Courses 2018

  • The Timetable
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    Choosing your Courses
    First and foremost, ensure that none of the sessions of your chosen courses clash. Several courses run over more than one session, and the sessions do not always follow immediately after each other. Check the crosses on the timetable carefully. We realise that some courses will clash, but this is the inevitable consequence of offering such a wide range of subjects. You need to decide whether you want to try something completely new, or whether you wish to stick with the familiar. You also need to think about whether you wish to concentrate on one area, or have as much variety as possible. Whatever you decide, you must commit to the courses as timetabled, as missing classes to attend sessions of other courses can only happen if approved by BOTH tutors concerned.
    Consider your own personal stamina. It could be possible to enrol for courses that fill every session, but you might find yourself exhausted by the middle of the week! There is entertainment of one sort or another every evening, and you could end up having a lot of late nights on top of a heavy schedule during the day. We encourage students to organise their own ad hoc groups, to ensure that they can make the sort of music they want to, even if it isn’t available on the timetable. In the past such groups have included madrigal singing, recorder groups and doo-wap singing. If you think you might be interested in setting up a group of this type, either put a note on the M4P facebook page,, or let us have details to put in Summer School News, or put up a notice once you are at the school.
  • S - Symphony Orchestra
    Symphony Orchestra
    Aims to join together the various instrumental courses. For those who are less experienced orchestral players, it will give a certain amount of cover and support. For those already playing in orchestras, it will give an opportunity to build on technique and work with a different conductor for a week. Percussionists If you wish to play percussion in the symphony orchestra please apply for this course.
  • SWO - Symphonic Wind Orchestra
    Symphonic Wind Orchestra
    A large ensemble for wind, brass and percussion, playing a mixture of original works and arrangements to stimulate and challenge. Percussionists If you wish to play percussion in the symphonic wind orchestra please apply for this course.
  • C - Choir
    Does exactly what it says on the tin! Suitable for anyone, including those of us who have always secretly wanted to sing in a choir and those of us who haven't sung since school (regardless of how long ago that was). This is best described as a fantastic bonding experience for all who attend. Fun warm-ups, little bits of useful information about about how to make a decent noise and exciting repertoire all make for an uplifting end to each day.
  • BS - Brass + Sax
    This course is open to Brass players and Saxophone players of all abilities and levels of experience. We will rehearse a wide variety of music and musical styles as a group ensemble. The pieces to be played will be tailored to the students enrolled on the course, most of the material being arranged specifically for the course. Time will be spent working on a number of pieces and focusing on improving each player’s music reading, interpretation and technique in a supportive environment where we aim to make noticeable improvements through the week. The group will perform a piece or two in the summer school final concert.
  • BW - Brass Workshop
    Brass Workshop
    This course is open to all brass players. The course will involve playing in small groups with a focus on improving sight reading, rehearsal techniques and performing without a conductor. In addition we will touch upon the physical and mental challenges involved in playing a brass instrument such as breathing, stamina and production. Time will be spent helping individuals progress in their weaker areas within a supportive group context.
  • F - Folk
    Songwriting: The Times They Are A Changing
    We will look at protest songs from the 50s onwards focusing on writers such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Leon Rossellson, Ed Pickford and Billy Bragg. We will then go on to write songs reflecting political, environmental and social issues. We will also cover basic songwriting techniques and structure as well as melody and harmony.
  • U - Ukulele
    This is our fourth year of delivering a progressive ukulele course, aimed at both beginners and intermediate players. We will cover all the initial playing skills and continue to develop them across the week. In addition to song accompaniments and a wide range of basic playing techniques, we will also cover finger picking, melodic playing and working as part of an instrumental ensemble. This will be an enjoyable course with lots of scope for fun and personal development.
  • Playing in the Ceilidh Band
    This will be an opportunity for instrumentalists to play traditional music as part of a band. The music will be suitable for all playing abilities and any singers or non instrumentalists will have the option of playing percussion parts or easy ukulele chords. During the Folk sessions, we will study the traditional styles of Irish, American and Northumbrian dance music. We will also write tunes reflecting these styles which may be included as part of our performance at the end of the week.
    Ceilidh dress code this year will be: Characters / Aliens from the Science Fiction genre.
  • J - Jazz
    - This course is now FULL
    In 2018 the Jazz courses will be led by Richard Ormrod and Paul Baxter, with support from Julian Martin and Mark Chandler. Mark will be leading separate breakout courses and Julian will lead 1st Steps in Improvisation. We will separate the Jazz students into groups on the Saturday based on experience and interest. Jazz 1 will focus on developing basic improvisation skills, ensemble musicianship and developing familiarity with different subgenres & styles found within Jazz. Jazz 2 will be looking at ideas around building solos, developing a personal improvisational vocabulary and expanding a harmonic palette we will make sure that none of the Jazz sessions will have more than 16 members and the Jazz tutors will split groups to make sure everyone gets attention? The Jazz 1 group is invariably larger than the other. It really helps the tutors plan for the sessions if students can be as specific as possible in the ‘About You’ forms, particularly in the ‘Your Plans section’!

