Frequently Asked Questions

On this page are answers to questions frequently asked by people attending the Conference for the first time.

Contents

What can I expect as a newcomer to the Chamber Music Conference?
How should I prepare to get the most enjoyment out of my week?
What essentials should I bring?
I am traveling light; what items may I leave home?
What about the dorm room accommodations?
And the food?
I would love to bring my family; what activities are available for children?
I live too far away to drive to Colgate; what are my options for transportation?
By what hour must I arrive at Colgate?
If I am taking a late flight, may I book a room for an extra night and arrive one day early?

I am reluctant to take my instrument on a plane; is it possible to rent a quality instrument in the area?
What if I need urgent repairs to my instrument while on campus?
Must I buy all the music for my coaching groups? Some pieces are very expensive!
This is a vacation, right?

Questions and Answers

What can I expect as a newcomer to the Chamber Music Conference?

We will give you a warm welcome! After you are accepted, we assign a buddy to contact you in advance of your arrival in order to ensure that you have the information you need and to answer your questions. Upon arrival on Sunday, your buddy meets you for opening night dinner, introduces you to other participants, and arranges at least one free-play session. We schedule a newcomers' meeting before dinner so you can get oriented. Sunday evening closes with a mini rehearsal (Week 1) or round robin (Weeks 2, 3, and 4) playing event, enabling you to meet many more people.

Your activities outside of scheduled sessions are completely up to you. Many newcomers take advantage of free-play opportunities – arranged with your buddies, or with others at meal times or morning coffee or afternoon snack – in many sessions of the week. Others enjoy some free time for other activities. Even with a modest amount of free play, the amount of daily playing time at the Conference is more than most of us experience during typical weeks of our lives. We suggest that before the Conference, you try to increase your playing time at home, to get your muscles ready and decrease your chances of aches and over-use injuries. See the last of these FAQs (This is a vacation, right?) for more information, and feel free to contact your buddy or any of us with questions.

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How should I prepare to get the most enjoyment out of my week?

We expect participants to come very well prepared for coaching on each piece they have been assigned, so that coaching sessions can be as productive as possible. Obtain your music and start practicing promptly after receiving your coaching assignments. Obtain the score, look at other parts, and pencil in necessary cues. Number the measures in your part and score; or, if your music edition has numbered measures, check that the numbering matches our conventions (we will send you how-to instructions). To become familiar with the piece, arrange to read or rehearse it, or listen to one or more recordings.

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What essentials should I bring?

Your clothes, personal necessities, your instrument, and music for coaching. Cellists should bring a rockstop or chair strap for playing.

We suggest you bring an umbrella and rain coat for occasional rainy days, long pants and light sweater/jacket for cool days and evenings; a pencil for marking music during coaching and a pad for taking notes. Optional items that can add to your personal comfort include workout clothes and/or a swimsuit, a foldable music stand for practicing in dorms, and any music you would like to play during free-time hours.

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I am traveling light; what items may I leave home?

Essentials are listed above. We have an extensive music library collection from which participants are welcome to borrow for free-play sessions; items are not to be used for coaching or borrowed for more than one day.

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What about the living accommodations?

See the Beyond Music page for information about living accommodations.

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And the food?

We take meals in the main dining hall at the University; the dining service readily accommodates special diets.

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I would love to bring my family; what activities are available for children?

We don't have a formally organized program for children, but activities abound. We do have a well-organized children's concert in Week 4; children at all stages of music study are welcome, as performances range from a scale (very enthusiastically received) to a fully-rehearsed chamber music piece.

Parents and children find their counterparts on campus: the younger gang is supervised by older responsible teenagers (many of whom have grown up during summers at the Conference) or available adults; sometimes, families hire one or two companions to help out. Self-organized nature walks, arts and crafts, games, puzzles, water balloons, frisbee, and other outdoor games are some of the activities available on campus, as well as rehearsals for children's concerts, for those inclined to participate.

The Conference overlaps with two summer programs for older children held on the Colgate campus: Eastern U.S. Music Camp and Young Writers' Workshop.

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I live too far away to drive to Colgate; what are my options for transportation?

See the Colgate web site for information about getting to the Colgate campus.

The nearest major airport is in Syracuse, NY, about a one-hour drive from campus. The nearest Amtrak station is in Utica, NY, about a 45-minute drive from campus. Bus service is available directly to campus from New York City on Coach USA. Utica and Syracuse are served by Adirondack Trailways and Greyhound.

More information about transportation will be added to this page in the coming months.

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By what hour must I arrive at Colgate? May I book a room for an extra night and arrive one day early?

All newcomers should plan to be on campus no later than 3:00 PM Sunday in order to allow time for registering and unpacking in advance of the orientation meeting.

Information about early arrival will be added to this page in the coming months.

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I am reluctant to take my instrument on a plane; is it possible to rent a quality instrument in the area?

Information will be added to this page in the coming months.

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What if I need urgent repairs to my instrument while on campus?

We will provide a list of resources in your welcome letter, which you will receive in June.

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Must I buy all the music for my coaching groups? Some pieces are very expensive!

Most of the literature is public domain and is available inexpensively at music stores or online music dealers. Free parts and scores for music that is off-copyright are available on several websites. In addition, public libraries in major cities have large chamber music collections for lending. We will include detailed information about music sources when we send you your assignments.

If you indicate interest in being coached on a commissioned work by a Composer-in-Residence or a Composition Fellow, and you are selected, then we will send you a part and a score in advance of the Conference, free of charge.

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This is a vacation, right?

We think so, but if you are attending as a participant, the Conference is definitely a vacation that requires advance preparation and a commitment to your coaching sessions. You must attend all coaching sessions for the duration of the session – please do not schedule business or personal activities during coaching hours.

Outside of coaching sessions, your time is free. Most participants arrange to play chamber music with others during some parts of the day, but this is a joy, not an obligation. You can choose instead to nap, walk, hike, bike, play tennis, swim, use the university's exercise facility, visit the library, go shopping, browse the internet, sit outdoors, read a book, or engage in conversation: the pleasures of the Colgate campus, the town of Hamilton, and the bucolic surroundings are many and yours to enjoy.

If you wish to forgo coaching and have all of your time free for playing or for any other activities, you can attend as an auditor.

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The Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East, Inc.
Tobias Werner, Music Director
Donald Crockett, Senior Composer-in-Residence
Susie Ikeda, Executive Director

617-447-1808  •  cmceast@cmceast.org
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