The European String Teachers Association (ESTA) and Saffron Hall are joining forces with Nicola Benedetti on 6 and 7 May to present a weekend of activities and events devoted to the teaching and learning of stringed instruments. Presented by ESTA in partnership with Saffron Hall, this two-day festival is the first collaboration between the two organisations, and has been designed in partnership with Nicola Benedetti to bring teachers and students under one roof for a weekend packed full of inspiring ideas, provocative discussion and knowledge sharing.

The Nicola Benedetti Strings Festival builds upon Nicola’s existing relationship with Saffron Hall’s Learning & Participation programme, and her own advocacy of the importance of music and other expressive arts in education. Each season, Nicola devotes a significant part of her time to education visits and workshops throughout the country and worldwide.

Across the weekend, Nicola will deliver a number of workshops, discussions and performance sessions alongside acclaimed guest teachers including Andrea Gajic, Steve Bingham, Simon Cartledge and William Bruce. Nicola will draw from her personal experiences as a student, with observations that are relevant to string players and teachers of all ages and ability.

Saturday 6 May: Family Day
Music making, workshops and seminars, aimed at string learners of all ages and abilities. Nicola will be delivering a number of sessions looking at healthy approaches to the physicality of playing, drawing on her personal experiences as a young student. An Open String Orchestra session is an opportunity to play in a string orchestra led by Nicola, putting some ideas into action.

Sunday 7 May: Professional Development Day for String Teachers
An opportunity to share experiences and pedagogic insights into teaching and playing. Nicola holds discussions on developing strong technique whilst developing musicianship, her approach to using repertoire to combine exercise and study, finishing with a special “Question Time Panel” – a chance for teachers to ask their burning questions to a distinguished panel.

Throughout the weekend, the Saffron Hall foyer will also be busy with:
Busking competition (Nicola to judge the final!)
Drop-in clinics for students, teachers and parents
Pop-up concerts
Music publishers demonstrating their learning recourses
Instrument “have-a-go” sessions
Music technology labs
Merchandise on sale

Nicola Benedetti says: “I am delighted to be returning to Saffron Hall for the Strings Festival in May. We will be discussing everything strings related - it should be an informative, fun and interesting event for families, musicians, their parents and, above all, teachers.”

Philip Aird, Chief Executive Officer of ESTA says: “ESTA is thrilled that this new partnership begins with a weekend of inclusive music making and sharing of ideas. ESTA believes in the possibility for music to change lives; that every child has the right to learn music; and that as teachers we are responsible for the future generations of musicians and music lovers.”

Natalie Ellis, Director Learning & Participation at Saffron Hall says: “We are delighted to be collaborating with ESTA for the first time to deliver this action-packed weekend for string-enthusiasts, young and old. Saffron Hall remains committed to establishing accessible and inclusive progression pathways for young musicians and providing top-quality support to the teaching community. We are grateful to Nicola Benedetti for her generous and invaluable ongoing contribution to the Saffron Hall Learning & Participation programme, and to the music education platform more broadly.”


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