Friday, April 11, 2008

Iceland Trip: Master Classes

While in Iceland, we gave two master classes. One was for members of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra; the other was for elementary students, and in Iceland that means ages 9-16!

The master class for the orchestra members was titled " Keeping Your Music Making Alive in Professional Life." This took place in the members' lounge while sitting at coffee tables. A violinist who was present came up to us and said she wished the whole orchestra could have been there. In fact, the principal violist came up to me on the following day and said, "I am so sorry I missed your presentation. Have you written books or other literature?" Carol and I think the violinist is talking about it and spreading the word! Also, we heard that some of the brass players were trying out certain techniques that were mentioned, and getting some results.

Carol and I have always said that if there is one person who gets something important from our work, it is worth it. And we are very pleased there seemed to be several who did and were very appreciative of our efforts.

Photo from elementary master class: "What kind of scary?"

The elementary master class was fun! The students were very open to my 'experimentation' with them and there was lots of laughter in the midst of group exercises that everyone (students, teachers, parents and friends) participated in.
We covered some aspects of breathing, mouthpiece practice, rhythm, and the importance of personal discovery in private practice. The class was titled "Making Practice Time Fun and Productive." The audience and the students were very appreciative and inspired and we saw many of them at the trombone choir concert a couple of days later. That will be a whole other post!

It was a real joy working with the professionals and the students, because this kind of work breaks down all the superficial barriers and/or cultural differences that seem to keep us separated but which, in fact, melt away in the face of mutual respect and human warmth.

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