News from Estonia

Report on the ECMTA Annual meeting in Tallinn

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The annual conference of the Chamber Music Teachers Association in Tallinn (May 4-6, 2012) was the greatest joy for Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and for the Estonian Chamber Music Teachers Association (both institutions are tightly working together, since most of our members are also teaching at the EAMT).

The meeting of ECMTA contained numerous interesting presentations, enriching conversations and exchange of experiences. Simultaneously to the meeting, the International Students Chamber Music Festival took place - wonderful concerts and inspiring masterclasses (given also by members of the ECMTA).

We are a northern country and the spring is just now going to her full blossom in Estonia. Same goes to the impressions and experiences derived from the conference - these kind of events inspire teachers and chamber music lovers to dream about new projects and more and more interesting concert programs, not to mention the contacts and possibilities for cooperation with other teachers all over Europe. The experiences young people gained in the numerous masterclasses during the Festival given by the members of ECMTA were truly inspiring - the atmosphere of lessons was really supportive and empathive.

The conference was interesting in many ways. At first, the Leitmotiv for the conference was "Empathy in chamber music". Thanks to that we got to hear interesting presentations about pedagogy from two great Lithuanian musicians, scholars and chamber music professors - Remigijus Vitkauskas and Petras Kunca.

Next, two confronting topics were discussed. Stephane Goerner of the Carmina-Quartet and prof George Tovstiga from the Reading University talked about organizational behaviour in string quartets. The subject of Tero-Pekka Henell was the feeling of Self as a winning tool for pupils/students etc. Both topics - sense of "Me, here and now" and sense of "We are a team" - even though confronting, are essential for the development of a musician´s personality. But these methods can also be used in personal development more generally - music helps to increase skills for life, raise the level of self-confidence and cope in social spheres as an individual or a member of a team.. We are lucky because in addition, during developing those skills music also increases our sense of beaty and harmony, an idealistic goal that education strives to.

The activities of the member institutions and the status of chamber music was discussed in the member´s forum. The devotion of teachers whose lifelong work in educating students and organizing events for them in the field of classical chamber music in contemporary world is my constant object of admiration. I am delighted that also in our region - the Baltic States - the event calendar is rich. There are events for different age groups and of multiple character: competitions, summer camps, children´s festivals etc. The contacts among music teachers from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are far from being based on one or two projects - these contacts are more like long-term relationships - some friendships go over 30 years back...!

Creativity is considered to be something one cannot teach. Mr David Dolan from Guildhall School of Music and Drama with the presentation "The Search of Dramatic Narrative to Enhance Active Listening in Ensemble Work" interconnected with the topic of creativity in larger and more professional sense: methods that he mediated can really increase sense of uniqueness, originality in the music-making of young students.

Two more distinguished speakers participated in the conference. The keynote speaker prof dr Martin Tröndle spoke about redefining concert as an institution and introduced his project Concerto 21. Urve Lippus, professor of musicology from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre talked about Estonian chamber music repertoire (further information on Estonian music can be found on the website of the Estonian Music Information Centre www.emic.ee).

Altogether the conference raised many new ideas and revitalized the approach to our musical heritage in many ways.

Hoping to meet you all soon,

Piret Väinmaa

from the Estonian Chamber Music Teachers Association "IN CORPORE",
Tallinn, Estonia