Suzuki Violin Workshop

Posted: 4th November 2020

Over half term Highclare Preparatory School Suzuki violinists attended two fantastic workshop days at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall .  The events were a wonderful opportunity for our musicians and successfully ran in a Covid-safe environment by our Midlands Suzuki Trainer, Heather Clemson.

Previously Heather was the Upper Strings teacher at Highclare School and is extremely highly regarded and respected as a Suzuki violin teacher and trainer in the UK. Heather was kind enough to invite our Highclare violin students to attend the course, with their parents present, for the two days and much joy and development took place. The days began with socially distanced Tonalisation, a term which means working in a group on making a great sound and resonance together. This also included fun activities and musical games. Even the parents were included in some of the interactive learning!

We then proceeded to our slotted classes in various areas and rooms at Sutton Town Hall, where highly trained and experienced Suzuki teachers taught group lessons with children grouped by their current learning repertoire. Each class was engaging, innovative and extremely fun with trainees assisting and contributing to each class. The timetable also allowed for each group to have a lesson each day on Steel Pans which all students and parents enjoyed greatly.

Families brought their own packed lunches, drinks and refreshments which they ate in their family bubbles in the main hall. Children were well behaved and maintained their distance admirably thought the course. The afternoon saw us all take two more lessons with different repertoire and teachers. Then at the end of Monday afternoon we had a glorious play together, a Suzuki tradition which means all getting together and playing in as many pieces (from memory) as you can manage, from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, up to the Concerto for Two Violins by J.S. Bach (here played by more than 30 violins in total, who’s counting?!) As in the Tonalisation class, the children were spaced out by coloured markers on the floor to help them remember their safe distancing.

The second day focused on preparing for the final concert which included every lesson group performing their best piece. This was a wonderful opportunity for our students not only to perform and be celebrated but to also hear performances of older students playing Bach, Beethoven and Paganini.

As always the Highclare students present did us proud and I had super comments from all the staff about how delightful and well behaved they were, engaged, focused, kind, with an excellent attitude. I was thrilled to see so many families take up this opportunity including some sibling groups from our schools and I would also like to report that parents who attended were absolutely fantastic, really taking part and supporting their children and the proceedings as a whole. I also had super feedback about the excellent ability of our students and their musical contributions to the days.