Thoughts On A Master Class

Master classes are funny things.  They are performances because you play for an audience…but then you have the chance for a redo on one or more sections.  They are practice sessions because you can play sections of the music multiple times…but only on the terms of the master teacher leading the class.  They are lessons because you are listening, learning and incorporating new ideas into your playing as you go. They are auditions because you never know who in the audience is listening and may be looking for an instrumentalist to sub for them or a student to add to their program.  Master classes are such a unique and special part of the arts world so they are always excellent professional development opportunities.


Below are some highlights from my most recent master class attendance.  I’m sharing my notes for those who were there to compare and also for those who wanted to be there but couldn’t so they have a little glimpse into ideas that were shared.  Enjoy!


*Add variations to warm up routine to maintain a mindfulness about it

*Engage the core muscles and subdivide the count before the breath

*Give extremely specific instructions for all aspects of personal playing

*Track playing in various situations and focus on whatever goes out the window first in performance during your practice sessions

*Practice phrases stopped to help build core of smooth sound when its played open

*Explore note bending to find deep centered sound

*Practice note connections slowly and half valved in between to connect air fully with tongue

*Use visualization techniques to maintain laser focus on the music and to quiet the internal dialogue


Which of these ideas will you bring into the practice room?  Which thoughts resonated the most with you and your playing needs?


Thanks for reading and see you at the next master class!