Friday, May 30, 2008

Loads of Projects: Workshops! Workshops everywhere!

The current round of workshops are through something called THAMES which is uh. Tower Hamlets... something something. Music Education Service? or something? Anyhow, each of us first years are paired up and sent off to one of the school to lead a three week long project. But there are so many of these set up that if we have extra time we can get paid to do others. So I'm doing three including the one I'm doing for school.

The one for my degree is the only one that has actually started so far. I am paired up with Heather which I just realized that you already know because I wrote about it four posts ago. The other two THAMES workshop I'm working with Glynn who was one of the people that the Masters degree was tested on three years ago. That makes it sound like it was some sort of medical trial, but really what it means is that he was in the first class of people to get a MMus Leadership. Like, in the whole wide world. Which is pretty cool, really. I don't know what we're doing yet because I haven't talked to him. (On list of things to do: talk to Glynn!)

This weekend was a CPD weekend (Continuing Professional Development) which is where some of the tutors come in and lead a workshop for people who either A: are at another school and want to know how this whole 'workshop' thing works B: are at another school and want to know how the Professional Development's outreach arm CONNECT works or C: are auditioning for the masters program or want to take the masters program but can't for whatever reason like scheduling. This was a CPD+ weekend which meant that in addition to the weekend workshop (and workshop leading skills) we also got a bunch of kids on their half term break to come in and participate in a four day workshop that we got to practice our leading in that then culminated in a short performance of collaboratively written pieces on Thursday.

This weekend there were eight of us. I was there because it is always nice to get more experience, Katey and Carey were there from the Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama because they are the outreach dept. there, some other people were there for reasons that make my list of people too long because really I want to get to is: Paul was there because this school in America with a funny name wants to know what this CONNECT program and workshop thing is all about.

Paul Matthews was my theory teacher at Peabody my sophomore year and man-oh-man did it throw me for a loop walking into the Sundial Court music room and finding him there.

Name wise it got a bit confusing that weekend. The leaders/tutors were Paul and John. In the group we had another Paul and John and then a whole slew of C/K names including Carl, Chris, Carey, Katey and Casey. With British accents "Katey" and "Casey" are actually very similar names. The name confusion was not helped by the fact that Katey and I are about the same size, both wear glasses, and are both double bassists. She was cool.

One of the things that was really fun about the CPD+ weekend+ was the lunch time discussions. Lots of talk about how outreach differs from location to location and how schooling and education in general differ from location. I now have an invitation to come down to Cardiff to see what they are doing workshop wise there. (super exciting!) We were also of course talking about what we were learning each day and what we were working on in our own smaller groups sessions which meant that the vibe was quite a lot like university hallways right after a freshman class has let out during the first month of college.

I've obviously had a lot more of this specific type of training than anyone else in the group, but I was still learning buckets and really enjoying the fact that we got feedback immediately and all the time. In the mornings before the kids showed up we would talk about what we were planning to do that day, during lunch we would talk about how the morning sessions went, and in the afternoons we would talk about how the post lunch bits went and what we needed to think about and sort out for the next morning. Lots of really productive work and sketching done on the backs of envelopes in coffee shops.

The kids were also uniformly sweethearts. The age range was supposed to be something like 12-18, but a lot of younger siblings snuck in there so it was really something more like 10-16. They were so very giggly. And the height/developmental difference between 10 year olds and their 12/13 year old siblings?! Sheesh.

No comments: