Mailbox Monday: Masterclasses

Comfortable Seating, Learning Resource Centre,...
Comfortable Seating, Learning Resource Centre, Edge Hill University (Photo credit: jisc_infonet)

What is a masterclass?

During a masterclass students take lessons in front of an audience, which is usually a group of other students. Sometimes parents and other teachers are present. People in the audience sit quietly, as if at a concert, and pay attention to how the teacher works with each student. They learn from watching the lesson.

Who teaches the class?

The teacher in a masterclass is often a famous performer or experienced teacher. When he gives advice to the student at the piano, the teacher will often talk not only to that student, but also to the audience, telling everybody about common problems in the piece that was played. This way all the musicians who are in the audience can learn, too.

There are often masterclasses at music camps and festivals or at music schools. Ask your piano teacher if she knows of any classes you can attend as a performer or a listener.

Benefits of Masterclasses

* It is a great opportunity to play in front of others and practice performing your pieces.

* The teacher's advice may give you a new way to thin about your piece.

* It is a great way to hear pieces you don't know yet (played by other students) and learn about various composers and styles.

* It is fun to share ideas about music with other pianists.

It is different playing at a masterclass than at a lesson because having the audience listening makes you want to play your best and make corrections as fast and well as you can. If you have participated in a masterclass and would like to share your experience, please let us know by leaving a comment.

You can view online Masterclasses at

Hear and Play has some great resources:

Musician Breakthrough

Musician Transformation

Musician Transformation Guide

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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