You may hear us say this, and say again, about this festival: This is not like any other festival you’ve been to. Part of the reason for that is because of the content: it’s all *exclusively* orchestra-related. All activities – workshops, practice sessions, small groups, large group rehearsals and performances – are related to playing multi-part pieces in an ensemble setting. You may have taken individual workshops like this, at other festivals, but at The Symposium, it's the whole enchilada.
Even our ‘workshops’ (I almost hesitate to call them that) are not in the traditional mold. Instead of giving you a schedule of classes to choose from (like a high-school schedule), each person will take the same set of workshops, from each instructor; you will rotate around so that in the end everyone will have had everything from all three instructors. Even the sessions themselves are not easily defined; they may not have a specific ‘topic’ like you are used to. Some sessions will emphasize particular techniques, that are useful in ensemble play. Some sessions might be ‘specialty groups’ that center on a particular instrument (like the bowed dulcimer, or the bass, or the baritone). About the only ‘topic’ that can be identified as a concrete subject is that of ‘dynamics’. This is such an important part of ensemble playing; and it will be approached from two angles: one is learning to listen for dynamics (ear training for ensemble players); and the other is specific playing techniques that will enable you, the musician, to control those dynamics in your playing. Each instructor will certainly have his own particular approach to this topic, and you will benefit from hearing from each of them.
So… there will not be a ‘signup’ sheet, as in other festivals, for you to choose what workshops to take. Instead, we will guide you through the courses that our instructors will proscribe and provide.
Hope that makes sense to you! As said already, ‘this is not your typical dulcimer festival’.
Rehearsals: Each of our guest instructors / conductors will bring an orchestral piece to the Symposium, to present to the group. We have not imposed any ‘qualifications’ on our instructors, so they are free to bring whatever they like. At this point I don’t even know what pieces they will bring, but I have heard enough whispers to know that they will be quite eclectic!
Each instructor will conduct a large-group rehearsal, once each day; so you will have three such learning opportunities each day. Each full day of the retreat (Tues, Wed, Thur) you will follow this, so you will have ample opportunity to learn all three pieces.
Does this sound exciting to you? I can’t wait, myself!