My first time at the Adult Strings Workshop

It was my first time at the Bathurst Adult Strings Workshop. On walking into the venue, I was immersed by an aura of serenity –  the room filled by beams of afternoon sunlight, the musical murmur of general banter. I was greeted by a host of warm smiles and nods of acknowledgement. It was a wonderful feeling, being surrounded by people who share the same passion for music. A very welcoming atmosphere, indeed.

After a brief introduction from the lively characters of Andrew and Lauren, (violin and viola tutors) it was straight into the music. The repertoire covered a range of styles – jazz, Vivaldi, to modern classical pieces including the crowd favourite Palladio. The scope of music I tend to fiddle with is mostly Mozart or Chopin, so it’s refreshing to be exposed to new stuff of different genres. And of all the music prepared for the workshop, there actually wasn’t one piece I didn’t like!

Innominato visits Bathurst string workshop

I arrived with the expectation of LOADS of music playing, and boy was I not disappointed. It was something close to 12 to 13 hours of formal practice and playing in sectional groups and the whole string orchestra. Plenty of violin playing! Towards the end I started to develop a minor case of shoulder bursitis, perhaps from excessive glorious violin playing, but more likely due to bad posture. Being one of the younger instrumentalists there, I did not dare complain in front of the able-bodied older players…

Among the joys of creating music, the companionship between fellow members was of equal pleasure. Despite the differences in skill (I met a cellist who had only started playing 6 months ago, as well as a violinist who had taught for 25+ years), music as the common interest had created this strong superglue bond with everybody. From sharing pizzas to musical experiences, it was truly a fun time with everyone. My personal favourite shared experience was from Dr Susan West. With her history in music as Principal Flute performer, educator, composer and arranger, she still struggled with the violin despite being able to hear and visualise the music in her mind. She said her fingers simply wouldn’t cooperate. It makes me admire all the experienced instrumentalists who have put in the hard hours developing their fine motor skills to produce magical tones.

It was definitely a fun experience that I’d return to year after year. The workshop had a relaxed and accommodating environment which really helped give me a mental break from my usual practice-hermit habits. I feel music is way more fun, when it’s social and shared, and this workshop is one avenue to start sharing if you haven’t already!

Simon is a violin player who was one of a number of Innominato-ees, who really enjoyed the violin music at the Bathurst Adult Strings Workshop weekend in September 2015. The repertoire for the weekend included Purcell, Vivaldi, Elgar, Karl Jenkins Palladio, Bach and others. It was definitely a creative strings workshop.

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