MusicHolidayItaly (MHI) was created by Gil Jetley, a pianist/teacher with a lifetime experience in music as a second career. (In 2012 he won First Prize at the prestigious International Chopin Competition for amateurs in Warsaw which takes place every three years.). I recently met up with Gil to talk about his piano courses, pianists, repertoire and the pleasures and challenges of playing the piano……
Piano courses and summers schools seem to be more popular than ever now, and MHI is coming up to its third year of summer masterclasses for amateur pianists. What makes yours different from other courses and summer schools?
Well, first, no-one else is doing this in Italy, and secondly, we run not just one masterclass a year but several from Easter to the end of October. We offer both traditional group masterclasses and our unique One-on-One courses which have the added flexibility of participants being able to choose their own dates. Another aspect that makes us different is that we think in terms of “guests” rather than “students” or “participants”. We’re focussed on music coaching of course, but as well as a valuable musical experience we aim to give guests a truly authentic Italian experience.
You mention One-on-One courses – what is a One-on-One course?
It’s a unique concept as far as I know, and ideal if you are shy about performing to a group. A minimum of four hours personal coaching every day, unlimited practise time, and pampered attention from dawn to dusk. We even chauffeur you to and from the airport. It’s a stress-free way to learn a lot in a short time. Actually, our One-on-Ones are more in demand than the more common group masterclasses, possibly because there’s nothing else quite like them.
Who are the tutors?
The main tutor is Course Director Gil Jetley, a pianist/teacher with a lifetime experience in music as a second career. Guest tutors for 2017 still to be confirmed include Martin Roscoe and for 2018 we anticpate having Noriko Ogawa.
What’s new for 2017?
Teacher Symposiums: a chance for piano teachers to meet and learn from colleagues, contribute their own teaching experiences, and support each other in a relaxed inspirational setting. Learn what repertoire others use, review piano methods, discuss how to teach adults, see how your colleagues deal with technique, how they teach theory, prepare students for exams, and which syllabuses they favour. Further information here
For a week in July we are offering a special dedicated course for adult amateur pianists with arthiritis – further details here
You mention you aim to give truly authentic Italian experience. What do you mean by that?
Local cuisine is of course central to any Italian experience. On both group masterclasses and One-on-Ones, we wine and dine guests each evening at locally renowned restaurants. If there’s a piano on hand our guests are welcome to give an impromptu cabaret – the locals love it, and it makes for a great social evening out.
Equally important is our location in the very heart of the Sibilini National Park. Even Italians consider this one of the most beautiful, unspoilt parts of Italy. After the morning masterclass is over we encourage guests to spend at least one afternoon sampling local life through a range of ‘add-ons’ we can arrange.
What kind of ‘add-ons’?
Italian cooking lessons at a local restaurant are very popular, as are guided wine trails. Also visits to the countless mediaeval hilltop towns, many with priceless art in their museums, galleries and churches. For the energetic we can take you on lakeside walks, through forest trails, or up mountain scrambles, all impossibly photogenic with a chance to snap a golden eagle, porcupine, wild boar or even a loan wolf! For a highlight to the week, how about opera under the stars in a Roman amphitheatre? There are so many attractions, often guests follow up a week of music with a few extra days holiday experiencing life the Italian way.
What about the accommodation?
As well as ensuite bedrooms at Montemuse (where the masterclasses take place) there is an organic farm with a restored farmhouse, family chalets and pool just five minutes away. So the whole family can come along on holiday too.
When is the best time to enrol?
Now! It’s really important to enrol early, ideally before Christmas, before the holiday booking season gets into gear. Remember the Sibilini Park is considered one of the most beautiful, unspoilt parts of Italy, and even though it’s far away from the tourist crowds, this region quickly gets booked solid for the summer. We’ve even had to cancel a scheduled course because all nearby accommodation was snapped up. So the earlier you enrol, the sooner we can reserve (and guarantee) your accommodation.
A word from previous participants?
We justly proud of the comments from our guests. You can check out more reviews on our website but here’s a sample from both our groups masterclasses and the One-on-Ones.
“Stunning, peaceful and inspirational”
“Great Director, made me feel incredible happy”
“Great teacher, patient, full of good energy, formidable”
“Awesome meals, every evening a feast”
“Very, very enjoyable”
“Excellent value, both teaching and food!”
“Very satisfied, a fantastic musical experience”
And a final word from you, Gil?
There’s plenty of information and photos on our website so do take a look and explore the site. Especially do browse the reviews which should give you a good idea what to expect!
For further information about and booking please visit the musicholidayitaly website