found it to my playing. The primary focus of the course involves individual tuition from Susanne Stanzeleit every single day which in itself is extremely good value for money. In addition, the workshops that took place every evening such as how to perform when on stage alone, developing an individual interpretation to music, combating general performance anxiety etc. further helped develop my musicality over a short space of time. The atmosphere of the course itself from the wonderful Benslow Music facilities to the non-competitive environment also meant that maximum productivity could be achieved.
The greatest thing that I gained from this course is my self-confidence in performing solos to other people. The nature of a summer holiday personally usually translates as only practising individually or very little performance practice and therefore this course allowed me to firstly regain my confidence in performing but secondly to go beyond what I had previously been able to achieve. More specifically, due to having such regular lessons on top, I felt that I was able to make some breakthroughs in my playing a lot quicker than in comparison to regular term time such as greater awareness of my bowing arm, more efficient methods of practice etc. I would say that I was putting in 100% of my effort in during the course because of how engaging the nature of the course was - it was never forced and instead I always wanted to engage myself fully and felt inspired to do the same after the course ended.
I enjoyed the fact that what we were given was the optimal time and space to develop our musicality. With no other worries and external factors to affect our mind-set, I personally felt that I was able to gain a better clarity in analysing my technique and developing a deeper musical interpretation. A regular supply of high quality food also helped!
It’s the perfect balance of self-motivated challenges with expert tuition within a healthy environment. I convinced two other students to attend this year and they equally enjoyed the experience and I hope to return next year!"
"This was my first time attending a music course at Benslow but I am sure it will only be the first of many. The course was built around daily individual lessons with Susanne Stanzeleit and collaboration with the wonderful piano playing of Prof. John Thwaites. On top of these lessons there were daily workshops that focused on performing solo repertoire and included a performance from Susanne and John as well as a seminar on performance practise and traditions.
The experience of learning from teachers of such calibre was on its own more than worthwhile and definitely more than worth the cost. What catapulted my experience to a whole new level was the chance to completely immerse myself in the brilliant work environment. The combination of lovely practise and performance space as well as fabulous food that was in no short supply and of extremely high quality, created room for great music making. Perhaps more than anything, I have benefited from the drive and enthusiasm that I felt from my colleagues as we all fully focused on simply trying to become better musicians over those few lovely summer days. I managed to practise more than ever before and tackle challenges that I have struggled with for some time.
It is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to start the new academic year right. With heaps of practise and performance time alongside some fresh musical knowledge and enthusiasm it allowed me to keep working at a new and more ambitious pace after the course has finished. I could not have asked for anything more from the first week of September. If only I did not have to leave!"