29 JANUARY 1960, Page 11

SIR.—No doubt Sir Thomas Armstrong pays great attention to what

his students tell him. He is their Principal, however, and he cannot seriously suppose that no more outspoken criticism is voiced by students.

As a student at one of the colleges, who went to Vienna with the British Students' Orchestra, I would like to draw attention to a point so far ignored in this correspondence.

Of course we did not assemble under Mr. Del Mar a few days before leaving for Vienna completely lack- ing in orchestra experience. But what Sir Thomas ignores, or perhaps does not know, is that orchestral students seek and find their experience in evening orchestras outside the colleges, frequently paying to do so. By contrast, most students of my acquaintance would go out of their way to avoid the enervating boredom and sense of waste generated by 'the weekly trudge ... which passes for rehearsal' at the colleges. Orchestral technique can only be gained through rehearsals with inspired or at least enthusiastic and painstaking conductors, whatever the technical standards of the players.

To air one Of the commonest of student grievances, why, oh, why must we always have the same con- ductor? Is this sound orchestral training? In my particular orchestra we do not think highly of our conductor. We may not, indeed, be infallible, not even the youngest of us; but were Toscanini himself our regular conductor, surely an occasional change would do no harm?

For obvious reasons 1 would be grateful if you would not publish my name and address.—Yours faithfully,

Nance and address supplied A STUDENT