In early July 2018, I was invited by Yamaha Canada to run a course at the Yamaha Music camp, in Whistler, British Columbia.
The annual camp is for the top students in Canada to attend a series of music lessons over three days while staying in the beautiful region of Whistler, British Columbia.
The camp this year was larger than previous years with 71 students on the camp, from age 7 to 15, and they were divided by age into six classes of 11 or 12 students per class.
Each class had a designated coloured t-shirt and attended six 45-60 minute classes each day including performance, drum workshops and my session using Dorico Elements. With the help of Yamaha’s Geoff Houghton and Bang Jing Yeo, I had each class once per day for three days and was excited to see a great rate of progress over that time.
Over the three days, they were able to quickly move on from the more structured tasks I set and then on to putting their own compositions into Dorico using the shortcuts and techniques that they had learned.
At the end of the course, each family was then given a copy of Dorico Elements to take home so that the young composers can continue using creating and sharing their own compositions. While Yamaha had rooms full of keyboards at the summer school, we opted not to use them for the Dorico sessions as we couldn’t be sure that all the students would have a keyboard attached to their computer at home, and I wanted to make sure that when they arrived home they would be able to continue as smoothly as possible – and adding a keyboard to use later is very simple.
Some of the older students also found during their own compositions that they started to hit some of the limitations in the Dorico Elements version of the software, such as only being able to use 12 players, but they will be able to easily upgrade their Elements version to Dorico Pro in future.
Without any prompting from me, they also commented that they would be able to use Dorico at home as an accompanist when they are playing their own instruments, as well being able to easily write down their own musical ideas.
In the evenings, as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra were also in Whistler playing free outdoor concerts for the Canada Day weekend celebrations, we were able to experience them first-hand playing a repertoire including Bernstein Candide, Vaughan Williams Lark Ascending and Tschaikovsky Symphony No. 4.