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Frequently Asked Questions

We have collected a number of questions we hear often onto this page. In case you cannot find an answer to your question, please contact us either by e-mail or call Armi Temmes . (We answer all emails we receive, so if you do not receive an answer within a reasonable period of time, your mail has been eaten by a bit-eating monster. Try again, or call!)



Who is the course aimed at?

We do not have exact demands for the skill level of the students, but in order to be able to enjoy the ensemble playing you should have basic knowledge of music and your instrument. As the skill and instrument variety is rather wide, the course programme will always be tailored to suit the participants. The course offers a unique opportunity to get to know new and rare early music instruments. A player of  shawm or theorbo will be more than happy to tell more about his or her instrument to anyone interested. The social life during the course is rather vivid, and the course is an excellent opportunity to get to know other like-minded people. The course spirit is traditionally open and relaxed.

What is the course language?

Tuition is offered in English and in Finnish. Depending on the specific teacher, lessons may also be available in Swedish, German, French or Estonian. Also, practically all participants speak English, and many of them a number of other languages, as well. So, even if you find the local languages (Finnish, Swedish) completely incomprehensible, you will be able to follow tuition and have flourishing social life... We have never encountered any major lingual difficulties during the course, music is the same in all languages!

I have never been to Finland, what is it like in the summer?

Nothing to worry about! The country is a safe one, and most people speak English. We use Euro as our currency, credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.

The weather is sometimes difficult to forecast. The daytime highs are typically between +18 and +28 centigrades, but we have seen higher and lower, as well. It may be sunny during the week, but do not be surprised if it rains. Usually not the whole week, though.

There are no strange diseases, too many dangerous animals, or even too many mosquitoes around (we send the mosquitoes to Lapland for that week). The tap water is cleaner than the water you buy in bottles.

How do you choose the participants?

We try to offer a place on the course for everyone. However, due to popularity of some instruments, this is not always possible. In general, we act on the "first come, first served" basis, but the members of CMAH are prioritized.

In case we cannot take you on the course, we will inform you as soon as possible after the registration period has ended (beginning of June).

How many lessons will I get?

The number of private lessons depends on the instrument, as some instruments have also group lessons. The same goes with ensembles; all ensembles will receive tuition, but the actual number of lessons depends on, e.g., the size of the ensemble.

The final word on the number of lessons and their distribution is said by the teacher. In theory, there are roughly six hours of tuition per student. In practice, most students will receive significantly more, as part of this tuition consists of ensemble or other group lessons.

The big ensembles are not counted in the number of lessons above.

Are you sure I can play in an ensemble?

Yes. The ensembles are formed so that everyone interested will be able to play in at least one ensemble. In addition to these "official" ensembles, less official ensembles will form during the course.

But I don't want to play in an ensemble, can I get more private lessons?

Whether you want to participate in ensembles is completely up to you. However, ensemble playing is one of the main points of the course, and we cannot compensate ensemble lessons by private lessons.

May I choose my teacher?

We will do our best to fulfill your wishes, but we cannot give an absolute promise.

Where can I practise during the course?

Playing in your room may be possible - depending on the volume of your instrument and tolerance of your next door neighbours. There are several classrooms in the course center, so that lack of room is usually no excuse for not practising...

The keyboard players have to book an instrument. The harpsichords are available for practising during the evenings and early mornings.

Are there enough harpsichords?

We will have at least five harpsichords. This number has proved to be sufficient in practice. The use of the instruments requires some pre-planning and flexibility, but there will be enough time for keyboard players and ensembles.

I have a question to a teacher. How can I reach her?

Contact us, we will give you the contact information.

Can I use this course as part of my studies in institute X?

It depends on the "X". In practice, many people have been awarded credit points for the course. You will receive a certificate of participation, and we are willing to help you should you need further clarifications.

Naturally, the same applies to stipends and grants.

Can my 12-year old child participate the course?

Depends on the young person. The youngest participants tend to be twelve or thirteen year old, but there are a lot of people in their fifties and over. There are no strict age limits at either end of the age range, but the participants must be able to make and follow their own schedule. If the youngster is independent and capable of taking care of him/herself and his/her own schedule, it is possible. However, if you feel unsure, please contact us. Usually, the youngest participants are in their early teens, and we have not had any  problems with young persons.

