Sense and nonsense of workshops…(part5)

July 9, 2007

What do you need a workshop potentially for?

To get to know other people – socializing – You think this is ridiculous? I genuinely believe this is a legitimate reason. But workshops might not really be the best place for this but rather other kinds of art groups, art groups which regularly meet once a month, where you get together on a more private level without a specific goal. Art groups often have internet (Yahoo) groups – check it out.

I always hear people complain after a workshop that there was too much chatting about this and that, family chit chat and too few real work in a course, people asking questions which defintely do not belong into the theme of a workshop, taking too much time out of the regular theme, questions about basic problems (which might have been an ignored pre-requirement) leaving other students frustrated and short of their fair share of support. Out of politeness or the urge to help, the teacher sometimes is not able to keep things on track.

This is bad preparation from the students as well as the teacher. Students might not have investigated the goals of a workshop properly, ignored the requirements and suddenly realize that they are way behind the level of the workshop. ‘A teacher is then in a very bad situtation – either he has to spend more time on a student to fill her/his needs and leave the other group members rather frustrated (which would be unfair because they have paid the same money) or he has to make the decision of asking the student to leave the workshop if s/he insists on continuous “disturbance” and risking a “bad testimony”. But this situation is extreme. Normally a good teacher is able to cope with different levels of the group members.

Again – I only want to emphasize how important it is to prepare on both ends before you book and attend a workshop.

Back to socializing. I think there are workshops which fulfil both requirements, working on a very loose level and giving people the opportunity to learn about each other’s personality and emotional approaches and teach people on a very intuitive level. But these workshops are more a multi day retreat than a couple of hours/one day workshops. You might consider those.

Sometimes the synergy that comes out of these retreats is magnificent – sometimes you will be disappointed because you might not “fit” into the group or your vibes are different from those of the group. Best in these cases is to get as much information about the teacher and possibly about the participants as you can before. In each case it will be an adventure that might be worth while to take the risk.


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