I spent three weeks this summer at Curtis for a summer festival for instrumentalists. The program included orchestra, chamber music, choir, and theory. The faculty included Curtis teachers, and Curtis alumni, as well as some other professional musicians from the area. Their were about 100 program participants.
The day began with choir at 8:45 am. I have never sang in a choir before and am not the most willling singer. But because everyone in the program is required to participate, I grudgingly sang in the soprano section of the choir. Everyone took a theory class, which covered all of the compositional era’s very broadly. During the day, we had about three hours of private practice which I used to learn orchestra and chamber music, and also to practice solo repertoire for lessons. Chamber music was a two hour block in which I played the second violin part in a Dvorak piano quintet. Three times a week coaches came to help the group make decsions and to give advice. Setionals were also part of the daily routine. One of the faculty would lead a specific instrument and help them to learn their orchestra music before the rehersal that evening. We had two hours of orchestra rehersal every night with our conductor, who changed every week.
I thought this program was well organized and needed very few changes to the schedule throught the weeks. The teachers were also very helpful and I feel they imparted their knowledge very well, although I would have liked more than three private lessons. The orchestra was so much fun to be apart of because the music was a joy, and the conductors were so great to work with. Each conductor had a different style in which they ran their rehersals, but each yielded great results. The chamber music was amazing because most of the time the group rehersed alone, which taught me how to run a rehearsal and critique the group without a teacher. Another wonderful aspect of the program is that you can ask any questions of the school or the program, which as a curious young musician, was very helpful. I live in a world where classical music is a thing of the past. That is difficult because classsical music is something so intrical to my way of life. Being apart of the Curtis Summerfest let me be around other young musicians with the same way of life. This program gave a great insight into conservatory life and was overall such a positive experience for me as a musician.