The National Chamber Music Course celebrates this year its 33rd year at Princess Helena College and 44th year since the course began in 1974. It is a week long residential course for string players aged 10 to 18 years who have attained a standard of grade 5 or above.
The course is unique in its accent on all-round musicianship and personality. Its aim is to develop both playing technique and ensemble skills through the medium of chamber music. To achieve this there is a high ratio of teachers to students.
Each student's day includes working in two chamber groups, predominantly string quartets, rehearsing with orchestra and choir and taking part in instrumental workshops. As a
complement to this basic programme, there are regular sessions that give students a broader opportunity for self-expression. These may feature drama, movement, improvisation or other activities that will assist in the development of musical ability.
Daily concerts are given by the teaching faculty or by the students. Students may bring a prepared solo. The course reaches its climax with the final day devoted to concerts, to which all parents are invited.
More Music… The music continues long after the day's chamber and orchestral coaching
have finished. Students can further their playing experience in a relaxed and informal atmosphere after supper. Every evening there is the opportunity to join tutors in instrumental groups to play through repertoire by composers ranging from Bach to Britten. A small group meet in a separate hall on most evenings to sing madrigals, part songs and other small-scale choral works.