There’s something to be said about a musician with a creative edge. We’ve all seen or heard those musicians play. The perfect display of mastery. You can reach a point where you’ve practiced a piece so much that it’s memorized, the notes are there, the rhythm is spot on, but the piece lacks emotion. There are a number of smaller details and advanced techniques to perfect any musical piece. They may seem minor, things like posture or how you approach and leave each note. These are the finishing touches. These are the things that separate the experts from the rest. It’s said that you can master something if you spend 10,000 hours doing it. Well, one way to get that edge is to practice, yes, but also to think about attending a masterclass. Keep in mind, masterclasses are more commonly for those musicians who have put in their practice time honing their craft on their instrument and are looking to perfect the elements within their music.
Masterclasses in music are classes where an expert musician offers specific advice for those attending. Often times they take place in a public setting and allow for those participating musicians to perform in front of a master in a certain field. Let’s say you're a pianist, and you attend a masterclass. You’ll most likely perform a piece that you have fully ironed out. Then, whoever is conducting the masterclass, the expert, will break down a few key points of advice which will give you valuable information that you can apply to not only that piece but the rest of your repertoire. The other musicians that attend the class also get to hear this information, and likewise, when another person is being critiqued you will be exposed to the advice given to them. These classes can be extremely beneficial if you're looking for mastery advice on furthering your skill on your instrument.
A shameless plug to those piano students. There’s a movie called Seymour: An Introduction where a renown concert pianist steps down from performing to teach people the mastery of playing the piano. It’s a movie that will inspire any musician, not just those who play the piano. One scene in the movie he is conducting a masterclass, and he isolates only a few bars at the beginning of a student’s piece. It’s unbelievable how just in a few bars he helps the student bring the music to life. When a piece of music has all these nuances perfected a person can feel the difference. It’s in the silence, it's in the duration of each note, and it’s in the way each note is approached and left.
So maybe you’re ready for this type of masterclass and that’s great. I would suggest networking with other musicians or your private instructor on where to find these types of opportunities. There may be an audition, but if your music is solid you’ve got nothing to worry about. If you're not quite there yet there are still opportunities much like this on a smaller scale that could be equally beneficial. One is that some people are choosing to do these types of classes online. Instructors are targeting a wider audience, which means more introductory help is available. It’s set up where an instructor will put up videos explaining and breaking down key elements and techniques in music. Certain instructors also allow a person to send their own videos in to be critiqued and to receive valuable information on how to improve. Another type is a university or place that gives private lessons. Universities have classes for students that are basically a masterclass on a collegiate level. It’s set up the same way. Also, talking to your private lessons instructor is a great place to start. They may have opportunities for group lessons where you're exposed to the valuable information that’s given to everyone attending. No matter where you're at in music there are many opportunities available.