MusicWorks runs two residential chamber music courses each summer for young string players and pianists aged approximately 14-18. The groups are carefully selected in advance to match playing ability and experience with each student playing in two or three different groups. The music is sent out before the course to allow thorough individual preparation. During the course each ensemble works for around an hour and a half per day and receives coaching sessions, often with the teacher playing as a member of the group. After a few days every group plays for each other in a House Concert – a particularly supportive audience as everyone listening, including the teachers, is also playing. Towards the end of the course everyone plays in concerts in local community venues such as residential homes for the elderly or hospitals and the final day of the course is open for friends and family to come and enjoy the results of all the work.
Music is a language and its function is to communicate at the point where other languages stop. In a competitive environment it can take on the nature of a sport and become merely a vehicle for a demonstration of expertise. MusicWorks differs from other courses principally in that competition has no place within the course. The courses are designed for a wider age and ability range than other courses bringing younger or less experienced players into contact with those further along the same path. The course size is deliberately limited so everyone gets to know each other well.