    Students who wish to enrol on the Jazz Improvisation courses should already be fairly proficient in playing their chosen instrument if they wish to benefit fully from the course. Students will be expected to attend both timetabled sessions.
  • WM - World Music
    World Music
    - This course is now FULL
    After previous years' forays into Calypso and Salsa, Richard Ormrod and Paul Baxter will be working together with you to investigate a specific field of World Music - expect beautiful melodies, fascinating rhythms and interesting, fun-filled sessions from this engaging tutorial team.
  • PV - Pop Voice
    Pop Voice
    This class will focus on solo singing as well as looking at vocal technique and delivery. The songs will be a mixture of classic pop material and modern songs but at the heart of each study will be a great lyric! Much time will be spent working on song interpretation and delivery. All the repertoire will be provided by the tutor at the summer school, but the tutor is also open to song suggestions from the students where this is practically possible. This class will work towards a group performance but there will be opportunities for solo performing in class and in the informal student concerts. There will also be a focus on general musicianship and performance skills.
    The class will cover the following topics:
    • Physical and vocal warm ups
    • Rhythm work
    • Microphone technique
    • Song interpretation
    • Performance techniques
    • Audience communication
    • Song arrangements
    • Harmony singing
  • JV - Jazz Voice
    Jazz Voice
    - This course is now FULL
    In this class, a number of key areas will be covered in relation to jazz singing not just as a vocalist but also as a musician and a performer. To help improve all round skills, we will focus on songs that have been chosen by the tutor as well as an individual song chosen by each student with which they are already familiar. We will examine phrasing of the melody, rhythmic feel, improvisational methods and performance skills through this repertoire. This class will work towards the solo performances of your chosen pieces and time will be spent on the arrangement of each piece in collaboration with the accompanist. We will also focus on learning about vocal technique and warm ups, practise methods and general musicianship skills.
    Class Songs:
    • Skylark - Carmichael and Mercer
    • So In love -
    Cole Porter
    • Day In, Day Out -
    Bloom and Mercer
    The class will cover the following topics:
    • Physical and vocal warm-ups
    • Voice technique
    • Rhythm work
    • Jazz-style phrasing and expression
    • Basic improvisation
    • Choosing repertoire and exploring jazz standards
    • Using a microphone
    • Creating intros and endings
    • Understanding charts
    • Setting song keys and transposing
    • Band communication skills
  • A - Big Band
    Big Band - This course requires Trumpet and Trombone players
    This course is aimed at the traditional Big Band line-up (normally 5 Saxes, 4-5 Trombones, 4-5 Trumpets, Bass, Guitar, Piano and Percussion) and may also include some guest vocalists. A wide range of pieces in a variety of traditional big band styles will be studied.
    If certain instruments are oversubscribed (
    often the case with saxophones in particular), it may be necessary to either direct students to other courses (such as Saxophone Choir), or for students to take turns in playing.
    The course is intended to develop and improve ensemble playing by students in a wide range of different big band styles.
  • JD - Dixieland
    Dixieland Jazz
    If you have a hankering to play this sort of music but have not known where to start, then this is the course for you. This is not by any means a purist course so whilst it is directed at the standard Dixieland line-up of trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano, guitar/banjo, bass and drums, all instruments are welcome. Some of the repertoire will be learned by ear to enable the ensemble to perform whilst marching. You will be expected to be familiar with at least the chords of C, C7, F, F7, G, G7 in the equivalent key on your instrument to C major concert and ideally the equivalents in the keys of Bb, Eb, F and Ab concert. Lead and harmony guide parts will be provided on the course.
  • 1ST - 1st steps in Improvisation
    1st steps in Improvisation
    This course offers an opportunity for students who have little or no experience in improvisation to explore the principles and put them into practice in a relaxed environment. We will look how to decide on a pool of notes that can be applied to a given musical situation primarily using simple modes. This course is designed to be fun and stress free, so we will also look at "Magic scales" that can be used to ensure that the performer is never capable of playing a "wrong" note when improvising.
  • E - Laptop Orchestra
    - This course is NOT available
    Max class 12 students
