Masterclass Du Jour

I had the WEIRDEST masterclass experience today. My trio was playing for one of the piano masterclasses. I went in expecting one thing and got the exact opposite. Very strange. It wasn’t a bad thing – but it was just – strange.

Does that make sense? When you really prepare yourself for one thing – and then BAM – something else evolves that you didn’t expect? And you sort of just sit there all awkward and weird – waiting for something to happen. Yeah – I know I can be odd – but boy was I an odd ball today.

I was expecting to go in, play, take feed back, work on a few movements here and there – focus on gelling as a trio, or duo. But as we got to the end of the piece – the trio – I realized we weren’t going to get any feed back.

I got a little sad.

We stopped. I looked up, waiting for something – but nothing. I must have been completely out if it. I felt really strange and a little uncomfortable. I wanted to ask for comments, but I felt like it wasn’t my place.

I think this stems from my love of masterclasses – you learn SO much from others performances in this atmosphere. You see the interaction of the teacher with the student – like a see-through mirror and you’re on the other side looking in. There’s something to say about watching and learning from your colleagues. You take into perspective a lot of technical and musical concepts you normally wouldn’t think about. You absorb a lot.

I recommend everyone going to as many masterclasses as possible. The string masterclasses have always been my favorite. It’s fascinating to watch a string playing teacher and coach, it’s very different than how a wind or brass player work.

I can still remember my favorite masterclass, it was with the Argentine Quartet at Ithaca college. I remember watching one of the groups play a Beethoven Quartet. I learned mostly about body position and that the sound resonates not only through the instrument, but also throughout the entire body. It really sort of opened an entire new set of doors for me. This is such a fascinating concept and something I’d like to explore more with my own playing soon.

Well – I guess I just walked in expecting this class to be much like many others. But, as you know, never count your all your eggs before they hatch! Because this was very different, totally different. I admire the teacher for allowing it to be just a venue for his students to just perform, which I think is a great (and necessary) pedagogical tool. It’s so rare that we get a slew of performing opportunities likes these that we HAVE to take advantage of them when they arise. More often than not, masterclasses turn into a one movement pick-a-part-a-thon. I know you’ve seen them. It was, in the end, a nice place to just perform though.

I’m sure we’ll get comments, but I’m always so eager to find out what I can do better, how I can communicate with my fellow compatriots in a way that is more conducive to the music.

Odd. I like odd better.

Yeah - That's Me, Everyday!


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