Frequently Asked Questions

Orpheus Recorder Boutique 2020

Where do I find the costs for the Boutique?
All costs of registration, full board and catering costs for those staying off-campus can be found on the web site and through Trybookings when you book.


Are there any additional costs during the course?

For those staying on campus: No, the full board covers all meals (including the final Town Dinner) as well as morning tea each day.

For those staying off campus: Possibly, depends on your choices. Many people staying off campus still elect to have lunch and dinner at the venue, in which case the single fee would include all meals except for breakfast (including the final Town Dinner) as well as morning tea each day. It is also possible for someone staying off campus to elect to have no meals, but this option would still include morning tea.


What if I can’t work out how to enrol on line?

Please ring us – we can talk you through it. 02 6772 2205

What if there are no single rooms left on campus?
There are a fixed number of singles rooms and twin rooms. If you find there are no single rooms left and you would like one you can go on a waiting list. You can do this by requesting a single room in the Other Information box or simply booking a single room and then if one does not become available you will be refunded the difference.  If all the twin rooms are not taken then some of those can turn into single rooms. It is also important to understand that the dorm rooms with their partitioned cubicles really are very private and the experience of staying on campus has many benefits musically and socially. All tutors and administration staff stay on site. Friends could also consider sharing a twin room.

If I don’t want to stay on campus are there other options?

There is a good range of motels, cabins and camping options close to the school.

These below are all within the city block immediately adjacent to the venue:

The Armidale Motel

Hideaway Motel

Deer Park Motor Inn

Highlander Van Village


Can I be picked up at the Airport or Train Station?

Yes, we offer a pickup and drop-off service at the beginning and end of the course. Please note, however, that we can only offer this service for participants that are either staying on-campus, or for those staying at any of the four venues listed above. Anyone staying in other parts of Armidale will have to arrange their own transport.


I really want a particular tutor. How do I know which tutors I will be getting?
The structure of the course means that you will get three tutors each day. If you feel very strongly that your daily schedule should include a particular tutor you can make a request in the Other Information box or send us an email. Whilst there is no guarantee that we can accommodate your request, it is useful to know if you have a strong feeling about this. The process of placing the applicants in functioning and rewarding groups is one that involves juggling a myriad of different factors, at which our tutors are very skilled. You will be notified in September/October about the groups and tutors you have been allocated, along with a list of set works.

Do I need to enrol early?
Enrolling early means you get your choice of accommodation, but also guarantees you a place in the Boutique. This year the course is being advertised in the USA UK, New Zealand and Japan - so we are expecting the course to fill earlier than normal. Organising a course such as ORB involves a variety of tasks spread out across an entire calendar year. Once enrolments have been opened, however, the process goes into overdrive for several months. During this peak period it is an enormous help if an early sketch of groups, tutors and set works can be made - the higher the number of early enrolments there are, the easier this process becomes. There is then enough time to order in the set works and get them to you so that good preparation can be done before the course begins. Last year this phase was a little too tight with a few of the more obscure set works not arriving till quite late in the piece - so if you are sure you will be coming, then please enrol June and July. For those who are not quite sure yet, August and September may still work.


How do I know what my standard is?

As far as standard goes there is a check box that asks you to select whether you think you are lower intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate, lower advanced etc. These are always tricky questions to answer and basically it is just a guide to help us and the tutors decide where people should go. There are a number of factors involved in making these decisions. To an extent, it depends on who actually enrols in the course in a particular year -  the bulk may be lower intermediate one year or in another year more advanced players. Therefore, the groups are not necessarily the same standard from year to year. Other factors include balance within the group and what the tutors already know of your playing from past courses.  If you have not attended an Orpheus Recorder Boutique before, you will be contacted to discuss your playing level in the context of the Tiers below.


How are participants allocated a group?

This process takes place over several months and includes the following:

 1.  Tutor feedback. At the end of each course the tutors give feedback about their technique class as to whether each participant was in the correct level in relation to their group colleagues or whether they could go up or down.

 2.  Participants own evaluation of their playing standard in the application process (with reference to the Tiers described below)

 3.  Participants that have not previously attended are contacted by telephone and their experience/playing level is discussed. Tutors that may have had previous experience with a player new to our course are asked for their perspectives.

 4.  After the groups have been formed in their initial draft form, further input is sought from the tutors once they are able to view each group as a whole.


Tier 1: You can play one instrument or fingering type (ie, either C [descant] or F [treble]) within a range of 1 and a half octaves.

·          If you currently use C fingering, you are keen to take on learning F fingering during the course – and vice versa if you currently use F fingering;

·          You may still be relatively new to music and/or the recorder and still be learning the fundamentals of music theory;

·          Your ability to read music may still be basic – however, music in this tier has simple rhythms and the pieces have nothing more than 1-2 sharps or flats;

·          The focus is on the basics of breath, articulation, ensemble skills and increasing the number of available notes.


Tier 2: You are comfortable with both C and F fingerings.

·          You must be able to read for and play descant/tenor and treble;

·          You might be interested in learning to play bass during the course;

·          Aspects you would like to improve include: sight reading ability; holding your own part; ensemble skills;

·          You are interested in learning more about articulation and expanding your awareness of musical interpretation.


Tier 3: In addition to Tier 2 requirements, you can play the bass recorder and are prepared to play it when requested (unless you have physical restrictions).

