"The one thing all the great singers and musicians have in common is that they are all completely individual" Martin Carthy MBE.
This simple sentence conveys so much of what is central to all folk music, no matter which corner of the world it comes from. The Summer School breaks down into bite size chunks some of the elements which encourage the development of our own individual repertoire and style.
Creative interpretation ... As well as learning by ear we will look at the creative interpretation of traditional manuscript. By looking at elements like phrasing, bowing, tempo, harmony and variation we can each begin to work out a version of the tune which fits us.
Music ... We may learn repertoire from books, technique from a teacher but music must come from within. All students are given the opportunity to write their own tunes and Ruskin Mill is a highly inspirational site for this. Over the years many strong pieces have emerged from the summer school. John Dipper's beautiful 'Ruskin Mill Waltz', recorded by The English Acoustic Collective on their 'Ghosts' album, is one example. As the week progresses, small ensembles from duets upwards begin to form organically allowing individuals a chance to try out ideas and new tunes.
Individual Stories ... We can only make our own music if we are able to tell our own individual stories. The smallest spark of inspiration can be the beginning of a great tune if we are open to the possibility. Music should be a strand that runs through our lives and relates to our everyday activites, which is why we see cooking and eating together as such an integral part of the summer school.
Further information and an application form are available here here (pdf file). Please read it carefully.
This year's course will be led by Robert Harbron and Miranda Rutter, with guest tutor Sam Sweeney.
Rob plays with Leveret among many others. He's an inventive concertina player, multi-instrumentalist, composer and teacher who has led numerous workshops and courses, and is widely regarded as an inspiring and supportive teacher.
Miranda is a fiddle and viola player, composer and teacher. She is a founder member of Methera and has been involved in countless previous EAC Summer Schools, as a tutor and a student.
Sam plays with Leveret and is the artistic director of the National Youth Folk Ensemble. A former EAC summer school student, he's a unique fiddle player and an inspiring teacher and we are delighted he can join us again this year.
All EAC courses cater for a wide range of ability but the course is designed to challenge as well as inspire. We assume you are a competent player, able to work by ear in addition to having rudimentary music reading skills. The Summer School is not suitable for beginners, and is aimed primarily at instrumentalists. If in doubt, please ask.
The Summer School began as a fiddle course, then was opened to all bowed instruments. In recent years it has been open to players of other instruments but we try hard to make sure the group is balanced sonically and we still aim for a group that is fiddle-heavy.
Fees, Food & Accommodation
Tuition is £230 for the week with free camping on site. Some accommodation may also be available with local hosts by negotiation at a small additional charge. We shop, cook and eat communally which is great fun and has provided a platform for some very gifted chefs (often to their own surprise). We have a small bursary fund available to help those who need it with a share of their course fees - please contact us if you would like to know more.
The course runs from 10am on Monday July 22nd to Friday July 26th and the week will end on the Friday afternoon with an informal sharing.
The environment and ethos of Ruskin Mill is hugely inspiring and an integral part of the Summer School. We are very grateful for the continued support of the Ruskin Mill Trust. Find out more about the trust and its work at www.RMT.org
Please contact Rob if you require any further information.