Last weekend I attended a wonderful workshop led by Katie Landsdale of the Hartt School: four days of master classes, discussions, and presentations on Bach's solo string music. The participants were largely connected to Katie in some way as former students, current students, or students of Katie's colleagues. While you would think that this would create a rather cliquish atmosphere, the opposite was true and the group was incredibly welcoming. The presentations, which had the overall theme "Deconstructing Bach," were lively, informative, and entertaining. The four days also included a morning of readings of contemporary repertoire for solo violin and cello.
This was my first experience participating in a master class, and I had approached the experience with some trepidation, but the way they were run was very non-threatening. Each student had a 15 or 20-minute mini-lesson each day, and was sent away each time with a specific goal or set of goals. The rest of the time you were free to wander in and out of the mini-lesson master classes, practice, rest, or participate in practice pods where one played for fellow students and coached the others. It was really, really fun to meet the other students and talk violin for four days. As an adult amateur I do not get the chance to do this very often. Highly recommended if you love Bach!
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