Saturday, September 4, 2010

Back from Venezuela!

What an honor, privilege and a joy to work with the over 50 trombone players that attended the seminar put on by the El Sistema program in Caracas Venezuela!

The week was so full. We started at 9 in the morning for 3 or 4 hours and again in the afternoon starting at about 3 for the same amount of time. Plus, we listened to 2 concerts a day!

There were 16 of us from NEC who were working with the students, woodwind, trombones, strings, percussion, big band. We were treated extremely well. The appreciation and the spirit of the students was almost overwhelming.

The trombones were one of the biggest numbers of like instruments at the seminar. Maybe the biggest! The ages ranged from 8 to 30years old I believe. The 8 year old named Kasin, was SO talented and SERIOUS! He never lost his focus. Really impressive for anyone let alone an 8 year old!

The trombone teachers who were present included Miguel Sanchez, the main teacher who is a fantastic trombonist, performer, teacher, person and founder of the Veneszuela Trombone Ensemble. His sister Melissa is also a terrific teacher, coach, performer and person. Their father, Angel Sanchez was also participating in my classes and was a big teacher for many years in Caracas. He was present in all the classes. Really inspiring.

Our times together were spent in group warm-ups, choir, solos, quartets, many discussions and workshops on all aspects of playing. Lots of laughter, serious times, the deeper questions about music and profound musical connection to the spirit of the music and above all an incredible humanity.

I will write more about the specifics soon. I will also be posting more pictures so you can get more of a flavor looking at the wonderful people participating. Our theme turned out to be, music + technique = Art. They were so grateful that the music was the most upfront feature and that technique was to be used as a facilitating skill for the communication of the music. They totally understood that attitude and feeling is key to connecting to the music. The joy and thankfulness I felt from the fact they got my (and Carol's) essential message, was monumental and would be difficult for me to put into words.

More soon!! Stay tuned!