A philosophy of teaching and community building has evolved at Apple Hill that is based on inclusivity, mutual respect, acceptance, listening, supporting, and cultivating each student’s unique abilities, no matter what their skill level or experience. These three values form the basis of everything we do:
Our philosophy of acceptance brings out the true identity of each person. Instead of people strategizing to fit in, they find and free themselves, and are able to grow, heal, and connect with each other and themselves through music. Our outlook says that we want each person to be unique, to be creative, to feel free, and to express individuality while at Apple Hill.
Since one of Apple Hill’s core values is that all participants are coached and supported equally, each chamber music group requires the same care. Regardless of experience level, we want to ensure that musicians have a group where they will be challenged and another where they will be a leader. Participant students play new works as well as established masterpieces. We acknowledge their requests if possible, and at the same time push them towards music they might not have realized they love (yet)—all while maintaining Apple Hill’s commitment to creating as diverse an environment as possible.
We have other values too: We value the authority of the teacher; we value learning through self-esteem–everyone can learn without judgment; we value critical thinking; we value exploration–our work is in depth (13 ½ hours of coaching per movement); and we work out all the details by using many different methods like the five skills of chamber music (watching, listening, being sensitive, being flexible, and adapting), slow playing for tuning/ensemble work, and feedback on the physical technique of playing.
Learning a piece of music can be difficult, but we believe everyone can learn and this enables our students to gain self-confidence and self-esteem. Since chamber musicians are constantly assessing how they are doing, they develop the skills of discipline and critical thinking.
Our philosophy is reflected in the makeup of the groups, the coaches, and the composers of the pieces. Luckily the chamber music repertoire is a deep well and something wonderful exists for just about every person and every situation.