Do I dare to let my 16-years old participate the course?

We have never had any problems with teenagers. The wide age distribution of the course ensures there tends to be a sufficient number of watching eyes around to prevent most age-related strikes of unthoughtfulness.

I have only played the modern violin, can I come?

If you handle the basics of modern violin playing, you are welcome. We do understand that you do not have a baroque violin, but please indicate the lack of an own instrument in your registration form.

The same applies to other instruments. It is even possible to start playing a completely new instrument, but please fill in the registration form truthfully and carefully.

May I arrive late or leave early?

You may, but we do not recommend it. Arriving late makes it difficult to form the ensembles. Leaving early makes it difficult to arrange the final concert. In practice, you may leave on the night after the final concert without causing anyone any extra work, if you are really sure you can miss the final party.

In case you know you will be absent during the course, please indicate it on the registration form so that we can make the required arrangements.

What do I need to pack with me?

In addition to your own clothes and other usual traveler's items, you may consider taking the following with you:

  • Own instruments
  • Music stand
  • Numerous pencils (they tend to disappear)
  • Scissors and sticky tape
  • Open mind

You do not need to take your own pillow covers, towels or sheets, as they are on the house. An extra swimming towel is recommended.

Are there any groceries close to the college?

There are a supermarkets and a liquor shop quite near.

Are the instruments insured?

We do not have an insurance which would cover the instruments of the participants, so please check you home/traveller's insurance policy.

Are the participants covered by an insurance?

No. So, please make sure you have a sufficient insurance yourself.

I need special arrangements in accommodation, what should I do?

We can offer the basic special diets and a limited amount of easy accessibility to the physically disabled. In case you need any special arrangements, please indicate so in the registration form AND contact the course site.

I have submitted my registration, but I want to cancel, what should I do?

Notify both the campus and the course organizers as soon as possible. See the cancellation policy on the registation page.

It is very important you notify us as soon as possible. The worst case is when someone just does not arrive, this leaves a number of other people to a difficult situation with an incomplete ensemble.

How can I pay?

The course fee will be charged by Orivesi Kampus before the course. The fees are paid with bank transfers. If you reside outside of the Euro area and find it difficult to pay the bank transfer, contact the campus.

The course is expensive! Why?

We are very sorry for any economic inconvenience the course may cause. The budget is very tight. The largest part of the cost is accommodation. We have to arrange and transport the instruments, we have to pay the teachers. The course organizers work without getting paid, so there is no bureaucracy cost.

The course is funded by the participation fees, in addition to which the Helsinki Early Music Society supports the course. Unfortunately, we do not receive any public funding, and this reflects to the cost of the course.

We try our best to keep the course fee reasonable. If you want to donate money or have any ideas how to get some funding, we will be very grateful!

How can I help?

(Ohhhh, we love this one... Even though this is not exactly a FAQ when it comes to the "frequently" part.) There is a lot of work in organizing this course, and there are a lot of ways to help.

Marketing is something you can start with. Print the course posters and put them somewhere where the right people can see them. You may also talk about the course to people who you think would be interested. You can do this in person or in social media. Also, if you think our marketing material is bad and you could do much better, welcome to the gang!

There is never too much communication. These pages, Facebook pages and e-mail lists are the most important communication channel for the course. If you think you can help us here, do not hesitate to raise your hand!

Instrument transportation needs hands. A number of big instruments is carried to and from the course location. The more helping hands we have, the better. Help is needed immediately before and after the course. A valid driver's licence and experience of driving a van are a definite plus, but not a requirement by any means.

Course planning is carried out well beforehand. However, if you want to help us plan and organize the next year's course, please tell us during the course.

Who are you?

The course is organized by a group of people from the Helsinki Early Music Society. At the moment the core group consists of  Armi Temmes, Paula Järvinen, Ester Sundstöm, Satu Salmenkylä-Salminen, Ville Voipio, and Markku Åberg. However, we receive a lot of valuable help from other people: some course-goers have even brought their own harpsichord to the course.