Violinist Itzhak Perlman Teaches First Classical Music Class for MasterClass

June 6, 2019, 8:00 AM · Maybe you've heard of -- it's the online education company that offers masterclasses on topics such as cooking with Gordon Ramsay, directing with Ron Howard, acting with Natalie Portman, jazz with Herbie Hancock, writing with Judy Blume... and as of today, violin with Itzhak Perlman.

Itzhak Perlman
Violinist Itzhak Perlman. Photo courtesy MasterClass.

That is right, MasterClass is offering Itzhak Perlman Teaches Violin, a four-hour-long, 19-lesson masterclass video series, accompanied by a written workbook, in which Perlman describes fundamental violin and bowing techniques, practice strategies -- and even how he produces that amazing Perlman sound. Like all the other MasterClasses, it's not free, it's $90/one-time for unlimited access to Perlman's class, or $180/year for an All-Access Pass to all MasterClass's 60+ online classes in various disciplines.

As you can guess, his class is full of wisdom, humor, and great violin advice. How do I know this? Because this particular MasterClass has been my life for the last six months! I'm happy to say that I was part of the production and post-production team that helped create Perlman's class. It's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Here is the trailer:

Working on this project gave me an even deeper respect for Itzhak Perlman, who at age 73 continues to perform as a soloist, conduct and teach at the Juilliard School, having won honors such as 15 Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In his online class he describes and demonstrates violin technique, but he also tells deeply personal anecdotes and gives practical advice. For several sessions he is joined about a dozen of his Juilliard students, a group of highly accomplished young adults who share their own considerable wisdom about topics such as violin setup and strategies for conquering performance nerves.

Here are some of the lesson categories:

Check it out, and then tell us what you think!

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June 6, 2019 at 03:00 PM · That's probably worth $90 to see.

June 6, 2019 at 06:30 PM · Yeah, they're going to get my $90 as well, even without your great ringing endorsement, Laurie.

June 6, 2019 at 07:33 PM · Wow!

June 7, 2019 at 04:02 AM · Congratulations on all of your work on this special project Laurie!

June 7, 2019 at 01:36 PM · Just wondering... what is the target audience level?

It sounds very interesting, and $90 is less than the price of two private lessons in a small town.

June 7, 2019 at 03:28 PM · $90 is around 80€, but the one-time unlimited access costs 100€

How did we earn that?

June 7, 2019 at 06:41 PM · Sivrit, I think the target audience is pretty wide; there is a little something for everyone, especially if you really like Perlman. He explains a lot of basics like bowing techniques, but then there are more philosophical things about practice and career. I also really enjoyed how his students talk about set-up and coping with performance nerves. So it's a pretty wide range, and it's all pretty entertaining to the violin geek.

Eva, it looks like you get a real deal if you are paying in Euros, I'd definitely go for the unlimited access!

June 7, 2019 at 08:49 PM · 90 bucks is not a lot. It's less than a lesson. Is there a list of songs performed?

June 7, 2019 at 09:03 PM · I agree--it definitely sounds worth it.

My husband was approached by this company a couple years ago about a job that turned out to be not in his field of expertise. It sounded like a great concept but they were just getting started. I'm thrilled that they have been able to achieve their impressive goals in such a relatively short amount of time.

June 7, 2019 at 09:55 PM · Awesome!

June 8, 2019 at 02:36 AM · Just signed up and am watching now!!! Wonderful.

June 8, 2019 at 02:46 AM · One question - I think that I understand that the entire series totals 4 hours. that would make each master class 12 minutes more or less. Am I understanding correctly?

June 8, 2019 at 03:58 AM · just the short 2 minute preview is worth a million dollars. The guy is from another planet, so graceful and so special. Great Opportunity


June 8, 2019 at 04:21 AM · About the question of each “masterclass” being an average of 12 minutes, this is not a masterclass in the traditional way that we musicians think of it, with a teacher going over a specific piece with a student, for an audience. It is a series of online lessons, and you can see the categories in the story above. So it’s kind of meant to be a “masterclass” (a class taught by a master ) for you the listener, but it’s not like watching a traditional masterclass in a university setting.

June 8, 2019 at 06:35 AM · If you pay in € you have to invest an equivalent of $113 instead of $90.

I wait for someone giving more detailed feedback on the content. Otherwise it’s quite a chunk of money.

June 8, 2019 at 12:18 PM · I'm signing up for the 2-hour option :)

June 8, 2019 at 11:02 PM · I have the utmost respect for Mr. Perlman, but do not see how one-way communication can help anyone on his/her path to be a violinist. What is the difference between reading books by Simon Fischer or any other violin pedagogue? Video / sound? Sure, but at the end of the day, one has to pick up violin and practice on his own. Mr. Perlman will most likely newer hear the result of this one-way teaching. My 2 cents.

June 9, 2019 at 09:45 AM · Rocky, personally I look at as if Mr Perlman published a book or etude on violin playing. Except this "book" is in video format. And as with all other violin instruction book, just reading it won't do you much and the no book authors hear you play. It is more like food for thought, or some new information you can work with with your teacher.

However, I think it is fair to ask if this "book" offers any insight so valuable that it worth $90 (most books on violin are cheaper).

June 10, 2019 at 01:15 AM · I enrolled yesterday and have watched (and enjoyed) the first three lessons. As Laurie mentioned above, there's something for everyone. Perlman's brilliance, humility, and good cheer are irresistible. And unlike my violin hero, Jascha Heifetz, he's not scaring anyone to death. He's very friendly and always encouraging. I can only speak for myself. I'm loving it!

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