In addition to three hours of octet and two hours of orchestra, today involved a two hour session on movement with a somewhat eccentric dancer and her two assistants, a gray-haired woman and a gay man in a pink T-shirt with a picture of the [cracked] Liberty Bell followed by words that read "Come to Philly for the crack."
I am not the best kind of participant in these sorts of workshops. When they had us do an exercise that consisted of walking across the room, setting down our instrument cases at an indeterminate spot along the way, and pausing at some other improvised moment in the course of the walk across the room, well, I just didn't get it. My new friend Brooke and I whispered snarky comments to one another like, "I'm learning so much from these activities."
However, I did find some of the things genuinely fun, even if I didn't understand the point or learn anything invaluable. My favorite was the one where everyone found a partner, and then one person became the leader while the other became the follower. The follower closed his or her eyes, and the leader guided the follower around by a hand, a wrist, an elbow, or whatever.
(I whispered to Brooke, "What would they do if I pushed you around with my hand on your rear end?" and we dissolved into silent giggles at the thought of the shock and dismay of the instructors in a situation like that.)
Then, at any point, the leader could stop, and mold or shape the follower's body into any form, like sculpting a living statue. The leader would then walk away and leave the follower frozen, until someone else came and led that person somewhere else, or re-sculpted her, or both.
As a follower, when we finished the exercise and were told to open our eyes, I found that I had been led into a whole group of people, and our arms intricately sculpted to be hooked around one another's without actually touching each other. I was quite surprised to find my arm looped under someone else's, and my body inches away from five others.
What was the point? I have no idea.
It was kind of fun, though.
We also had a little impromptu octet group therapy session with our chamber music coach. Why is chamber music always so ... imperfect?
Oh, right, because people are imperfect.
I guess it's a good thing music is so worth it.