Q: What is included in the Sonata program fee?
A: Your fee includes dormitory-style accommodations (2 to 5 people per room) and three meals per day for the length of the program, as well as a series of private lessons, master classes, workshops and performances. At the end of each session, attendees participate in an afternoon recital which gives them the opportunity to showcase what they have learned during the week. CD recordings of the recital are available afterwards for a small additional fee.
Q: How are roommates assigned?
A: Participants are grouped by gender, with two to five people per room. Requests for roommate assignments will be honored wherever possible. There is no smoking allowed within the house.
Q: I would prefer not to stay in a dormitory environment. Are there other options?
A: Most participants find they enjoy the camaraderie and convenience of staying onsite during the program. However, for those who would prefer staying offsite, we can recommend a list of nearby accommodations or the Sonata Quiet House for an additional fee. Please call the office if you need more details!
Q: How should I plan to dress
A: Dress is casual, so bring comfortable clothes to match the Vermont season. Most participants do dress more formally for the Saturday afternoon recital.
Q: How many participants attend each Sonata session?
A: To maintain the personalized Sonata experience, each session is limited to 12 to 24 participants.
Q: How advanced do I have to be to attend a Sonata?
A: As with Summer Sonatina Camp, we welcome participants of all levels to the Sonata program. No audition tape is required. Participants will receive private lessons at their individual level. Beginners look forward to being able to interact with more advanced students and usually find they pick up tips and hints that improve their playing. Advanced students often marvel at how quickly the beginners learn. Sonata is designed to be a non-competetive.
Q: What is the background of a typical Sonata participant?
A: There really is no one typical profile. Participants come from all walks of life and age ranges, and some even travel to Vermont from overseas to attend the program. While some have extensive experience with piano or other instruments, others are beginners or intermediate students. Their interests range from classical music to new age to jazz and rock. Many have chosen to first take up piano study as adults. They have a common desire to come together with a group of adults with similar interests to study piano in a warm, nurturing, safe environment.
Q: How many teachers are on staff?
A: At least 5 faculty members are on staff for each Sonata session.
Q: How many private lessons will I receive at camp?
A: Each participant will receive 4 to 5 one-hour lessons at each Sonata except the Summer Sonata (shorter program) where each participant will receive 3 to 4 one-hour lessons.
Q: How are students assigned to a particular teacher?
A: There are no assigned teachers. Instead, the program offers participants the opportunity to learn from multiple teachers, each bringing their own insights and expertise. Faculty members teach in a supportive and encouraging style.
Q: What type of music should I be preparing for Sonata?
A: This is entirely up to you. Many of our participants use thesession as an opportunity for focused work on pieces they are currently studying. Others bring new pieces they would like to start learning. The range of music extends from the standard Classic repertoire through 20th century music, including jazz, new age, rock, etc. Our staff can also help you find suitable pieces to match your performance level from our extensive music library.
Q: What are the meals like?
A: Meals are served buffet style. Our gourmet chefs have a reputation for delivering tasty yet nutritious meals, ranging from Cornish Game Hen with Rhubarb Chutney to Grilled Salmon with Tomato Cilantro Salsa and Flank Steak with Wild Mushroom and Peppercorn Wine Sauce, always complemented with a specially prepared dessert creation du jour. Vegetarian alternatives are always available; special diets can be accommodated with advance request.
Q: What recreational options are available?
A: Many participants enjoy regular walks through the historic Old Bennington area. Shopping is available in town as well in the surrounding areas, and museum options include the local Bennington Museum as well as a world class art museum in nearby Williamstown, MA. Additional recreational activities are available at a nominal fee through a local country club or fitness center. Yoga, Thai massage and daily excursions round out the program. In the winter, cross country skiing is nearby.
Q: How far in advance do I need to register to attend a Sonata program?
A: We are pleased that many of our attendees have chosen to return to Sonata on a regular basis. Therefore, our programs fill up quickly, and often are booked several seasons in advance. If your first choice session is filled, you may request to be put on our waiting list. We are often able to accommodate many people from the waiting list as cancellations arise.
Q: If I am placed on a waiting list, what happens to my $350 deposit?
A: We will process your deposit only when we have a mutually agreeable Sonata place for you.
Q: What if my schedule changes after I have signed up for a Sonata session?
A: If you cancel with a minimum of three months notice, your deposit/tuition, less $100 cancellation fee, can be applied to a future Sonata/waiting list of your choice. If you give less than three months notice, your deposit/tuition is forfeited unless we can find a replacement for you at which time you will only be charged the $100 cancellation fee.
Q: Are there additional expenses?
A: We have a small gift shop with Sonata brand merchandise, perfect for take-home gifts. A professionally recorded CD created from your Saturday Sonata recital is also available for a small fee (ready within two weeks by Joel Patterson of Mountaintop Studios). You may also want to bring personal spending money, perhaps to purchase music, photos or for an additional outing above and beyond scheduled events. Many participants choose to provide an optional gratuity (between $35-40) for Sonata staff members as well.
Q: What is the best way to get to Sonata? Will I need a car?
A: The closest major airport to Bennington is Albany, NY; participants may also choose to fly into Hartford, CT which is about a 2 hour drive or Boston, MA, which is about a 3 hour drive. Many participants choose to utilize limousine service to/from the Albany airport. To learn about the service, the fees, and make a pick-up arrangement, please call Carmen's Limo Serivce at 802-442-6050, or Alternative Limo Serivice at 866- 212-5466. It is not necessary to have a car, although some participants prefer to have one to sightsee through the scenic Vermont back roads or shop at regional factory outlets during free time.
Q: What should I bring?
Each participant will receive a list of what to bring, arrival and departure times, and additional helpful information upon acceptance to the program.
Q: What is a typical day like in the Sonata program?
8:00-9:00 am Wake up and breakfast
9:00-10:30 am First practice shift and/or private lesson
10:30-12:00 pm Group class (theory, history of music, scales, chords, etc.)
12:00-1:00 pm Lunch
1:00-2:30 pm Second practice shift and/or private lesson
2:30-4:00 pm Sightseeing or other planned event/or free time
4:00-5:00 pm Third practice shift/or private lesson
5:00-6:00 pm Monster rehearsals or jamming sessions
5:00-7:00 pm Pre-dinner chatter and happy hour
7:00-8:00 pm Gourmet dinner