On the Quest for the Mystery of Bolzano
The day after returning from our workshop 2014 in Bolzano, when I tried hard to get back into daily routine, I asked myself once again: What is it about when a bunch of strangers, get together to indulge in a mutual hobby and who depart some days later with a feeling of having known each other forever? What happens during these meetings, when everyone has devoted themselves to this action?
After having organized these workshops for more than ten years I still mull over these questions. How can one explain this mystery? Music and playing music creates a good mood out of nothingness, smoothes the soul and brings people together.
Is it a physical- chemical reaction which happens when people make music together?
The reason for this effect is actually pretty simple: You get a box of wood in action with the help of steel wires and little plastic plates or use a set of vocal cords and have a new refreshing sound experience. By doing this you jostle some air molecules which get in motion in specific amplitudes. These frequencies bump into a cluster of cells and get them into motion. The cells react to those wave motions by producing happy hormons. The cluster of cells likes that and feels good.
However, is this explanation adequate? I believe there must be more. For example the principle of tension and release.
On stage musicians often get into a situation where they ask themselves, caused by self-doubts, do I know what I am doing. The excitment of being on stage is the tension, and the success doing a good job is the release.
It is astonishing to see that this procedure happens during our course again and again. Actually the lessons are attended in order to learn new things and how to avoid mistakes. Participants sometimes feel exposed in auditions during the lessons, especially less experienced players. It is similar to being on stage. Although they have nothing to loose, they can only win. The mistake just made, they will never make again.
To the singers this experience feels almost more intense. Singing is a much more immediate opening of the personality than playing guitar, where you express yourself musically by the help of a device.
Sometimes the singer‘s class got really emotional, depending on the personality of the singer. But thanks to instructor Jeanne Giess, who competently teaches the singers in using their emotions in every style of singing.
In this place our singer‘s accompanyist must be pointed out: John Paiva was untiringly available to the singers group throughout the workshop almost from morning to night. This plays a large roll particularly for the singers: Having world class accompanyment brings out the best in them.
Those who join the jam sessions in the evening may experience the same feelings. When our instructors Howard Alden and Helmut Nieberle open the session, they do it on a very high level. It is really fun listening to them. But then it is quite a step for amateur guitarists to join in. Fortunately Howard and Helmut manage to create a congenial musical experience, by making everyone sound even better.
Now my conclusion is that all those little areas of conflict, this building of tension and relief causes a special microchemistry among the participants. No matter where they come from (students traveled even from the U.S. and England and other places too many to mention). Concentrating on a passion, playing music together and the willingness to become vulnerable on the bandstand results in an atmosphere of mutual appreciation and respect.
A third point which adds to this mystery surely is the ambiance. Schloss Hotel Korb is a place which can set free phantasies. You can not miss that the owners Ruth and Fritz Dellago have a distinct sense of aesthetics and beauty, which expresses in the presentation and management of the hotel. Those who took part and experienced the hotel will confirm that no place like this is better for hanging out and turning off the daily grind. On entering the hotel area you betake yourself into a paralell universe. After a few days you find yourself as though in a time warp where nothing else matters other than feeling good and making music.
Retrospectivly I think I may state that even our hosts Ruth and Fritz Dellago and their hotel spirits were infected by the charm of our music.
See You again in 2015
I hope this explains it all and meets the point. However it is fact that all players left the workshop at Hotel Korb with a wide grin on their faces. Bringing together guitarists and vocalists to improve their art clearly works. The bright eyes at the end of the course are a big reward and fuel us to organize the next workshop. The entire staff really looks forward to welcoming the participants for the 3rd International Workshop for Guitar an Vocals at Schloss Hotel Korb from April 8th-11th 2015.