"This is a difficult piece of music to play" is a a cry that I often hear, though perhaps not so much in the summer with orchestra rehearsals on hold, musical colleagues away on holiday or busy with other things. I take this time of year to focus on my own musical development, practice and learning and on determining my aims for the future. A little musical luxury that I experienced recently was taking part in a strings group for a few days of solid music-making at an education centre called Jackdaws in Great Elm, near Frome. The luxury of this experience was (apart from great food and company) the opportunity to dissect in detail three short pieces of music, taking three whole days from dawn til dusk to do this. The course was mainly about ensemble playing but involved perennial basics, particularly tuning, which require the ability to listen and hear as well as play.