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#1912920 - 06/13/12 03:12 PM Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do?
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2281
Loc: NYC
Coming up soon.

I've never given a masterclass before. Or attended one. I haven't taught piano for decades.

Do students play, then you offer your opinion, then they play again?

Anything else I should know?

P.S. Yes, I'm serious.

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#1912940 - 06/13/12 04:07 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17668
Loc: Victoria, BC
Interesting dilemma! If you've never taught a masterclass before nor ever attended one, how do you hope to be able to give one? It's also interesting that a performing musician has never attended a masterclass.

Did you just find out about this? If so, this raises lots of other questions:
- why have you never attended a masterclass?
- why do you "have to" give a masterclass?
- why have you been chosen?
- do you know the performers?
- have you been given a list of their repertoire?
- do you know the repertoire?
- do you know the repertoire well enough to demonstrate passages?
- etc ?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190 in satin ebony
Writing from Paris until 15 May, 2014

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#1912941 - 06/13/12 04:11 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Just yell at them for how bad they are.

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#1912963 - 06/13/12 04:39 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4152
Isn't that question a little like, "Help, I'm a doctor and I'm supposed to perform surgery - what do I do?"
_________________________
To each his own.

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#1912969 - 06/13/12 04:45 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: Orange Soda King]
Damon Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 5915
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Just yell at them for how bad they are.


laugh Yeah, just insult them and explain to them how they must make the melody sing.
_________________________
Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

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#1912971 - 06/13/12 04:49 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: JoelW]
CleverName Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 117
Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
Isn't that question a little like, "Help, I'm a doctor and I'm supposed to perform surgery - what do I do?"

halol

OP- What I would do in your position is the following: Call them and explain that you have no idea how to give a masterclass and recommend they find someone more qualified.


Edited by CleverName (06/13/12 04:50 PM)

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#1912974 - 06/13/12 04:58 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Most of the master classes I've seen have been very similar to a private lessons.

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#1912977 - 06/13/12 05:00 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: pianoloverus]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2281
Loc: NYC
The school assured me it will be fine. Though I voiced my concerns, the school is not worried. A rep list was provided and I know some, but not all, of it. I think the assumption is that someone at my level and overall experience is qualified.

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#1912984 - 06/13/12 05:09 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
Joseph,

Here's some ideas...

1. Try to guess who, amongst the students, is best qualified, or your chemistry fits his/hers, or somehow appears to be more communicative, and the start off with him/her, unless theer's a sequence list given to you.

2. Try to feed off what the students give you. Base your comments on what they play, what they say, how the seem to be acting and feeling.

3. Have a few ideas on what to say if something goes wrong, or if something goes right. Find ways to 'fill in the gap' in times when you're asking something to teh audience (should that happen) and nobody replies.

4. As you may have assumed thus far my experiences are mostly to lectures, rather than masterclasses, which are not the same. Masterclasses are basically open 1-1 lessons... However personally, I don't fancy that. I do feel that a masterclass could be the opportunity for an open source kind of thing lesson. Like the whole team commenting, and taking part, rather than sitting back waiting for their turn passively.

5. For whoevers shake do NOT yell to the students. Really...

6. But, is the masterclass geared towards contemporary music (since this is what you're focused, as far as I know)? If so, it's fine. If not by all means introduce them to some works, ideas, etc.

7. And I'm pretty certain that all the students would like to hear stories and comments about real life and the life of a true professiuonal pianist!
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1912987 - 06/13/12 05:11 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3336
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Don't be such wet blankets, folks!

I have no doubt this masterclass isn't for super-advanced students. I'm sure they've chosen RealPlayer because his/her level of experience is appropriate to the situation.

RP, you pretty much have it right. A masterclass is not all that different to giving a normal lesson. Your students will have prepared pieces for the class. Your job is to listen to their performance and think about what might be improved readily within the class. Then have them attempt to do what you are asking. Because it's a class, you also want to make your commentary applicable to everybody so don't refrain from making general observations as well as observations specifically for the player concerned.

