Is this course for me?

If you are a competent recorder or viol player, well able to hold your own in a one-to-a-part consort without supervision you will fit the course perfectly. If you have doubts about this, please feel free to contact us for further information. Those participants who are found to have seriously overestimated their abilities in this respect may, for the sake of the other players, be asked to sit out the one-to-a-part sessions but will be welcome to participate in other activities.


The course is carefully structured to offer you a variety of musical experiences throughout the day as follows:

8.30-9.30: Breakfast.

9.30 – 11.00: Permanent Groups.

You will be allocated a permanent group or, if you wish, you may come to the course with a pre-formed group. Either way, we try very hard to make sure that the consort is compatible, and, if we get it wrong, we will do our best to resolve any problems after the first session. You will work one-to-a-part with this group for 90 minutes each day, giving you a chance to develop consort skills and explore repertoire in depth. A full 45 minutes of each session will be led by one of our team of tutors, the remaining 45 minutes being untutored.

11.00: Tea/Coffee.

11.30 – 13.00: Ensembles/Workshops.

You will be able to choose from two or three options each day: playing in a larger ensemble (often combining voice, viols and recorders), or attending a workshop. On Thursday this time is usually given over to the Arrangers’/Composers’ Competition. This is a feature of the course, and always a lively occasion whether you submit an arrangement or composition (for any combination of instruments/voices on the course), or are co-opted to play somebody else’s work or are an audience member. The modest prize of €50 is hotly contested, and winning entries in the past have gone on to be published. On Friday the Viol Orchestra (conducted by Ibi Aziz) will have its final rehearsal for the course concert.

13.00 - 14.00: Lunch.

14.00 – 16.00: Free Time or Recorder Orchestra.

If you would like to join the Recorder Orchestra (conducted by Philip Thorby from 15.00 - 16.00 every day), sign up on the Course Application Form. If not, your time is free to walk to the beach or to arrange informal music-making. One afternoon will certainly feature the famous SANDCASTLE COMPETITION!

16.00: Tea/Coffee.

16.30 – 18.00: Non-Permanent Groups.

After a cup of tea there is another 90-minute session, this time with a different consort each day. The aim here is to meet as many other course-members as possible, regardless of whether they are more or less experienced than you! You will typically be placed in a consort of recorders or viols, but, when you complete the application form, you will be asked to choose up to two other options that you would like to experience during the week (from Renaissance wind ensemble, broken consort of recorders and viols, Baroque chamber music with continuo, two-choir music for recorders and viols or consort songs) and we will do our best to oblige.

18.00 - 19.00: High Tea.

19.00 – 20.00: Choir.

The choir (conducted by Philip Thorby) meets for an hour each day and takes part in the end of course concert – you are welcome to join, whatever your level or experience.

20.00 – 21.30: Massed Playing.

An opportunity to play together in the main hall, with a different tutor and different repertoire each evening. On the final evening there will be a course concert at this time which will include Choir, Recorder Orchestra and other items, and the course will end with all of us playing together.

21.30: The bar is open!

On Tuesday evening the tutors will give a (very informal!) recital, and on Thursday evening there is a Ceilidh.