It is called 'tree critique', but I prefer the term 'Tree Inspiration' - it is more positive and tells what is really happening.
Instead of standard demonstrations or workshops I have developed another concept for a major lecture: People bring one or several trees to the public critique. The trees can be in all stages of development: outright raw material, intermediate and 'finished' bonsai. They can be in all variations of quality: very poor, normal, very good. I usually work on a stage in front of a seated audience.
I will mainly speak abut artistic concepts and stress point which go beyond the regular well known 'rules'. I will also speak in depth about horticultural aspects if necessary.
A Tree Inspiration is of value for the person who owns that tree, that's clear. It must be made understood that in addition it is of similar value to all others who are watching. Often others are more ready to accept change to a certain tree than the owner. It is like education your neighbors kids and having problems with your own.
The advantage for clubs is that a real lot of people, like even 50 or more can be invited and asked to participate and pay a fee. Some clubs charge more for people who bring a tree. So many folks can watch an event which usually teaches more than a regular workshop and pay much less.
While an Extended Tree Inspiration can well be a stand-alone event it usually is followed by a workshop. Some or all participants who have watched the Tree Inspiration work on some or all of these trees afterwards. This could be in the afternoon of the same day or on following day. If I have one or two good assistants to help the advanced beginners or intermediate students I can handle from 12 up to 15 students per workshop. Again this can help to bring the cost per student down a lot.
Beginners can learn a real lot in the Tree Critique. I suggest that it would be better for beginners to listen to this rather than taking a workshop immediately. If there are many beginners in the following workshop the number can only be 6 to 8 folks.
It must be stressed that my way of running workshops is different form what is often done: I make it clear what options are on each tree but I try to never touch it. The students work and I watch them - not the other way around. I only help when really necessary and when asked, but I will not style somebodies tree in a workshop. It must be clear that I am trying not to be a bonsai fundamentalist. While it is made clear what I would do personally every student can do what they want to do in my workshops.
If doing this for a whole day or even for two consecutive days it is advisable to include some additional presentation. It could be about 'Bonsai Styles', 'Development of Broadleaved Trees', Development of Conifers', 'Fairy Tale Bonsai Style', 'Bonsai Photography' and similar. l Usually I do not only speak about a specific tree only but add some subjects whenever appropriate. This could be bonsai philosophy, general design and art concepts applied to bonsai etc..