Just have fun though. It's not as intimidating as it might seem. Remember, you are the master - you have to believe in your own thoughts and deliver them with authority. Keep an eye on the clock so you don't run out of time for each performer.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

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#1912999 - 06/13/12 05:35 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2281
Loc: NYC
Thanks, Nikolas and Ando, for your thoughtful and helpful replies. I really appreciate that.

Yes, it's 20th - 21st century repertoire.

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#1913019 - 06/13/12 06:13 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
The school assured me it will be fine. Though I voiced my concerns, the school is not worried. A rep list was provided and I know some, but not all, of it. I think the assumption is that someone at my level and overall experience is qualified.


What brainiacs at the school eh? Apparently, you've not ENOUGH experience (none), which only makes me want to ask why you agreed to do this in the first place? I'll say no more, since it is probable that I'd more than likely rant a bit and I'm in no mood to ruin my day.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1913029 - 06/13/12 06:22 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: stores]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
The school assured me it will be fine. Though I voiced my concerns, the school is not worried. A rep list was provided and I know some, but not all, of it. I think the assumption is that someone at my level and overall experience is qualified.


What brainiacs at the school eh? Apparently, you've not ENOUGH experience (none), which only makes me want to ask why you agreed to do this in the first place? I'll say no more, since it is probable that I'd more than likely rant a bit and I'm in no mood to ruin my day.
Your concern about "ruining your day" is selfish in the extreme.

Every master class giver had to give their first master class at one point in their life. It seems to me that RealPlayer's extensive experience performing and recording contemporary music is probably why the institution asked him and a very good reason to do so.



Edited by pianoloverus (06/13/12 06:24 PM)

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#1913035 - 06/13/12 06:33 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
Perhaps you could cruise YouTube and find some examples just to give you an idea. There are lots of them on there (piano and other instruments as well).
_________________________
Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.


Check out my blog !


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#1913047 - 06/13/12 06:52 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1242
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
You can shape a masterclass any way you wish. It's a performance, and it belongs to you. You can tell stories, you can play a little if you wish, and you do some seat-of-the-pants teaching. It's a stupid learning format, according to some of us, but you're still the master. However you handle it, you will be better than Mme Olga Kern (see my thread on her grim, autocratic approach).

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#1913059 - 06/13/12 07:14 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5260
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
If you get paid in cash, the experience will have been a success.
_________________________
website

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#1913118 - 06/13/12 09:06 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
albynism Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 320
RealPlayer, I'm sure you will be fine! Sometimes I also have doubts when starting a new freelancing job (non-music related) which touch on some aspects that I have no experience in, but the employers hire me for a reason and that is because they see the specific skills needed from me that I tend to overlook or underestimate. Sometimes you are your own worst critic. Best of luck.

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#1913121 - 06/13/12 09:12 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: albynism]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
Have you read "The Perfect Wrong Note" by William Westney?
He discusses master classes and gives examples of his.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1913132 - 06/13/12 09:33 PM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2334
Loc: Virginia, USA
Go to youtube and search for "Piano Masterclass". Perhaps not the first match though:


Then again ...
_________________________
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  • Bartk - Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56
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#1913185 - 06/14/12 12:08 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5228
Loc: McAllen, TX
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
Coming up soon.

I've never given a masterclass before. Or attended one. I haven't taught piano for decades.

Do students play, then you offer your opinion, then they play again?

Anything else I should know?

P.S. Yes, I'm serious.


Here's what works for me:

1. Pick your battles. If the student needs help with their sound quality, work on that. If they need help with their technique, work on that. Since you'll probably only have 30 minutes or so per student, don't fret over being able to fix everything. Help with the most pressing need.

2. Talk to the audience 50% and the student 50%. Keep everyone informed, engaged, and part of the learning process. NEVER turn your back to the audience.

