Monday, April 23, 2012
Master Class with Jon Manasse
I played second in the program on Weber's Concertino. I started kind of tense, but after the beginning, I relaxed and played much better. After I finished, Mr. Manasse asked how old I was. When I told him 14, he said, "Wow! I played that piece when I was fourteen." He had a lot of good things to say about my playing, which made me feel a lot more comfortable -- I was really nervous. He was an extremely nice and supportive teacher as well as being an informative one.
After that, we worked on tuning. He first told me that there were 5 states of tuning: in tune, sharp, flat, I don't know, and I don't care. He said we could probably rule out "out don't care," and he had me play a tuning note with the piano. He asked me if I thought I was sharp, flat, in tune, or I don't know. I thought was out of tune, but I had to admit that I wasn't sure if I was sharp or flat. Mr. Manasse said, it was good that I knew I wasn't in tune, and he said it was really hard for wind players to tell when they are a little off. He said string players have an advantage, because they have to tune every time they play, so they have a lot of practice at hearing what it is to be sharp or flat, as they had to make adjustments every time.
He then asked me to play the beginning of my piece and told me to pay more attention and to adjust if it was out of tune. Well, he told me that I tended to play a little sharp. So he gave me some advice about how to work on tuning. He said to put a tuner on a drone, and tune so you're really sharp. Learn what it sounds like to be sharp. Then, tune really flat, so you can be aware of what it sounds like to be really flat. Then he said to work on different notes, and figure out what notes tend to be sharp or flat under differing conditions.
Mr. Manasse was a really nice and informative teacher. It was an amazing master class. He gave me such good advice, and he did it in a way that made me feel good about my playing. In fact, the theme of the master class was to remember why you play your instrument, to remember what you like about your playing, instead of taking a negative approach and focusing on what you don't like about your playing. It's easy to get caught up in trying to perfect everything, and forget how much you love playing music. I definitely do that sometimes!