Chamber music experience from the earliest stages of playing can be a great part of the journey of life-long amateur music-making. Some of my pupils’ parents were so tempted by the fun to be had from the mix of music and socialising in small groups, about fifteen years ago I started to build a small pool of adult starters and restarters. This format gives the flexibility to organise sessions for whoever is around. For these adults, there is no pressure to perform or to practise – the music is always aimed at the current technical level of the players. Composing and arranging materials means quite a lot of extra work for me but nothing is ever wasted, and everything we use evolves for use with a variety of instrumentations and standards. (And it helps that I can play violin, viola or cello!)
Inevitably, over time some people will move away to take up new jobs but this doesn’t seem to be a handicap to the keenies, who want to keep their ensembles and friendships going. Ruth and Alison were reunited earlier this week for a happy session of Bach and Telemann. The fact that they are now living in cities in different parts of the country hasn’t affected their ability to play well together, despite gaps between meeting up. Thank you to Ruth for ‘travelling with fiddle’, and to Alison for the delicious lunch.