Prep and Primary Course

Course Intro

The Prep and Primary Course is the first Pro Corda residential course a young string player, or advanced pianist, would attend. It is open to those aged 8-12 (school years 4-7), after passing an audition where the individual will be asked to perform one or two solo pieces, do some sight reading, aural tests and a short interview. The audition will be very informal and encouraging. At this stage we look for potential as well as current technical and musical ability, but the approximate standard required is Grade 3 at age 8. Pianists are considered, but need to be of a higher standard in order to be able to hold their own within the chamber music group.

Each student will take part in two chamber music groups, usually with 2 to 6 students per group, where music for the week is studied in great depth, from sight-reading to performance within the week. Most groups will perform these pieces to parents on the final day, therefore we expect students to attend for the whole course.

As well as the chamber music groups, students will experience the entirety of Pro Corda’s rounded musical curriculum:

  • String orchestra - to allow all students to play within a richer sound-body, giving confidence to all aspects of their playing.
  • Choir - to train the ear and the voice, and experience a different sound-world.
  • Dalcroze Eurhythmics - simply described as ‘Theory on your Feet’, but incorporating enhancement of the sense of pulse and understanding of rhythmic notation, body use, coordination and many aspects of social interaction and awareness.
  • Musicianship and improvisation skills - Improvisation is an aspect of music-making that is often neglected due to lack of time, but can have a massive impact on confidence and concentration, as well as musical memory, and interaction with fellow musicians.
  • Viola Club - Violinists can try out the viola, giving a taster of the depth of sound and change of notation, which will inspire many to play viola in a future Pro Corda chamber music group, therefore expanding the repertoire available to them.

Course Requirements

Age: 8-12yrs, school years 4-7
Standard: Grade 3 at age 8
Audition: Yes. Held throughout the year
Application deadline: See event details
Cost: See individual events
Pro Corda tries to ensure that no student is turned away because of financial barriers so please get in touch if you are facing difficulties. You can also find out more information on our Bursary page.

The next course will take place:

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The residential aspect can be daunting for a parent and some children but all our Pro Corda courses have excellent pastoral care, and this comes partly from the relatively small numbers on the course due to the emphasis on chamber music and partly from the expertise and experience of the pastoral staff. All staff are chosen for their experience and empathy with this age group, and students and parents alike will find us warm and welcoming.

Course Director: Anita Strevens

Anita is well known as a chamber musician, Dalcroze Eurhythmics expert and cello teacher. She has a duo partnership with Helen Crayford, piano, giving performances in intimate settings allowing great rapport between audiences and performers.

Her love of chamber music took her to the wonderful Weinberg Festival in Austria in 2022, where she could play all day and perform with like-minded musicians.

Anita was Cello Consultant for the current ABRSM syllabus.

Course Location: Blundell's School

The Prep and Primary Course will take place in the stunning venue, Blundell’s School.

Placed in the heart of Devon with easy access to the train station Tiverton, participants on the course will be able to enjoy the extensive sporting facilities and swimming pool.

A vast array of social and fun activities will be organised to complement and warmly welcome every individual.

Ready to Apply?