I’m starting to work on Portal Irish Music Week 2014. Part of that means reviewing our survey results. There’s a smattering of constructive suggestions but mostly it’s a tsunami of positive feedback. I should pull this highlight reel out whenever I’m feeling puny or frustrated with the work. Here they are. Spread the word and help us have another sellout year:
TEACHER SPECIFIC COMMENTS:
Very clear conceptual and practical teacher. Able to cover all skill levels and complex material quickly and kindly. He was funny and accomplished. I appreciated the multiple exercises and individual attention he was able to give us. Probably the best Irish music instructor I’ve ever had, and he followed up with online materials. Thanks, Matt.
I love the way he gives each student specific suggestions to improve their playing no matter what their level. (Brian)
Shannon— one of the best flute teachers I’ve had; she’s ‘positive’ yet does not let you slide by in the participation dept. I’ve been to lots of camps, with lots of flute teachers and Shannon is well organized, thoughtful and focused
Best fiddle teacher I have ever encountered. Gives lots of valuable information without being critical. (Brian)
Brian is a great teacher. Our class was small, and we had different levels of experience, and Brian tailored his teaching to each of us. I first met Brian when he was teaching at Swannanoa this past July and when I found out he was teaching at Portal I decided to attend PIMW for the opportunity of having more lessons with him. He is a brilliant player but more importantly, he obviously enjoys teaching, and is good at it.
Marla delivers excellent instruction and communicates very well.
Instrument mastery, patience with students, friendly and systematic teaching methodology for improving technique and learning new tunes. (Marla)
.. I can’t imagine a better way to push myself up the Irish music learning ladder another notch or two than by attending Portal week and challenging myself to try to keep up in your class. I wish I could attend a “Portal Irish week” every quarter of the year! And if the 2014 registration were open today I would sign up in a minute. So, “God willing and the crick don’t rise”, I’ll be there again next year, hopefully having absorbed much of the good material which I took away from this year’s classes, and hopefully better prepared to learn some new tunes in real time! Thanks for all the top notch instruction and I hope to get some more of it next year in Portal! (Marla)
Pete has an amazing playing style that drives a session. I have had lessons from better players than he but I have found Pete’s style is my favorite banjo style and one I would love to learn to play in.
Shannon is very perceptive – she instantly figures out your weaknesses! But she has very constructive advice and is very positive, so that softens the blow considerably Shannon is an excellent teacher – getting the pace, the learning points and the group dynamic excellent. She makes sure each person gets enough focus but without it becoming overwhelming.
Marla is a very good teacher. She makes sure the focus is on core technique with good (and interesting) drills, and then applies those to the tune at hand. She shows a lot of musicality during lessons, and ensures that the students apply that. The lilting of the tunes, for example, was really useful. The lessons went at a good pace, seeming to cope well with the wide variety of standards and the large number of students.
Accessibility, encouragement, warmth, rigor and focus of teaching (unparalleled in my experience!) (Brian)
I think the teachers are doing a great job! (Marla and Matt)
Marla is incredible. She is not only a top musician but also a patient, gifted teacher. She can assess weaknesses quickly and provide individualized exercises and processes to help each student improve. Her group classes are nothing short of amazing. With an easy-going style, she manages to keep students of varied abilities interested, active, and excited about what they are doing. Each student comes away with plenty to work on for next year. She is a gem.
Ms. Fibish was awesome. I have never had an instructor work so hard for their students!
Mr. Heaton’s theory class was extremely helpful.
GENERAL CAMP COMMENTS:
Portal Irish Music Week is so good that I’m reluctant to share the news for fear of having it turn into one of the huge programs that satisfies no one. Those of us who have attended PIMW are incredibly fortunate. When I die, someone can have my spot. I learned more in a week than I have in 15 years.
Portal is a unique camp in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. The individualized instruction, relaxed learning environment, and interesting afternoon activities make it stand out from the other camps we have attended.
Activities are always amazing! And there is time for them due to the scheduling. Thanks!
This is the best Irish music camp ever! The instructors are at the top of the line, the environment is conducive to learning, and the venue feeds the soul. The people who attend are delightful and dedicated, both the teachers and the students.
PIMW is exceptional. There are so many reasons why. Small classes. Teachers who are masters of their art, yet who are caring and approachable. Awesome location in the Chiricahua mountains. And just the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.
I travelled a long way to come to Portal, and despite an 11 hour flight and a 5 hour drive, it was worth every moment. I can honestly say that the instructors, the students, the staff at Portal Peak and of course the organizers were all charming, friendly, focussed on being fantastic musicians and all made it one of the highlights of my year.I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy and learn Irish music than the Portal Irish Music Week! The warm friendly people (music staff, lodge staff, and students), the secluded and very special Portal environment, and the music, the music, the music!
I found this to be the most relaxing vacation I have had in years. A perfect balance of music, leisure and nature. If I have the money and vacation time, I’m coming back.
I loved the relaxed informality of the camp, but also welcomed the opportunity for focused, rigorous learning in the very supportive class environment created by Brian Conway. In addition, the schedule really allows time for individual practice, enabling us to maximize and sustain the benefits of what we learned. The place itself is drop-dead gorgeous, so it was a complete pleasure to be in that setting, to have some non-music activities to take in some of that natural beauty and to learn about the natural history of the area.