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Circuit Rider Examples

Two locations who participate in the Circuit Rider Program have contributed the following narratives about how they run their program.

Example 1: Florida

We use a formula for distributing the $50/hour among those who participate; e.g. $10/hour each for 5 part—there are a few 6 part consorts, but we use $10 per hour for that too. Anything extra goes to the teacher, either as tuition or covering extra expenses not covered by the grant. Since the sessions (except for private lessons) tend to be 1½ - 2 hours, we can prorate, but we don't do change any more. Too troublesome. Some people put in extra, anyway.

Sample Schedule:


Teacher arrives in the evening

Day 1
-First Consort gathers at around 10 a.m. and has coaching on prepared pieces.
-More coaching of the consort and/or private lessons in the afternoon
-Dinner and social playing (others join the consort, sometimes tag-team)

Day 2
-Both Consorts & anyone else who wants joins for Technique Class around 10 a.m. (This session is $10 each per hour, no matter how many are present--this gives us a cushion to cover extra expenses that the grant may not cover.)
-After Lunch, Consort 2 gets coaching on prepared pieces; followed by private lessons if any.
-Dinner and social playing

Day 3 (morning only)
-Consort 2 or whatever is left of it (usually a trio) gets coaching. Could also be a private lesson
-Quick lunch and teacher is taken to the airport by 2 p.m.

If there is only one consort things are considerably more relaxed (what we had the first 2 years). The 2 years we "shared" our teacher with a group in Bradenton/Sarasota, I drove to a half-way rest stop to collect her after her sessions in Sarasota. I believe she came Weds. eve. into Tampa, taught some lessons there Thursday, then was taken to a host Thursday night and taken to Sarasota to teach people from about a 40 mile radius on Friday morning & afternoon, before being brought to the rendezvous. This year we are fortunate to have 2 consorts (with 2 of us in both consorts). It is more complicated to do the scheduling, but it has worked so far.

In addition to putting up the teacher, the local host(s) provide sleeping accommodations for out of town participants: this sometimes means their bringing along air mattresses.

For more information regarding the Florida model contact Kathleen Merfeld.

Example 2: Mississippi

Since we were trying to draw players from an approximately 500 mile radius, we began by sending out a "study with" letter to all prospective players. We had five beginner viol players and charged them $25 for the weekend. We borrowed viols for them and loaned them for free for the entire program. This is not including the family of four from Nashville who came once, and six regulars at varying levels. In the end we had players from such diverse loactions as Carbondale, Birmingham, and Memphis.

We really worked our teacher hard and think, in hindsight, that it was too big. We just didn't realize we'd have quite so many say "yes." Especially beginners.

Sample schedule:


Oxford Circuit Weekend, November 12-14, 2010

morning -- private lessons with Ron and Susan
Lunch on the town
afternoon - private lesson(s)
Dinner and general play-in (include newbies — easy pieces)

9:00 - 9:30 Intro for newest newbies
9:30 - 10:30 Coach newbies, informal experibies consorts
10:30 Coffee break
10:45 - 11:45 Coach experibies, Newbies practice and/or recuperate
12::00 - 1:00 Lunch in-house
1:00 - 2:00 Newbies group session & more self-coached consorts
2:00 - 3:30 Break for naps, gabbing, or consorts
3:30 - 4:30 Technique for all levels - tutti
4:30 - 6:00 Smaller ensembles, all levels, with teacher rotating and coaching
6:00 Dinner with all, including local family member(s) or friend - in house
8:00 More playing, with libations - or perhaps stargazing

morning - private lessons & informal consorts
11:30 lunch
1:00 Coach newbies or perhaps continue smaller coached ensembles
3:00 tearful departures

For more information regarding the Mississipi model contact Susan Marchant.

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