What is the course about?
This online course is designed to look in depth at repertoire to be played in the group at a later time. You will work towards producing a virtual ensemble recording, to be put together with separate individual parts.
You will also have the chance to listen to recordings, play along with backing tracks, study and read from full scores plus discuss practice methods and ensemble techniques during a weekly video call forum. This online course is designed for advanced players who are interested in joining the practical chamber music class at a time when it is possible to offer it again on site. For more information, read tutor Gisela Meyer’s reflections on studying chamber music online.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Studying scores to understand how the parts fit together into a musical whole
- Features such as form, texture, harmony, rhythm, rubato, tempo changes etc
- Listening and comparing different recordings, playing along with them and working towards own, informed choices
- Playing in time with a metronome and backing tracks, provided by fellow players
(one at a time), to understand in detail the relationship of own part each of the others
- How to use gestures for leading and following; non-verbal communication with your ensemble
- Techniques for balancing and blending within an ensemble
- Practice and rehearsal skills such as isolating and interpreting phrases.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Demonstrate your own part for a small ensemble with some confidence
• Play in tune and in time with a metronome/backing track or other students virtually
• Understand how your own part fits into the musical ensemble, demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of the repertoire studied
• Co-operate with others in a small group to identify problems and find solutions
• Respond positively to musical critique and suggestions from your tutor and peers
• Record your part to put together virtually in a small group.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
You need to be at least a Grade 6 standard (piano: Grade 8+) and have confident music reading skills. You will be playing parts for small groups - up to two ensembles – with the view to eventually play these ensembles in person when it is safe to return to normal teaching practices. You will need to work co-operatively with others. You need to be able to follow written and verbal instructions in English and participate in class discussions. Some experience recording your own playing will be advantageous.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Weekly video call discussions of ensemble works, individual parts, techniques and skills
• Self-directed study and group study of materials on Google Classroom
• Tutor explanation, presentation and some live demonstration
• Playing along with the tutor and/or students in breakout rooms (one part at a time)
• Practicing parts for pieces with a variety of other instrumentalists in groups of 2 or more
• Analysing and critiquing recordings of chamber music and some student recordings
• Some listening and score reading will be required as homework.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please have your instrument, a pencil and eraser, metronome and a music stand or a device you can clearly and comfortably read music from (computer/tablet). The ability to print your parts will help, otherwise using a device that you can annotate a score digitally is also acceptable (support can be provided for this if needed). The tutor will provide or recommend suitable music and backing tracks for the various ensembles within the class, but you are also welcome to suggest music you are interested in playing.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may be interested in further ensemble courses, string, wind, or piano courses, plus score reading, theory and musicianship courses.