Guest post by Charlotte Tomlinson
In these last rather strange couple of years of isolation and restrictions, it feels as if music and performing has become more important than ever. The desire to learn in person along with other musicians has also taken on an extra special meaning.
Pre-2020, I had spent many years in my roles as piano teacher and performance coach, giving presentations and masterclasses for conservatoires, universities, festivals and orchestras around the world, but when the cancellations started as they did for so many musicians, I found myself thinking about what I could offer from home. After all, we were all so used to working from home. At the same time, I had a number of requests from piano students for me to run my own course.
I have been teaching and coaching one-to-one in my own studio at the bottom of the garden with its lovely Steinway for around thirteen years and had already run some one-day workshops there. And from 2000-2008, I ran my own chamber music course at the Purcell School. But it was these requests from pianists that got me thinking: could I run a piano weekend from my own house and studio? I realised that I did have the space for a small group both in my kitchen and studio, and that perhaps there might be a gap in the piano course market for a weekend of teaching in a small, supportive group within a home environment.
“Many thanks for all your warmth and total acceptance of where we’re all at. Your ‘can do’ approach is so positive and encouraging. You have the ability to ‘see’ the individual.”
So, in January 2022, Oxford Piano Weekends was officially born. The first weekend was intense, fun and stimulating. There were seven pianists and the eclectic mix of scientists, medics, writers and sport coaches along with professional pianists, made for dynamic masterclasses and some wonderful discussions at mealtimes.
“The weekend works on so many levels, musically and socially, and I thoroughly recommend it. It is so encouraging to spend time with other people who are both talented and supportive.”
Providing fresh homemade, nutritious and tasty food (with free-flowing wine in the evenings!) is important to me. I want everyone to feel nourished and refreshed for the learning part of the weekend.
“The food was excellent – all thought through and prepared with care and love!”
It was such a delight to have my house and studio full of people, that after it had all finished, I wondered why I had never thought about running this type of course before. I am now planning a number of weekends and booking has already started for the next two.
April 22nd-24th 2022
July 1st-3rd 2022
For further details and to book: www.oxfordpianoweekends.com
Charlotte Tomlinson is an internationally renowned pianist, piano teacher and Performance Coach. She taught piano at the Purcell School for eleven years, the University of Hong Kong and HK Academy for Performing Arts and has worked with pianists in masterclasses at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and International Piano Academy, Konz, Germany among others. She has a thriving piano teaching practice in Oxford where she teaches students from the University of Oxford, post-graduates from the London music colleges along with international piano students who come to Oxford to study with her. She gave a presentation on the Psychology of Performance and Competition at the Leeds International Piano Competition 2018 and has been invited to work with laureates of the Sydney International Piano Competition.