The focus of the course is on playing, so most of the time is spent playing in small ensembles. Each session lasts 90 minutes, and students can come together and socialise over tea/coffee and biscuits in between sessions. Students can perform their choice of material in the late night jam sessions, and there is a short end of-course concert on the Sunday afternoon.
Groups work on carefully chosen material in a variety of styles and grooves. A supportive and relaxed atmosphere is maintained to help students to trust their instincts and get the most out of their playing. Points of interest, or technical/practical issues of technique or harmony for example can be discussed in the context in which they arise.
Students are encouraged to enjoy their playing, and to build from a base of confidence in order to try new approaches or advance their playing into new areas where appropriate. The tutors are multi-instrumentalists, happy to work on every aspect of playing, including harmony, time-feel, instrumental technique and general understanding and approaches to the music.
Vocalists are given a few set standards to focus on for each course, and students are encouraged to bring along their own choice of repertoire to work on too.
As well as working on individual songs, and vocal technique to aid performance, students are enabled to work on delivery of their songs in the context of a typical rhythm section: Vocal Tutor Ruth Applin accompanies vocalists on piano, and a rhythm section of bass and sometimes guitar is made available to work with the vocalists at various points in the weekend.