The Preparatory Course is the first Pro Corda residential course a young string player would attend. It lasts for seven days, and is open to those aged 8-10 (school years 4&5), on passing the audition. 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.

Important Info:

Age range: 8-10yrs, school years 4&5
Entry requirement: Grade 3 at age 8
Audition: Yes. Auditions held throughout the year.
Course dates: See below
Application deadline: See individual events
Location: Leiston Abbey
Cost: See individual events

All 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.

The surroundings at Leiston Abbey in the heart of Suffolk make for a magical first music course experience, where new but long-lasting friendships are made.

On the Primary Course page of the website you can view a video of students who will have recently graduated from Preparatory to Primary.

The next course will take place:

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The director of the course is Anita Strevens – well known chamber musician, Dalcroze Eurhythmics expert and cello teacher. She plays in Accordare Quartet, Trio Vita and has a duo partnership with Helen Crayford, piano. Anita was Cello Consultant for the new ABRSM syllabus. She also directs Pro Corda West.

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