Monday, February 8, 2016

Highlight: Master Class

One of the most valuable classes in a student's day at Institute is Master Class.

In this class, a group of between 3-4 students meets with a master teacher each day.  Each student is given a short, individual lesson every day and receives a small, concentrated assignment to practice before returning to the master class the next day.  It's best to consult with your home teacher, prior to institute, to make sure you bring a polished piece to play for your masterclass at ISSI.

Working one-on-one with a teacher every day yields the opportunity to really delve into some details, and make tremendous, specific progress.  Students also learn so much by observing the mini-lessons of their peers.

In a master class with Helen Higa in 2015, she delved into the concept of space.  As Lao Tsu asked, why do we build buildings?  To use the space inside.  As Mozart put it, the music happens in the space between notes.  As one mother learned in this class last summer, a child's growth happens when a parent steps back to give the child space to discover on their own.

From a master class with Elizabeth Means in 2015, students learned the importance of telling a story through their music; getting past the technique and the correctness of it all, to expressing feelings and ideas that were in their hearts.  She had one student draw a story in pictures that represented the piece she was working on.  The best part: to represent a part in the piece that sounded angry, the student drew a picture of what her dad looked like when he was upset his children weren't going to bed!

Master class is magical because the students get both individual and group instruction, and are able to connect one-on-one with master teachers.  It is one of the highlights of the day!

Have you had any meaningful or memorable master class moments?  Share them with us in the comments!

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