3. Illustrate at the piano! If possible, get the rep ahead of time and read through it.

4. Ask the students lots of questions. It's often easier to identify problems this way.

5. For the love of God, don't humiliate anyone. No one likes those sorts of master classes. They aren't helpful and it only makes the clinician look like a jackass.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#1913188 - 06/14/12 12:12 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: Brendan]
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
Originally Posted By: Brendan

5. For the love of God, don't humiliate anyone. No one likes those sorts of master classes. They aren't helpful and it only makes the clinician look like a jackass.


Amen.

I played for a very famous cellist in a masterclass once, and he was so rude and insulting to me that to this day I can't stand to listen to him (talk OR play).

Better to be boring and nice, IMO.
_________________________
Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.


Check out my blog !


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#1913189 - 06/14/12 12:13 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5228
Loc: McAllen, TX
Let me guess their initials: SI?
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#1913196 - 06/14/12 12:33 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: Brendan]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: Brendan
Let me guess their initials: SI?


I actually know of two cellists with those initials.

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#1913213 - 06/14/12 01:01 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: Orange Soda King]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3885
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Originally Posted By: Brendan
Let me guess their initials: SI?


I actually know of two cellists with those initials.


You do not mean Steven Isserlis, do you??? i would sinf that hard to believe. Sarcastic and lofty, yes; but rude?

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#1913269 - 06/14/12 03:57 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: pianoloverus]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Your concern about "ruining your day" is selfish in the extreme.





So? It's my day. Frankly, I don't care about your day.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1913277 - 06/14/12 04:13 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19292
Loc: New York
Most of me feels like....

Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
Isn't that question a little like, "Help, I'm a doctor and I'm supposed to perform surgery - what do I do?"

....in large part because you've never even been to a master class.

But let's go with....

Originally Posted By: albynism
....I'm sure you will be fine!....


Here's what I'd do if I were to give a master class, which I'm not qualified to do but would love to do, and I think I'd be fine too. ha

-- Be genuinely interested in everyone's playing, and show your interest -- by being interested. smile

-- Start out your feedback to everyone with one or two positive things, even if you have to lie a little. grin

-- Focus on 1 or 2 main aspects of the person's playing and/or idea of the piece that you think could use some help and on which you feel there can be some tangible benefit in the brief contact of the class, or at least where you can get the message across clearly to the student and the audience.

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#1913279 - 06/14/12 04:15 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: Brendan]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: Brendan

5. For the love of God, don't humiliate anyone. No one likes those sorts of master classes. They aren't helpful and it only makes the clinician look like a jackass.


Somebody likes them, because they keep happening over and over, with the same well-known jerks being paid, apparently, to be jerks. But then, too, some people misinterpret intensity and seriousness of purpose as being a jerk. Ya just can't please everybody...

Anyway, I think searching YouTube for examples is the best idea - there are many of them. If I were more ambitious than I feel at the moment, I'd start a whole thread asking people to rate and discuss various different ones - that could be interesting.

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#1913354 - 06/14/12 09:04 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
OH, how exciting RP. For both you and the students! I am sure that they will learn a lot from you.

They are there to learn tips and techniques. And hear stories, and ask questions and then say that they learned from the Joe!

A story or two at the beginning

Listen to PART of a piece and give them a task to improve it. Show by example or just have them try techniques that you suggest.

Maybe they'll want to learn how to break into the world of performance.

You will be a good teacher in a situation like this. Of that, I am sure, having met you, partied with you, and having heard you play more than once!

Stores, shame on your negativity.
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1913367 - 06/14/12 09:35 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: Andy Platt]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
Go to youtube and search for "Piano Masterclass". Perhaps not the first match though:


Then again ...


That is too funny!

Yup, Joe, have them think 'frothy'!
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1913391 - 06/14/12 10:12 AM Re: Help, I have to give a masterclass. What do I do? [Re: RealPlayer]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Joe,

Basically, your are being asked to give some critiques to students in front of other students because someone has heard your playing and said, "Man, that guy knows what he's doing! Maybe we can pick his brain for a while." grin They just want your honest feedback to see what they can learn from you.

And judging from your posts on Piano World, I can't imagine you would ever set out to humiliate anyone! grin Have a good time with the students and leave them wanting more...

--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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