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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

3 Great Master Classes Quotes I've Heard Recently

Andrew Hitz

Every time I attend a master class I always have my laptop with me to take notes. I find that note taking is by far the best way for me to retain the information and retention is the first step in implementing it into my playing and teaching. I also attend as many master classes as I possibly can.  As with all of the people who I idolize in the music business, I try to never stop learning.  Hearing another professional's perspective on how they approach both the physical and mental aspects of music for an hour gives me a surge in productivity every single time without fail.

It also seems that every time I attend a class there is always one quote that sticks out above the rest a few months later.  That is the quote that has done the best job of daily working its way into my playing and teaching.  Here are three such quotes that I literally think about on a daily basis:

Joe Alessi: "You have to worry about the right sides of the notes just as much as the left sides."

The next time you hear Joe play, either live or on a recording, check out the care with which he ends every single note.  Then proceed to pick your jaw up off of the floor.

Carol Jantsch: "When slurring up to a note focus on the end of the first note rather than the second note."

Try this yourself.  I always found it intuitive to focus on having a clean start to the note I was slurring up to.  Now that I have taken Carol's approach instead my slurring improved immediately.  As in immediately.  It's a great trick.  This is one of the many things she does to make her playing sound so effortless.

Marty Hackleman: "Even if you can play your ass off, try to make it easier."

If you watch Marty play the horn, there is no wasted energy of any kind.  It is pure efficiency.  This is why he has the endurance of horn gladiator even though he is approaching 60.

Hopefully you will find these quotes as helpful as I have.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about all three of them in my teaching and playing.  Is there a great quote that you've heard in a master class recently? Help us all out and leave it in the comments.