    The Laptop Orchestra is an ensemble where your laptop computer becomes your musical instrument. By the nature of the ensemble laptop orchestra pieces are rarely taken off the shelf to play, so in addition to being an instrument for performance your laptop also becomes a toolbox for creating, recording and processing audio to make sound-objects for use in performing pieces.
    The focus of the course is equally about the making and the performing of new work and as such it will involve aspects of composing, sound recording and sound processing in order to create the materials for making new music.
    This year the course is going to take In C by Terry Riley as a reference point and one of the first tasks will be to understand what that piece entails. Then by adopting various aspects of In C we will create an entirely new piece for performance later in the week.
    There will be
    no computer coding in this course.
    The Laptop Orchestra will suit anyone interested in taking sound for a walk and making music with it – being a practiced instrumentalist or singer is less important than having the desire to experiment with an open pair of ears!
    To take this course you will need to bring a laptop computer, some external computer loudspeakers (the internal ones typically have insufficient power), an external microphone (particularly essential if the laptop doesn’t have a built-in microphone) and headphones. You will also need a MIDI interface. This can be as simple or sophisticated as you like, but a basic single MIDI In and MIDI Out USB device will be ample which can be sourced for about ten pounds.
    The laptop doesn’t need to be the latest and the greatest and to be able to successfully join and perform in the orchestra a typical system requirement would be a Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 or 10 machine with a Pentium 4® or Celeron® compatible processor or higher and 1 GB RAM.
    The laptop will need to be set up with the capability to record audio and edit sound files. Sources of highly suitable good quality and reliable audio recording and editing applications available at no cost are detailed below. A Laptop Orchestra Player in the form of a small application will be provided by the tutor and will need to be loaded on to the laptop to enable it to take part in the ensemble performance.
    The two pieces of software which you will need on installed on your laptop are:
    Audacity – for recording and processing sound.
    Max Runtime – for running the Laptop Orchestra Player.
    Both are available at no cost and can be obtained as described below. We will bring installation files with us to the course as a back up, but it will be preferable if you are able to locate, download and install the software using the laptop you intend to play on the course.
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    This software is available here:
    Click on Download Audacity and follow the instructions as for any download and installation process
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    Max Runtime
    In order to run the Laptop Orchestra Player which we will provide on the course, we will need a small application called Runtime on each laptop. Runtime is the free ‘playback’ bit of a much larger piece of software called Max. To obtain it, go to the Cycling 74 website and find this page:
    From here download Max Runtime by scrolling down to the section labelled
    Max/MSP/Jitter 5
    And click on Download Windows Runtime 5.1.9
    The file you download will need to be unzipped and installed. If you have any doubts about how to do this just bring the downloaded file with you on your laptop and we will help with the installation.
  • G - Composing Skills - Two's Company
    Max Class 10 students - This course is now FULL
    This course is aimed at early stage and developing composing students who will benefit from a quite tightly defined brief. After a group introduction on the first day, the course will be taught through one-to-one tutorials of about 20 minutes each day supplemented with support at other times during play-throughs, try-outs and performance.
    The focus for the course this year is instrumental duet writing. Students will approach this by developing both instrumental familiarity and their composing technique through referencing existing two part writing.
    The M4P Summer School timetable presents a wide array of exciting and enticing courses. If you are considering enrolling on this course please resist the temptation to fill your entire day with courses! To get the most out of COMPOSING SKILLS it is crucial that you leave sufficient space free during each day for time to develop your composing. This will often mean going off to find a quiet place to work and write for several timetable sessions a day.
  • CC - Clarinet Choir
    A course exploring the many and varied works for clarinet choir including original works alongside effective arrangements. We hope for as full an ensemble as possible so do bring auxiliary instruments. There will be the opportunity to try other members of the clarinet family.

