Stringwood doesn't [just] teach you how to play the cello. Stringwood teaches you how to play chamber music, and chamber music is a phenomenon far beyond the notes on the page. You have to learn to work closely and efficiently with your colleagues; sorting out differences, searching for solutions, and pursuing a much higher purpose as a unit. That's what Stringwood teaches.
At Stringwood I learned how to work together with others in the group challenges, how building friendships outside of the rehearsal room makes rehearsal times better. I realize age doesn't really matter when you have music as a common interest.
My favorite memory at Stringwood was the end of the last concert of the first week because I realized how fast we had improved and how great it felt to play on that kind of level.
I learned that all string playing should be made up of maximums (most quiet, not least loud). I also learned that performers have to tweak their sound so that it sounds how they want to the audience, which might be different from how they perceive the sound close to them.
It was like you guys talked about so many times. We are a part of the world, and our music is so closely tied with nature. It was a fun chance to just be in nature. And an inspiration to bring back to our music.
My experience at Stringwood taught me that everyone deserves someone to listen to them. Attitude has a huge impact on a situation. Suggestions are better received than criticisms. Compromise often works very well. Too many ideas can have a negative impact. Take your time. Know when to take a break. Include everyone. Take chances. Put yourself out there.
This summer at Stringwood I was taught the idea that to play music you must first learn to play the instrument -- i.e. scales and patterns, and that this was the essence of practice. This was my biggest takeaway from the masterclasses.
What did I learn at Stringwood? Listening to and reading chamber music not only horizontally but also vertically, identifying our "voices" within an ensemble, and that you can only play a piece as well as you can play the instrument.
Watching the Tchaikovsky Sextet was very eye opening to me. It showed me just how far behind I was in my studies and it gave me SO MUCH inspiration because I was able to create music that powerful as well with my friends.