Upon entering room 204 in the Sarasota Orchestra building, this year's Festival students can be seen tuning their instruments, practicing their piece of choice, and organizing sheet music. Once faculty artist Charles Wetherbee enters the practice room the sound of violins and rustling paper peters out. Everyone takes a seat and is ready to begin.
Charles Wetherbee is a highly esteemed violinist whose playing has taken him around the world. Wetherbee has performed in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Canada, Mexico, and the United States. He has taken part in a multitude of music festivals, including the Aspen Music festival, the Garth Newell Center, the Hidden Valley Festival, the Roycroft Chamber Festival, and the Sarasota Music Festival, to name a few.
Wetherbee brings with him a thoughtful and observant eye when it comes to teaching at the festival.
“Start with more color... expand on the context for a specific phrase.”
After a student performs their piece in class he deconstructs their playing, and points out places that worked, as well as moments for improvement. “We're not changing articulation, just dynamic and energy.” In addition to verbal advice, Wetherbee takes his own violin and produces examples for the student to go by, giving them both auditory and visual feedback.
Diligently, the students absorb his critiques and try to translate his words into their playing. Keeping in mind his advice,
“there is room to find much more contrast and color”.