    Directed by George Sleightholme

  • SC - Sax Choir
    A course for all saxophones. Repertoire will include original works for saxophone choir as well as recent and popular arrangements of well-known works. The two sessions allow for two different sets of music to be rehearsed.

    Directed by Stephanie Reeve
  • CW - Chamber Winds
    Tutors: Stephanie Reeve & George Sleightholme

    Participants will be divided into ensembles as numbers and instruments allow, and groups will rehearse independently as well as being visited by one of the tutors for coaching each day. Music will be provided by tutors and will include small groups (trios, quartets and quintets) and larger ensembles (octets, dectets). While we aim to use original music some arrangements may be used to allow for numbers and variety of instruments. Please do bring your own music if you have anything you would like to try. Groups may change halfway through the week. Confidence in music reading is essential for this course as students will be required to work without tutor guidance at times although input will be given on rehearsal technique and ensemble skills. Please fill in the student information form with details of your current playing level and previous chamber music experience. Tutors may contact students before the start of summer school to ensure that they are placed in suitable groups. Less advanced players may like to try Woodwind Ensemble. Informal performances to be given in the final session.
  • WE - Woodwind Ensembles
    A larger directed wind ensemble which will include new arrangements alongside standard works for large wind ensemble, rearranged to suit numbers applying. While we aim for one to a part this is dependent on numbers applying and parts available. Easier parts may be available for those who require it. While there will be some variety of repertoire these rehearsals will eventually focus on two or three pieces for the final performance, with the aim of developing techniques such as listening and playing with good ensemble skills. For smaller, one-to-a-part groups please see Chamber Winds.

    Coaching from George Sleigtholme
  • CS - Chamber Strings
    Tutors: Helen Dawson, Clare Douglas.
    The chamber strings course aims to provide a supportive environment in which students can explore ensemble playing.
    The week will begin with tutor-lead large group sessions, both with and without instruments, to develop skills of listening, holding a musical line independently and leading/following. Suitable warm-up repertoire will be introduced in these sessions, to be developed during the week, and we will look at a range of problem-solving techniques for rehearsals.
    Students will go on to work independently in smaller groups (trios, quartets or quintets as numbers/ instruments allow), with the support of the tutors. Each ensemble will work on a range of repertoire at a suitable level, choosing one piece for informal performance to other course participants at the end of the week.
    We hope that participants will come away with improved rehearsal skills, a greater awareness of each other while playing and a sense of achievement at having performed. 

