Yscolan Residential Weekend For Musicians

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Yscolan Residential Weekend for Musicians (Retreat)

An opportunity to play, learn and contemplate music at a weekend retreat for ten adult (18+) musicians of mixed technical ability. All in the splendid isolation of the magical rural setting of the Preseli hills.

The yscolan weekend’s activity will be flexible and will respond to the input of its participants. In this way the content brought by each musician will shape the weekend’s form. But the starting point will be a common desire to arrive at a deeper understanding of our own, personal musical expression. We will not be working specifically towards playing with others or as an ensemble, but that may or may not be an outcome of the weekend.

The weekend will be underpinned with inspirational input from piper and flute player Ceri Rhys Matthews.


This is the second residential weekend to be organised by Ceri and it takes as its direct inspiration the annual summer school organised by the English Acoustic collective in Ruskin Mill, led by Chris Wood, on which Ceri was invited to teach last summer. The yscolan weekend will be focused on issues that grew out of that experience for him but which may not be the primary concern of the EAC summer school at the moment.

Though independent of each other, and perhaps different in nature, the EAC summer school and the yscolan weekend may be seen as complimentary and participants at one may benefit from attending the other.

It is intended to repeat the yscolan weekend twice annualy, springtime and autumn.

For further details on any of the topics below, please write to ceri@yscolan.info or call 01559 384962

The focus of the weekend.

Musicians of different stylistic and cultural backgrounds will be welcome to explore an aspect of music making that is largely neglected in both the structured music education system and also in the categorised way in which music is marketed.

The yscolan weekend will focus on the relationship that exists between the creative musician working in cultural isolation today on the one hand, and on the other, the common, inherited, musical culture bequeathed by the past’s anonymous musicians.

Folk, or traditional music.

The type of music that is generally referred to as folk or traditional music is the sonic backdrop to the music we all make today whether we call ourselves jazz, traditional, folk or classical musicians. It is in fact a synthesis of all the historically categorisable forms that have found their way, intact or fragmented, to our collective musical memory. It is the music that was gathered, filtered and nurtured by self-taught musicians over centuries. How we deal with this inheritance in a fractured society is of the utmost importance to musicians wishing to make music with their own voice. Being set in west Wales the yscolan weekend will inevitably use this particular inheritance as a musical starting point both as source material and as a comparative tool for participants from outside the area. But of course, participants will bring with them their own musical story.

The technical aspect of music making will not be the main focus of the yscolan weekend but a reasonable fundamental grasp of ones instrument is a minimum requirement. Technical virtuosity is welcomed but not as an end in itself. The ability to read music is not necessary but the ability to pick up a tune by ear or to remember an arrangement is important. The yscolan weekend is designed to accommodate those who consider themselves students as well as those who have been expressing themselves musically over a number of years.

The yscolan weekend is for musicians who play instruments that do not need electricity and a priority is given to melody over chordal or accompanying instruments. There is no piano at the centre.

For more details, daily structure, price etc., please visit the website. www.yscolan.info

Autumn retreat

now booking for the autumn retreat. details as above