Have a little slice of Utopia. It’s not forbidden, it’s not out of reach, it will challenge your musicianship if you allow it, and you will meet people that will become friends for a lifetime.
For the past 6 years, I have been attending, volunteering for, and teaching at the New Harmony Music Festival in some capacity. I saw a sign in the hallway of practice rooms when I was avoiding practicing Popper Etudes in college, and decided this sounded fun. I didn’t expect to fall back in love with my cello, I didn’t know that I would meet some lifelong friends, but I did know I was in for a musical treat.
NHMF&S is a festival held in New Harmony, Indiana. If you aren’t familiar with the history of New Harmony, please look into it. (New Harmony’s History) The town is a failed utopian society. It is filled with beautiful little gardens, historic homes, architectural gems, lovers of art, and lovers of music. The festival is a totally acoustic festival that uses the unique spaces, provided by the town, to teach, share, and create music. This festival presents a blend of traditional musics intertwined with classical music, presenting concerts that show mutual respect for all musical kinds. Students of the festival school are able to attend three elective classes of their choice, a group class called Group Therapy, faculty concerts, a called dance, and jam sessions.
This year, I was honored with the opportunity to teach Group Therapy Class. This class is an opportunity to allow teachers and students to share their unique talents. Students can perform and get meaningful feedback, teachers can share a small dose of what they teach, and community members can be invited to share their art (visual, musical, textile, written, dance). It was fun to facilitate this gathering. I have immense respect for the students and artists who come to New Harmony. Teaching this kind of class is very different than standing in front of an ensemble conducting. It is more organization, and creating a safe space. Safe spaces are so important for the developing musician.
I would love for you to join this class one summer!