Recently I received an invitation from Stefano Chicco - director of Scuola di Musica, "I Minipolifonici", in Trento, Italy - to lead a weekend of workshops as part of the school’s 30th anniversary celebrations. On the way from Verona airport to the school, I could see the vineyards on either side of the road clearly but the mountains were shrouded in mist and low cloud. The next day the skies cleared and I could see how high, and how close, these mountains were. On my final day, it had snowed during the night; the first snow of the season, leaving a picture perfect sprinkling on the highest slopes.
These changes in the weather felt like a metaphor for the musical journeys we all make with our pupils: at first, as if through mist we see only what is closest and most obvious, then we begin to be aware of potential, and we start to build up special musical experiences. And just as each drive through the mountains has its own unique combination of weather and visibility, each part of our shared musical journeys has its own unique qualities.
My visit included some masterclasses with violin and cello pupils, who were very responsive to musical and technical ideas, thanks to the excellent teaching of Andrea Marmolejo and Barbara Bertoldi. One of the highlights of the afternoon was a spontaneous Medieval/Renaissance style cello ‘Jam Session’, on Dudelsack from Superduets 1, and some items from Bags of Style. I loved the way the rhythm riff was initiated by the pupils themselves.
Here’s to another 30 years of music-making at Scuola di Musica, Trento!