·          You are keen to learn to read treble up the octave;

·          You are a competent sight-reader (might need a bit of practice on tricky fast parts!);

·          You can hold your part in most pieces and sometimes read from a score;

·          If you get lost in a piece you can usually find your way back in;

·          You are keen for a challenge and are willing to learn music with more than two sharps or flats;

·          You are prepared to take on new articulations, alternative fingerings and learn music with a minim beat (3/2, 4,2).


Tier 4: In addition to Tier 2 and Tier 3 requirements you will need to have your own bass recorder, and have it with you at each session (unless you have physical restrictions)

·          You can read treble up the octave and bass in the treble clef;

·          You are a fluent sight reader - semi-quaver passages, frequent accidentals, difficult rhythms and high notes do not deter you;

·          You have experience in holding a part on your own and reading off a score;

·          You would like to develop ensemble and tuning skills;

·          You are seeking to be challenged further in your finger technique, musical interpretation and stylistic choices;

·          You want to learn a variety of genres and are willing to learn modern music, including pieces that use extended techniques.


Tier 5: In addition to Tier 2, 3 and 4 requirements, you will prepare your set works to a high standard and be prepared to play them in masterclass-style sessions.

·          Performing in front of others to a concert standard is something you have experienced and want to actively develop;

·          You are willing to learn music from all parts of the recorder repertoire (medieval, renaissance, baroque, other cultures along with contemporary music that includes extended techniques and graphic notation);

·          You are willing to play any part on the score and are experienced in tuning your instrument;

·          Challenging time signatures, advanced techniques, complex articulation patterns and further developing breath control are all concepts you are excited by;

·          Refining your ideas regarding interpretation and style are important to you.

NOTE: Especially in relation to Tiers 2 and 3,  you can take advantage of the Pre-Courses to up-skill in certain areas like playing the bass recorder or reading up an octave on the treble.


What do I do if I feel I am in the wrong group?

Talk to us! Sometimes changes are possible, sometimes they are not – we will discuss any requests in detail with the tutors involved. Please remember that a participant’s own opinion of their playing level is notoriously inaccurate and will usually err in either  the self-deprecating direction or the self-affirming one! Whatever the outcome, rest assured that our goal is to do what is best for all of the participants.


I only play one recorder and I feel unsure about trying to learn another one. Can I still participate?

We have a New Learners Stream that can accommodate those who play only one recorder - please refer to the Tiers above.


What is F and C fingering?

The recorder family is configured so that the lowest note playable on any recorder is either an F or a C. The garklein’s lowest note is a C, sopranino is an F, descant is a C, treble is an F and so on. This means that so far as reading notation is concerned, once both fingerings have been learnt, almost any recorder can be played.


I have limited mobility. Is the venue accessible?

Yes. The venue is reasonably flat and is accessible by wheelchair. The accommodation and teaching rooms are not too far apart. If you require a room downstairs please let us know in the other information box when you register.


Do I need to purchase the set works?

Quite often a player’s personal collection of music will include some of the set works, so in such a case not all set works would be purchased. Familiarity with the set works form the backbone of the course’s structure and if the set works are not in your collection then you would be unable to prepare them.


Do I need to prepare for the Course?

One aspect of ORB that most participants feel to be of lasting value to their playing is the amount of ground that can be covered in just a single week. This progress relies on the tutors being able to focus on the essential musical qualities of a work and the technical skills required to realise it. They are unable to do this if they are spending valuable time on the more mundane aspects of familiarisation and note learning.


Are there provisions for Private lessons at the course?

Some tutors are happy to give private lessons if requested, others not so much. Usually the best approach is to wait a few days and allow some rapport to build up between yourself and your tutors. If you then feel that you would like a private lesson, the particular tutor is in a much better position to answer. Please speak to Zana if you would like to arrange something.


Can I get my recorder serviced or repaired during the course?

Yes. Peter has a recorder repair workshop set up at the course and can usually attend to your repair needs within a day or two.


If I booked addition accommodation for the add-on, will I have the same room as for the recorder Boutique?

Yes. It is important for both participants and organisers that rooms remain the same throughout.


Can I book accommodation on site only for the Add-ons?

No. If you have chosen off-campus accommodation for the Boutique, you would need to stick with that arrangement for the add-ons as well.


How does the Early Bird Work?

There is a price reduction on ORB fees for a period of one week after registration opens. This discount will be applied automatically by Trybookings at the time registration fees are paid. The Early Bird Discount (10% off registration fee) is available between 1-7 June.


Does the Early Bird apply to my accommodation?

No. Accommodation fees are controlled by the venue and Orpheus Music can only offer discounts on its own component of the course fees


What is the Youth Bursary Fund?

Orpheus Music has created a Youth Bursary Fund, which is now receiving donations. This fund has been set up to support young recorder players who may not have the resources to attend the Recorder Boutique. Your donation will help a young player experience the breadth and depth of the recorder world at a crucial and formative part of their lives. Recorder teachers around the country will be notified that the Youth Bursary Fund now exists. If there are students between 12yrs and 21yrs of age who would benefit from attending the Recorder Boutique, the students will be encouraged to apply for a part bursary.


What is Armidale’s weather like in January?

Variable! Some years it can be in the mid-30s, other years low 20s……. or somewhere in between. Armidale is over 900 metres above sea level and so the nights tend to be quite a bit cooler, even if the days are hot.