We had a wonderful masterclass conducted by Mr David Polanski yesterday, on a Sunday afternoon: when most people take the time relax and go out with their friends and family to enjoy their day off, we gathered together at the studio to listen to each other’s piano playing and talk about the great music of Mozart and Beethoven. I thought, what better way to spend a lovely Sunday afternoon together than that.

I must applaud the courage and spirit of my students, all of them played in a masterclass for the first time. The tradition of “masterclass” goes back to the times of Liszt, who had over hundreds of students. Liszt is most well known for his extraordinarily technically challenging piano music, but he was also a great teacher. When I was studying music, pursuing for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Hong Kong and the United States, I often played in masterclasses. In Hong Kong, it would be one masterclass every one or two months. In the States, once every week! A masterclass is often done in a more private setting, with a small group of 10-15 students, but of course if it’s a masterclass of bigger scales, it would be attended by perhaps 100 or more audience. Still, the performers would be of handful numbers.

In a masterclass, a performer would play a well-prepared piece as if it’s a concert performance. It is followed immediately by the maestro (the teacher conducting the masterclass) giving comments and advice to the performer regarding the performance and anything to improve on. Those who are not playing (the same piece) can also benefit from observing the performer and listening to the advice by the maestro, who would at times demonstrate to make the points clear.

The purpose of me organizing masterclasses (and music gatherings) in smaller scale is to create an environment that students would feel safe to perform and share with fellow studio mates their playing and learn from each other. It is a great way to create opportunities for students to gain small successes in more private settings such as this so that they build more and more confidence in their playing to go for bigger successes such as exams, concerts, and competitions. I believe my students are on the right path to do so.

I also sincerely encourage anyone who is not in my studio/school to contact me directly if you want to participate in such events in the future. Sign up for our newsletter is a great way to stay connected and informed by our most current and updated activities and events. We currently only send newsletter on a monthly basis. We might send you weekly digest to update you with my blog posts from time to time, but no ads!

Stay connected, stay in touch, in words and in music,

Teresa Wong

 

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