Frequently Asked Questions

What is the range of ages, and what are the standards?

Students range from 11-21 years and range from about grade 5 (or playing for 2-3 years) up to, and beyond, Diploma level. One of the main points of the course, and one which makes it so unusual, is that we can be very flexible and our orchestras and groups will be different each year as we work to the strengths of the players. We try to ensure that students have the chance to play with better players, so their music-making and confidence grows, but also that they have some repertoire they can manage easily and have fun playing.

How do you deal with the difference in standards?

By having several orchestras and orchestral groups and placing people carefully, so that everyone gets stretched but no-one struggles. We carefully monitor the repertoire that every single student plays via the instrumental tutors.

What if I've not done a lot of orchestral playing?

Those who are getting used to playing with a large orchestra play some items of repertoire in the appropriate orchestra(s) and do some work in smaller ensembles. We make sure you grow, but don’t get frustrated or bogged down.

What if I'm a high flyer?

Then you will play with Sinfonia and may want to audition to play a movement from a concerto. You will no doubt want to play Chamber Music during ‘Options’ and chamber groups are chosen to play in the main concerts and many have their work recorded. Tutors and Conductors do their very best to make opportunities available.

What do we do throughout the day?

The day begins with half an hour of Gospel Choir, Samba Percussion or Alexander Technique, then it’s breakfast. There are two main rehearsals in the morning, then, after lunch there is time for  a sports activity with the house-staff, or leisure time. Everyone sings in Course Choir, then there is another rehearsal, then Options before and after supper. After that there are activities with the House-staff and that might be anything! Barn Dance or Line-Dancing; Students’ Revue; Summer Party; Karaoke; Films and of course the famous Tutors’ Concert where the tutors play for us! A sample schedule is available to view here.

What if I don't want to do games or swimming?

You might to use the time to practise or read, or to use a computer. You may want to watch the games, or have a rest. Any one of those things is fine, so long as the house-staff are able to check where you are.

What if I'm not happy with what I'm doing?

Once all activities have got underway, each student is asked individually whether they are happy with their orchestral placement, options, etc. The feedback is carefully monitored and then, through our instrumental tutors and house-staff, we try our best to give everyone all the opportunities they want to take up during the week.

What if I want to sing?

There is a Gospel Choir, Chamber Choir and Course Choir at EYSM and there are other vocal ‘Options’ which will be announced when the course is launched.

What if I really want to play the piano?

The course is for orchestral instrument players, but pianists play piano in the Chamber Music options. They can also use one of their Option slots to accompany singers on the Vocal Course and can be supported in learning accompaniment as a skill. Then then there are Jazz and Big Band ‘Options’ where piano or keyboard is often needed too.

Can I play a concerto?

You can audition to play a movement from a concerto, if you would like – please tick the box on the Application Form if you think you would like to do so. Then, in early summer you will be asked to send a recording of your performance electronically (accompanied or non-accompanied) to our musical team and your teacher will be asked to agree that the movement you wish to play is concert ready.  You will receive a reply about your recording before the course and you may be asked to audition again in person on the first day of the course.

What are you main aims for us all?

For everyone, at every level, to get the most possible out of the course. For everyone to have fun whilst their musicianship moves on to another level. For people to join together to make music in ways they’ve not tried before. For the music we make to be uplifting, for players and audience.

Is our work audio-recorded?

Yes, we begin to record on Thursday and record a lot of the work for study purposes and we record all final performances.

When can parents and friends come to listen?

They can come to listen from 15.00 to around 19.00 on Saturday, the final day of the course. However, if parents live close enough, or are arriving in Surrey the night before, they can also join us for the Course Performances on the Friday afternoon and evening. Details of the times will be sent by email during the week, as soon as we know the final programmes.

How do I apply for a bursary?

Read the section on bursaries at the bottom of the ‘About EYSM’ page.

Can we pay by instalments?

Yes, you pay the deposit when you are accepted, then you can either pay the remainder all at once in April, when you receive the course pack, or by instalments in April, May and June. If you apply late, you should ask about late instalments.

When will I know if my application has been successful?

We will respond to you within 2 days of receiving your application.

Will I receive an information pack before I arrive?

Yes you will. There will be lots of information and you can also telephone or email.

What will I need to bring?

Comfortable clothes for playing instruments and playing games. For the concerts you will need a white shirt and black trousers or black jeans. You will need towels but bedding is provided.

Don’t forget to bring the instrument you want to play! (Unless you’re a percussionist)

What is the accommodation like?

Twin, triple rooms or small ‘dorms’ – according to numbers and ages. Shower blocks have single cubicles and plenty of toilets. Meals are in the Dining Hall and the food is hot and cold buffets with choice at every meal. There are vegetarian options and we can cater for all food allergies.

Who are the house staff?

They are the pastoral staff who look after you when you are not in rehearsal. They are all involved in music performance and all hold enhanced DBS disclosures. Their job descriptions are available to parents on request and our Safeguarding Policy is sent out with the course pack. They cover a range of ages, some are young adults who have been on the course in previous years and want to give something back. Others are older. All have special skills and most are either qualified teachers or nurses.

What's so special about EYSM?

  • Young people join us from across the world
  • The range of experience is exciting
  • We play a huge amount of music throughout the week
  • The Conductors and Tutors are amazing
  • We create stunning performances, whilst having so much fun

Get in touch

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