It is a fundamental part of the Stringwise philosophy to accept all comers, without audition. In order to target the music to the levels of the children, we try to get a useful idea of their playing standard and (sometimes even more importantly) their experience from the registration form. To make this work, we have access to a large library of orchestral and chamber music and aim to be flexible in the allocation of music to groups.
Holiday courses run in the Easter and Summer holidays and we usually use Hornsey School for Girls in North London.
We go to a lot of trouble to place children in a group where they will feel comfortable, both from a playing and a social point of view. The optimal placing puts a child where they can cope comfortably with some of the music, and be challenged by other pieces.
Stringwise Courses in Brief
- The age range is between 4 and 14, with a pre-instrumental group for 4-6-year-olds;
- courses are four days non-residential from 9.15 to 3.15;
- we usually have 80 -100 children attending;
- children are divided by age and experience into five strands: Rainbow, Red, Purple, Blue and White; Rainbow is the youngest and White the oldest;
- the courses are generously staffed; typically, there are two tutors and at least one student helper in each strand with one member of staff dedicated to supervising break times, and dealing with any other problems.
One of the main strengths of Stringwise is its emphasis on chamber music; every child in the top three groups (approximately age 7 upwards) will have two sessions of chamber music per day. In addition, each instrumental strand forms an orchestra and a feature of the final concert is a piece written for a multi-level ensemble incorporating all four orchestras.
We also have a General Musicianship element which changes from course to course, recently including dance, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, story-telling, composition and singing. We bring in specialists who can contribute unique and interesting approaches to this important topic.