Making the Most of Your Time in London (Musical Training is More Than Just Practicing):

Taking lessons in London and practicing will be a valuable experience.  But, don’t let this be the extent of your musical exposure to London – there is so much for you to see and hear in London that will do wonders for your education and musical soul.  Be sure to take full advantage of it all.  You may not practice as much as you do on-campus – don’t despair!  Take this opportunity to fully enjoy and take fuller advantage of all the other things that life in London offers, including endless great concerts and recitals, opera, art galleries and museums, etc.

Here are some of the opportunities you’ll have in London:

  • Attend concerts, talks, recitals, and master classes - this can be time just as well spent for your musical development as in a practice room. Check out all of the concerts and master classes (not just on your instrument) at the major music schools [RCM – Royal College, RAM – Royal Academy, GSMD –Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity] that are free and open to the public.  You will certainly find a few that won’t conflict with your London Centre course schedule.
  • Queue for cheap tickets to the opera at Covent Garden or for a play at the National Theatre. When will you have the chance to see and hear such world-class performances, in such abundance, again?
  • Hear something (anything) in the Wigmore Hall. A must do. 
  • Museums & historic sites: Visit Handel House, the Sir John Soane Museum, the Foundling Hospital Museum (where there is also a small but fantastic collection of Handel artifacts, including his Will & Testament), attend a Ceilidh at Cecil Sharp House (English Folk Music & Dance), spend some time at the National Portrait Gallery, or see the “Treasures” room at the British Library.

The basics

Students who have regularly taken music lessons on-campus and who wish to continue taking lessons while in London may choose to do so.  If successful in contracting for at least five hours worth of instruction over the term, students may register for a 3-unit, S/U only course overseen by Associate Dean Jeffrey Stannard.  Costs up to $500 for these lessons will be reimbursed to the student by the Foundation for International Education.  Students interested in pursuing lessons, should contact the Off-Campus Programs office for more information.

Registering

Students must register for these lessons in the spring of the academic year before attending the London Centre (soon after paying their deposit confirming participation in the London Centre program).  Students register for London Studio Instruction (MUIN 355) through Voyager.  Instructor approval is needed to register for MUIN 355 and Dean Stannard will grant this approval.

Finding an Instructor

Students make arrangements for an instructor independently (meaning, the London Centre does not arrange instructors for you).  Occasionally students choose to work with more than one instructor to meet the requirement of five contact hours over the term.  Students should talk with their advisor and/or studio instructor to see if they have suggestions for an instructor based upon past experiences of their students in London and/or personal contacts in London.  Professor DeCorsey can also be a good resource for students.  If this does not yield suggestions of an instructor, the student should contact Christine Harris (London Centre Director) who will draw upon knowledge of past instructors and may consult the London Centre music history professor for suggestions.  It is up to the student to contact and arrange for the lessons.  Students should start this process two to three months before their London arrival.  Students should know who will be teaching their lessons before arriving in London.

Scheduling Lessons

Students should set a schedule of lessons early in the term.  Most instructors are working professionals who have busy travel and performance schedules and it can be difficult to get all of the needed lessons in if they are not planned throughout the term.

Paperwork

You will get an evaluation form from Christine which you and your instructor fill in at your first lesson.  The top half of the form is to be done at the beginning of the lessons and the bottom is the evaluation form the instructor completes at the end of the term.

Practice space

There is no specifically dedicated practice space for Lawrence students in London.  This means students need to practice in their room, in common areas in the residential building, or in Foundation House (the administrative and classroom building).  Students are able to reserve classrooms in Foundation House for practice when the building is open and there are no classes taking place.  Such availability is limited (often early in the morning and/or in late afternoon) and students should plan for these arrangements and book rooms for practice as far in advance as possible.  One of the classrooms has a Clavinova students can use for practice.  Students practicing in their rooms or in the residence hall should be mindful of the time of day they practice and possible disruption to others.  Depending on the instrument’s inherent volume, students should consider practicing with a mute.  In terms with a number of students taking lessons, it is all the more important for each student to plan ahead and schedule practice space.  The availability of practice space is not ideal but students have found that being proactive and operating within your options with a positive attitude is the way to set up a workable practice schedule.

End of term

At the end of the term you will need to bring the evaluation form back to your instructor.  After it is completed, it should be given to Christine Harris in a sealed envelope.  She will fax it to campus so Dean Stannard is able to give you the S/U grade.  Please note that you will not receive a grade for these lessons until you submit the completed evaluation form.

Reimbursement

The completed evaluation form will list how much the student has paid to the instructor for the lessons – this serves as proof of payment and your reimbursement will be based on this amount.  You will need to provide Christine with details of your US bank account and the Foundation for International Education will transfer reimbursement for this amount (up to a maximum of $500) to your bank account.

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