master class = inspiration

Mc listI had the luxury of watching Yo-Yo Ma work with college students at a master class when I was in high school, and it changed how I approached playing.

It also didn’t hurt that I shook his hand and nerded out pretty thoroughly.

Moral of the story: even if you aren’t playing in it, master classes are a mountain of inspiration packed into 1-2 hours.
OCM does have a master class next Friday with Mr. Stan Sharp, and it is open to the public so EVERYONE SHOULD COME! For many people it may be their first master class to attend or participate, so here are some helpful hints:

ATTENDING a master class

  • No instrument needed.
  • Feel free to take notes – it will help your own playing.
  • If you arrive late or must leave early, be as unobtrusive as possible
  • Support your fellow performers by applause!

PERFORMING in a master class

  • Be sure to audition on a well polished piece – NOT your current one.
  • Do your homework – does the artist have background with your piece? Have they recorded or publicly performed it?
  • Rehearse with your accompanist.
  • Make it musical.
  • Come with questions (if you have them) about interpretation and musicality.
  • Bring your music.
  • Tune. And tune cleanly again with the piano right before you perform.
  • Relax and listen before, during and after your time.
  • Have a friend/family member take notes for you.
  • Try whatever they ask of you with a positive frame of mind.
  • Don’t take criticism personally – they are trying to help.
  • Say thank you, and send a thank you note after the event.
  • Celebrate for putting your musical self out there!
  • Debrief your teacher of how you felt about it.

Even if the master class isn’t for your instrument, attending one is wonderful. Give yourself the gift of 1-2 hours to enjoy someone geeking out in music. Go forth and nerd out!


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