  • SO - String Orchestra
    This course aims to provide a good introduction to string orchestra playing for those new to large ensemble work, whilst allowing more experienced players to develop their ensemble skills, learn to lead a section, or take a solo role. A range of repertoire, tailored to suit applicants, will be studied during the week.
  • SS - Classical Singing
    This is a class focusing on the classical music repertoire - Opera, Oratorio, English song, Chanson and Lieder. This will be an invigorating, but fun class where we investigate together all the elements which make a performance (vocal technique, language, posture, interpretation etc). Please bring repertoire that you are familiar with but also use it as an opportunity to think outside the box - try that piece you’ve always wanted to have a go at but never had the courage to do so. Please bring enough repertoire to cover all the week as ideally everyone will perform every day. Also please bring copies for our wonderful pianist.
  • SFT - Singing for the Terrified
    Singing can be terrifying for many reasons - often we are told we can’t sing from an early age and we lose confidence; singing can often be a very emotional and exposing experience, sometimes it’s easier to hide away etc. On this course we aim to have as much fun as possible using games, vocal warm ups and group singing in a myriad of styles. There could be the opportunity for solo stand outs if you’re feeling inspired! We will also explore techniques to help us quell our fears. There is no wrong on this course so please do join us.
  • OTP - Opera/Music Theatre Performance
    This is a new class in which we plan to learn, stage and perform a collage of music from the Opera and Music Theatre repertoire - the repertoire has not been confirmed yet but it’s likely to include the Brindisi from 'La Traviata' and the opening of Sondheim’s 'Sweeney Todd' . This is an ensemble class but there will be opportunities for standouts and solos. No staged experience is needed just a will to give it a go!
  • P - Percussion Ensembles
    Orchestral and Band Percussion
    The Orchestral and Band Percussion Course sees some major and exciting changes at M4P for 2013. Whether you are new to the percussion section or you want to improve your abilities, this course will give you the basic transferable skills enabling you to survive and thrive in an orchestra or brass/wind band percussion section. Please note that it is a requirement that to play percussion within the Symphony Orchestra or Symphonic Wind Band you must enrol on those individual courses as a Percussionist. Because of this, course numbers will be limited to the various ensembles. Also please note there will be no percussion ensemble within this course; please sign up for the separate Percussion Ensemble course where numbers will not be so limited. Each session will include sectional instruction based on the instruments and music being prepared by the Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Band to be studied that day followed by full rehearsal with the course ensemble. There will also be the opportunity to look at percussion parts from the orchestral repertoires to gain experience in sight reading and look at the different ways percussion music is set out. Whilst experience in playing any kind of percussion is not required, an ability to read music is a distinct advantage. The course will give both group and individual instruction on the following instruments: bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, timpani, xylophone and glockenspiel, tambourine, triangle and miscellaneous percussion. Instruments will be provided, however students are encouraged to bring any percussion instruments, sticks and beaters and any percussion music they may wish to study during the week. The course tutor will be on hand within the percussion sections to guide students through the music and to give advice on techniques to improve students playing abilities and build confidence towards the final performances at the conclusion of the week, and will also be available at the end of the days sessions to give one-to-one instruction if required.
    Percussion Ensemble - This course is now FULL
    So much more than just "CRASH, BANG, WALLOP!", percussion ensemble takes an accommodating and extremely musical approach to the diverse and exciting world of all things hittable. Improve your listening skills and build your confidence by playing from existing percussion scores as well as exploring your creative side with the opportunity for collaborative and group devised work. Music reading is advantageous, but by no means essential! Performances will take place at the end of the week. A great course for building on your rhythmic abilities, gaining confidence in your performance and/ or exploring a world outside of your regular musical endeavours!
  • Dalcroze Eurhythmics
    Dalcroze Eurhythmics explores the elements of music (rhythm, pitch, phrasing, form etc.) through whole body movement. Exercises might involve stepping a rhythm, feeling a steady pulse in various parts of the body, or mapping out the phrases of a piece of music in movement.
    Objects such as balls, hoops and scarves are used to help the body feel specific movement qualities: a ball might be bounced to feel the weight of the downbeat, or rolled to express the duration of a note. A scarf might be used to show the line of a musical phrase. Through these exercises a physical feeling for music is developed, increasing rhythmic confidence, developing co-ordination and control, and building skills of communication, expression and creativity. The morning warm-up sessions are open to all, regardless of prior experience or musical background.
  • Performance Anxiety
    Following on from last year's successful trial, Merel van der Knoop will be running a drop in session on performance anxiety for those who feel nervous about playing or singing in public.
    She will be giving tips on how best to prepare before a public performance, and techniques on how to cope during the performance itself. During the one-hour workshop, participants are invited to bring their instruments along to put some of these techniques in action.
    Please sign up for these classes at the beginning of the week as places are limited.
  • Ear Training - Learn to play what you hear
    For jazz students and brass players from other genres. Jazz students, learn to play tunes and improvise by ear, enhancing your theoretical knowledge. Brass players, learn to hear notes before you play them making the mis- pitching of notes a thing of the past. Composers, create a link between what you hear and the written composition. We will work mainly with jazz based material although no knowledge of jazz or improvisation is required. This will be a drop-in workshop available during sessions 1, 2, &3 the tutor will have a signing up sheet.
    Coaching by Mark Chandler

"And this shall be for a bond between us: that we are of one blood you and I; that we have cried peace to all and claimed fellowship with every living thing; that we hate war and sloth and greed, and love fellowship, and that we shall go singing to the fashioning of a new world." William Morris.

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